When is MDF better than real wood?
You may have a preconceived idea that MDF is just not as good as the ‘real thing’. But do you know why this has become a common conception? Here at Shutters of London, we are firm believers in choosing the right material for the job to match the usage, aesthetics and positioning. This is why we know that MDF is a top contender when it comes to choosing materials for shutters – and not just in terms of your budget!
What is MDF?
Put simply, medium density fibreboard – or MDF – is a composite material comprising the wood fibres from real wood, compressed and bound with wax or resin. It’s features are strength, durability, ease of manufacture and resistance to splitting. It is the ideal material for shaping and adding veneers to, as it is easy to shape and dense enough to hold finishes consistently.
As MDF is manufactured, engineers can be sure that the product is consistent in it’s qualities and how it will respond to different applications. This is a key benefit when considering the usage and
location of the final creation that MDF is used for, as it is available in three different varieties:
- Ultralight MDF
- Moisture resistant MDF
- Fire retardant MDF
While ultralight boards are essential when crafting shutters that are stacked or shaped with little support, fire retardant MDF is crucial for areas where there is a risk of an open flame coming into
contact with the window area. Similarly, moisture resistance is vital for ensuring bathroom shutters remain in tip-top condition for years to come, providing the material has be property sealed and finished by a professional. Where solid woods can unpredictably shrink, buckle or warp in heat or moisture, MDF will stand the test of time.
As it is not as pure and natural as real wood, you will not see natural grain, knots and imperfections with MDF. This would be a drawback if you were intending on using MDF for an organic-styled coffee table or wardrobe, as you would lose the aspects that make it interesting. However, when used in smaller pieces, covered or painted, most people would be none the wiser whether a well prepared and finished MDF product was real wood or not. As technology speeds forwards and new techniques for creating, covering and finishing composite woods emerge, we are able to achieve the real wood appearance for a much cheaper price.
When you are choosing the material for your shutters, this is a gentle reminder not to discount MDF due to its bad reputation when compared with real wood. While solid woods have the benefit of real wood grains and natural imperfections that make it beautiful, MDF can achieve the expensive look without the price tag and a longer lifetime guarantee. If you are unsure what material is the right one for you, our team will be more than happy to talk you through the options in detail and offer their advice – it’s what they are passionate about! After all, each project is unique and deserves careful consideration, not a ‘one-size-fits-all’.