MDF or solid wood? Which one to opt for?

At the time of including carpentry in our home, we can lean towards different options, with the choice of the solid wood of a lifetime or the MDF, at the head of them. Both alternatives are bets to a winning horse, but each one is worth a review.

Wood carpentry has been the traditional option for decades, with trees such as oak, beech walnut, cherry and tropical species as the most resistant, while the pine became the king of the home, although it is a material much softer. In fact, we could say that this carpentry is the benchmark to which the rest of the modalities try to imitate.

For its part, the MDF carpentry, also known as melamine, is hard and resistant. It consists of a mixture of wood particles covered by a layer of synthetic resin, although it is true that we can also find the naked MDF, that is, without any finish, either because it will be painted or lacquered later, or because it is not necessary being in a non-visible part.

Madera

The natural option

The wood option is usually more expensive, although it is true that if we perform proper maintenance, its useful life is longer than that of the MDF. In addition to this, it is a natural, reusable, recoverable and recyclable option and tolerates humidity conditions better.

Sometimes lacquered wood is chosen, giving it a similar appearance to the finish offered by the MDF; however, the result is not the same. Unlike what happens with the MDF, in which the outer layer is actually part of the material itself, in wood the lacquer layer is an addition, so that it can end up coming off/detaching totally or partially, after a blow or scratch.

The good news is that in the event of an incident or, simply, the desire to change the aesthetics, in the case of wood we will be able to sand and recover the original material on which to apply a different finish, while in the MDF we will have to overlapping layers of lacquers, paints or varnishes.

The versatile option

It is important not to confuse the MDF with the chipboard, which basically consists of sawdust, dust and other wood debris, pressed with resin and glue, offering a less smooth and uniform finish.

The MDF is a type of wood covered by a plastic resin, which normally also has decorative purposes, which is called melamine (from which it takes its name). This resin is the one that gives the material greater properties of resistance and durability, by leaving a surface free of pores, although it is necessary that the edges of the wood are also protected.

Given its durability and strength, this type of carpentry is widely used in furniture that is subject to intensive use, with considerable wear. A good example of this is kitchen furniture, although today we find them in all rooms, including the living room or bedrooms. It is easy to work with the MDF, just to brush, mill and cut to be able to adjust to the necessary dimensions.

Who reigns?

Given the extension that the MDF has had lately, partly driven by its lower cost, it is no longer so common to find solid wood furniture and, when there is, it is generally in more rustic settings/environments. Nevertheless, solid wood has not disappeared from the scene, as it is intended for furniture parts that require great resistance to weight, such as chairs or upholstery skeletons, for example.

In this sense, the advances in the treatment of wood have advanced so much, that sometimes even professionals find it difficult to distinguish at a glance a MDF carpentry from a wooden one. Not only that, but there are not a few times when we can find the two materials in the same cabinet, with the backsides and the bottoms of the drawers with melamine boards and the rest of solid wood.

Florín Sular

Director de Producción. Responsable de dirección y ejecución de proyectos - Production Manager. Responsible for direction and execution of projects.

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