Furniture, floor and wall coverings, as well as many other finishing materials are made of MDF. However, not everyone understands what this abbreviation means. In the article we will consider all the available information about MDF panels: what it is, what it is used for, what advantages this material has, thanks to which it is so actively used today.
MDF plates: what it is, where and how they can be used
The abbreviation MDF stands for the fine dispersion fraction. Such plates are made of wood fibers, the density of which corresponds to the average, pressing them under high pressure.
The scope of application of the plates obtained are diverse. For many manufactured factory products, MDF acts as a base. Let us consider several main directions of using this material in everyday life:
- MDF sheet panels are used for finishing floors and ceilings;
- wall cladding with MDF panels is also quite common;
- the manufacture of furniture, the facades of which can have both a smooth surface and be decorated with carved elements;
- due to its properties, MDF is widely used as a sound insulation material, allowing to significantly reduce hearing between rooms;
- A more unusual, but very popular application of this material is the transformation of steel doors. MDF is used as a decorative lining on an existing surface, thus improving its appearance. At the same time, you can buy MDF door linings in a variety of variations and colors.
Interesting to know! Another area of MDF use is the manufacture of boxes, designed both for gift wrapping and just for transporting various products.
This material has received such wide use due to the fact that in the course of its production only materials that are completely safe for human health, in particular carbide resins, are used. In addition, these plates have excellent technical characteristics: thermal and moisture resistance, and are not susceptible to the formation on the surface and inside the shavings of various kinds of fungi and mold. All this makes MDF-plates a worthy competitor to natural wood.
Recently, MDF strongly pressed chipboard on the market. Why did this happen and is there a difference between these similar materials? We will try to figure out whether such an arrangement is justified, and what caused it.
First of all, it is worth remembering that chipboard is a chipboard, which, like MDF, is made of wood chips by pressing and adding a special binder. However, the second option has several significant differences and advantages, which was the decisive factor in the question of the popularity of its use in some areas.
The ability of the particle board to hold the parts screwed into it is much worse. If we talk about the manufacture of furniture, it is fraught with the loss of attached parts. The doors of kitchen cabinets, door handles and much more can simply fall away. Moreover, it is not possible to re-fix the missing part, since the holes are subject to rapid loosening. MDF furniture boards have a much greater density, which allows them to securely hold the elements fixed in them.
Environmental friendliness is a significant factor when choosing a material. Asking what is better – chipboard or MDF for the kitchen, you need to take into account, the first option is absolutely not environmentally friendly. Moreover, it is unsafe for health, since the resins used in the manufacturing process are capable of releasing formaldehyde, a specific substance that has a negative effect, primarily on the respiratory tract, as well as on the mucous membranes and human skin. At one time, formaldehyde was listed as carcinogenic substances that may contribute to the development of such diseases as cancer. It should be noted that because of the high environmental performance, children’s furniture from MDF is rather highly valued.
Having dealt with decoding what MDF is in furniture and other products, as well as the advantages that distinguish it favorably from chipboard, it may seem that this material is perfect. And this is almost the case, if you do not take into account its high cost, which often becomes the main obstacle to its acquisition.
In most cases, the panels are sold without final coverage, and this also requires additional costs. Of course, you can buy MDF sheets already covered, but you can also independently address this issue. In any case, for those who care about the health of their loved ones, this is a low fee.
Speaking of chipboard, one way or another it is implied that everyone at least once heard of such material. However, the acronym LDSP is often confusing to ordinary users. In fact, this is the same chipboard, only with an additional laminated coating. At one time, this technology has improved the initial characteristics of the particle board and expanded the scope of use of this material.
So, LDSP is much less subject to mechanical damage, due to the additional protective layer. In addition, to buy a ready-made slab of almost any color will be much cheaper. However, with regard to moisture resistance, in this matter chipboard is inferior to MDF and makes it impossible to use it in bathrooms. For the same reason, there is no question of what is best for the kitchen: MDF or laminated chipboard.
