The world we live in today is one where convenience, speedy service and lower prices are of the upmost importance, however too many times companies will compromise too much in order to achieve this.

A prime example of this would be the use of MDF mouldings. Occasionally here at Period Mouldings, we will receive a call from potential customers asking us whether we offer our products in MDF, because their joiners or builders suggested it and each time we will go through why we do not use it, and why this is important.

We decided that it would be good to share our rationale. This is not just an anti-MDF campaign – its built up over years of being in this mouldings marketplace.

Here are 10 Reasons Why MDF Is Not The Answer:

  1. It’s in the name! MDF stands for Medium Density Fibre board. It is fibre – not pure wood.
  2. We all know how wood is made – mother nature’s finest combination of sun, rain and CO₂. But what goes into MDF? We never really know! It has a basic structure of cuttings of soft/hard wood, resin and wax, but the chemicals and other products that go in can differ a lot.
  3. It has a higher carbon footprint that virgin timber as it uses many resources and high pressures to produce it – being pulped, mashed, squeezed and dried all takes energy. Wood grows on its own.
  4. When you machine MDF it creates fine dust, which needs to be filtered and may even give off- small amounts of chemical is a gas form – although it’s largely dissipated by the end of production, wood production is far less invasive for the staff producing MDF.
  5. It can swell and then bleed when mixing with water – an essential element of keeping wooden or ceramic floors clean!
  6. The paint finish can be fiddly to apply – the biggest problem is with routed profiles. If the MDF is of a lower density, then the routed edges can be very rough after applying acrylic primer and will require a lot of sanding to get it up to a decent finish.
  7. It’s high maintenance – old skirting boards and architraves made of wood can handle dents and scratches, it adds to their character. But if you chip or crack MDF it isn’t easy to repair or cover the damage as easily, so they just begin to look tired.
  8. In the 1990’s it may have been suitable to MDF everything but in today’s environment customers want things to last and items to be from sustainable sources.
  9. It becomes heavy as it goes higher – with some of the larger skirting boards their weight would be significantly heavier with MDF, thereby increasing cost of delivery and effectively wasting more energy on transportation. This results in a need for more fixings and a potentially greater cost of delivery.
  10. Finally, it’s by product is not readily reusable – wood shavings have a variety of uses including making briquettes and even in the manufacture of MDF, all of which helps reduce our carbon footprint.

We are not MDF haters, it’s a very useful substrate – just not in our opinion in the traditional mouldings arena.