Difference Between MDF vs Plywood

Difference Between MDF vs Plywood

If you are just getting started with furniture-making or interior decorations, chances are that you will grapple with the difference between MDF and plywood. That should not be a surprise to you because many others in the space once faced the challenge at some point in their careers.

While the emphasis is always on interior decorations, everyone needs to understand the disparity between them because wood plays an important role in our lives. If you do not know when to use either of them, here comes the guide you need to help you to comprehend it.

Definition of MDF

MDF is the acronym of Medium Density Fiberboard, which is an engineered word composite. In other words, it is wood that has been broken down into small fiber lumps. Whenever this type of wood is used, the species of wood, knottiness, and straightness are rarely important. As a result, MDF raw materials are relatively affordable on the market.

Under intense heat, the fiber is combined with adhesive. Afterward, the outcome becomes pliable and cures the adhesive. Some of the features of MDF include durability, smoothness, ability to soak water, lightness, inability to hold screws, etc. Many others have shown that their bonding agents contain a low concentration of formaldehyde and can absorb paint.

Definition of Plywood

Plywood is made of many thin layers of hardwood that have been glued together to have a panel-like shape. To make the arrangements very stable, the parts are placed in right-angled forms. This means that the wood can neither expand nor contract in that same direction they are placed. As a result, the wood is intact and in a good shape. More often than not, plywood has a very smooth finish with enhanced texture that shows good finishing effects.

It is very easy to paint and stain it. What’s more is that it is not easy for the character of the wood to show through. In addition to all of the features above, there are many decorative hardwoods without formaldehyde. It is perfect for making furniture and cabinets. Oftentimes, you see people using it for creating wall paneling, boxes, etc.

Main Difference Between MDF vs Plywood

At this juncture, we will break down the essential difference between MDF vs plywood. The detailed comparison has been explained in the table below.

Basis of ComparisonMDFPlywood
MeaningWood made by breaking hardwood and softwood residuals as well as mixing the constituent wax and resin under heatThis wood is made from glued sheets of veneer
StructureIt is usually uniform, smooth, and knot-freeAdjacent layers of wood lying at right angle to each other
ApplicationsThis is used for construction, crafts, shelving, and moldingThis is commonly used for roofing, boxes, sporting equipment, high-quality loudspeakers, playground equipment, etc.
FeaturesHas a neat, even surface Can be easily painted and stained Available in water- and fire-resistant formsHas a strong, durable construction Water-resistant and boil-proof
Ease of useYou do not have to do additional work to hide its edges because they are already finished at the cut.  When it is cut, its plies are exposed because the edges are shown. So, you need to do additional work to keep its rustic edges hidden.

Difference Between MDF and Plywood: Conclusion

In this guide, we have highlighted the concept of MDF vs plywood, laying emphasis on a number of key disparities between them. If you are still confused about the right option to choose, you should know that they are both high-quality materials. However, you have to refer to the “applications” in the table above to learn more about where they are best suited. With that information, you can go ahead to execute your project.

In addition to the points we highlighted in the plywood vs MDF comparison table, you need to keep in mind that the former holds screws much firmer than the latter. The reason is simply that it is not prone to tearing out when it is subjected to hinge screws. Concerning MDF, it is perfect for coating and way cheaper than the other type. Now you know the right wood to opt for to do your work.