The problem of environmental sustainability of laminated chipboard remains relevant. Despite all attempts to reduce the amount of formaldehyde contained, some chance of meeting a fake still remains. That is why you should pay special attention to the study of certificates that are attached to each batch of the product. Thus, we again come to the conclusion that the question of what is better (MDF or laminated chipboard) for furniture and home decoration, the answer is clearly in favor of the first option, especially since you can always buy laminated MDF boards.
Depending on how you plan to use the acquired MDF panel, it is necessary to take into account its various characteristics and in specific cases to focus on the most important indicators.
So, painted MDF panels are better than others for the manufacture of kitchen furniture. They are highly resistant to moisture and therefore do not deteriorate as a result of constant contact with water.
However, for the decoration of the bathroom is not enough. In this case, it is better to give preference to a material with high moisture resistance, to achieve which bilateral lamination is used. This will protect the panel not only from the outside, but also from the inside.
If you plan any finishing work on the facade of furniture, then veneered material will be suitable for this purpose. But if we are talking about the need to finish a large area, then it is quite possible to use the usual tiled one.
As for manufacturers, the desired quality can be obtained if the packaging contains the European manufacturing country. Sweden, Germany, Poland – all these countries have their representative offices in many cities of Russia. But the Chinese products, though cheaper, but unlikely to please the proper strength and moisture resistance.
Helpful advice! If you want to find this or that original product on the Internet, try to avoid intermediaries who resell products purchased directly from the manufacturer. To do this, it is enough to formulate an Internet request correctly, for example, as “the official website of MDF furniture Kaliningrad”
But whatever manufacturer you prefer, be sure to conduct an external inspection of the goods before you buy it. The same rules will also apply if you need to purchase an MDF frame profile. The inspection procedure is carried out according to the following points:
- make sure that the surface is smooth and not chipped;
- check the panel to the touch: the surface should be smooth, grooves or bumps are unacceptable, as they can cause a decrease in the strength of the panel;
- MDF-plate should not have any smell;
- all panels must have the same color;
- also pay attention to the indicator that characterizes the degree of swelling of the material as a result of contact with moisture. A normal value is considered to be an indicator of 17%.
Also, before you buy MDF wall panels, pay attention to the fact that they may have different thickness. Thin ones greatly simplify the work, as they have less weight and do not take up much space during storage. However, they are quite fragile, so they can break from careless handling in the process. Thick ones are much stronger and more reliable, however it’s not recommended to use them for finishing too small rooms, because they will occupy already valuable space.
Even if you did not work with such material before, it is quite possible to figure out how to fix MDF panels to a wall or ceiling. And first of all it is necessary to prepare tools and materials. This list includes a simple pencil, a corner for marking a right angle, a building level, a hacksaw, a perforator, a screwdriver or a hammer, dowels and screws.
Work begins with cleaning the surface on which the mount will be made. It must be thoroughly cleaned from dust and dirt. In addition, it is necessary to conduct a thorough inspection for the presence of fungi and mold.
If you need to make a ceiling of MDF panels with your own hands, you will need both guide profiles and hangers, plus wooden bars, which will play the role of transverse frame parts. If we are talking about fastening MDF panels to the wall, then it will be enough to have simple wooden bars or special plastic sheathing.
Helpful advice! To make the fastening process easier, it is recommended to use clamps. This will allow you to fix parts of the coating on the crate and, in general, will significantly facilitate the task.
The most important thing is to correctly mark up the crate, which in the future will allow you to precisely fix all the elements. How to do it correctly can be seen in the photo of the ceilings of MDF panels. At this stage, it is important to consider that the distance between the fixed panels and the real ceiling should be sufficient for it to accommodate lamps, as well as other communications.
The installation of MDF wall panels also begins with marking the place where the first batten will be attached (it does not matter vertical or horizontal). Keeping the required distance, all the elements of the batten are fastened, and then the installation of wall MDF panels begins. They are fixed simply with the help of clamps or screws.
Helpful advice! High-quality and certified products can be found on the official website of the Union. MDF wall panels of their manufacture are highly appreciated because of their compliance with all requirements and standards.
It cannot be said that the installation of MDF panels on the wall with your own hands is a complex process. Rather, it is monotonous and requires high accuracy of calculations and constant attention.