Medium Density Fibreboard. MDF. It’s an extremely handy product that’s become extremely popular over time for very good reasons. It’s cheap, strong, and can be used for a plethora of different applications. The product is so popular that the team at Plyco thought it was a good idea to go over some of our top tips that will help you get the most out of your MDF.
Our first tip for working with MDF is to have good respiratory protection. This is a crucial, but not always obvious tip when getting to work on a sheet of MDF. If you’re going to be cutting up MDF you’re going to be bombarded with powder and dust that will fill up your workshop. Ideally, you can make these cuts outside or in a large space, but not everybody has these luxuries. When you’re stuck with cutting MDF in a smaller, enclosed space a high-quality mask that protects against dust is a must-have. This will make sure your lungs don’t fill with tiny MDF particles and will make your cutting a whole lot easier!
Another seemingly obvious, yet extremely crucial tip is to be gentle when handling your sheets of MDF. While MDF is an incredibly strong product thanks to its face (it’s actually harder than most other wood products), the inner layers are softer. The composition of MDF means if you’re being reckless you can mess up the edges or corners of your product, and that’s not what anyone wants! If you take your time and handle with care you’ll almost never have a problem. It’s also a good idea to be gentle and cautious because edges of MDF can often times be sharp. Taking an extra few seconds to soft with the product can not only save your product, but it can also save you.
MDF is an ideal product for a wide variety of situations, but one environment it doesn’t thrive in are areas where it’s wet and damp – so our next tip is to keep regular MDF away from water. Here at Plyco, we offer a White Melamine Satin MDF that has high moisture resistance and is designed specifically for use around damp areas, but if you’re just grabbing some sheets of stock-standard MDF you’re going to want to keep it away from water. Getting a smaller amount of water on your sheet will create some lumps in the product, however, if the product is soaked it will swell up and become almost unrecognizable. Priming and painting your sheet will nicely protect against those small amounts of liquid coming into contact, however, no amount of paint will protect your product from excessive amounts. Fortunately, Plyco’s High Moisture Resistance option is available if your MDF is at risk of getting wet.
As we’ve alluded to throughout this blog post, MDF has a wide range of uses. However, just knowing a product can be used in a lot of different ways isn’t too helpful, and it’s much better if we mention some of those unique ways. Plyco’s MDF can be used for anything from shelving, cabinetry and benches, to door frames, window sills and skirting boards. And thanks to its finishing abilities (Plyco has an entire range of Veneered MDF) it can be used for so many jobs where an aesthetically pleasing look is desired.
Speaking of finishing; our final tip is all about painting your MDF. MDF can look pretty good in just it’s regular format, however, when you want something that pops or stands out more and fits the design of the locations it’s being used in, finishing and painting your board is the way to go. The first thing you need to know is that can’t get too eager and jump into painting MDF right away! If you dive in headfirst it’s going to end up looking like a dog’s breakfast.
A Plyco customer's use of our Veneered MDF
The first thing you’re going to want to do to get it ready is sand the sheet. An orbital sander is ideal for this step of the process and will leave you with an exceptional smooth face of MDF. Once you’ve removed all the dust and debris the next best step is to apply a coat of primer. This will help the paint stick correctly and will seal your board up before you put your artistic talents to work. Once that’s all done it’s time to bust out the pain! You’re going to want to start off with an oil-based undercoat that is applied evenly across the entire sheet. Once it dries you can give it a light sand, this time with sandpaper, and then jump back in with a second undercoat. After the second coat dries and has once again been sanded, you’re now ready for the fun part. Jump in with whatever colour paint you want and start making your MDF look eye-catching. Apply the second coat and voila; you’ve got yourself a fabulous looking sheet of Medium Density Fibreboard!
Plyco's Beech Veneer applied to MDF
Hopefully, these tips have sparked some inspiration or answered some burning questions you’ve had about using MDF. If you’re still curious about something or just want to learn more, feel free to head on over to our online store and check out our entire range of MDF, or alternatively, you can get in touch with us via a call or an email. As always, you can head into our Fairfield showroom to get an up-close look at any of our products!