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Medium Density Fibreboard vs. Melamine-Faced Chipboard: Discover the Right Materials for Your Needs

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) and Melamine-Faced Chipboard (MFC) are commonly known wood engineering products. You are likely to find cabinets, tables, and wardrobes made of these materials. Both offer affordability, a smooth finished surface, and a vast array of colors and textures.


Yet, beneath the surface lie key differences that can make or break your projects. At first glance, you might notice the MDF’s high density and heavier weight, whereas the MFC has a rougher texture and feels lighter in your hands. The MDF is made of wood fibers pressed together with resin and high pressure. Though made using similar methods, the MFC uses wood chips and is finished off with melamine paper to give it an extra layer of protection and color.


Close-up look of MDF and MFC from the side
A close-up look of MDF and MFC from the side

If you’re interested in making a new piece of furniture or a DIY project using these materials, here are some key differences you might need to watch out for!


  • Materials: The first key difference between MDF and MFC lies in its constituent materials. MDF uses wood fibers at its core, often wood shavings taken from previous wood processing projects, and are pressed together using high-pressure and resin. Meanwhile, MFC is made from wood chips pressed together with resin and finished off with a layer of melamine to give it a finer look. These differences will greatly determine the characteristics and appropriate use of the materials. MDF might be suitable for longer-lasting projects, while MFC might be good for smaller projects that require a unique texture or color from the melamine paper.


  • Density: When it comes to density, the MDF tends to be denser than the MFC, thus stronger as well. A higher density contributes to material durability as well as how much easier it is to cut the materials without having to worry about them being easily broken or damaged.


A carpenter screwing on hinges to a board
Bidvine (c) Pexels

  • Surface: Even without the additional beautiful finish that melamine paper adds to boards, the MDF already has a smoother surface compared to the MFC. This is due to the wood fibers that make up the MDF. The fibers are smaller and finer compared to the chips of MFC, creating a more uniform and even surface compared to the chipboard which is directly coated with melamine. However, it cannot be denied that the addition of melamine paper increases the MFC’s resistance to scratches and stains from heavy usage.


  • Application: Performance-wise, these two panels each have their advantages in certain areas. The MFC’s melamine coating makes it the ideal choice for tables, shelves, and surfaces that are frequently in contact with people. On the other hand, the MDF’s high density allows for high moisture areas such as the bathroom or kitchen where liquids are more likely to touch the surface of the materials.

Both MDF and MFC have their advantages and disadvantages. The MDF’s high density allows for more durable cabinets, wardrobes, and other wood projects compared to those made using MFC. However, if you tend to move from place to place, using MFC-based furniture will allow you to easily arrange and pack products without hassle.


If you are looking for MDFs made from the best quality materials and resin to create superior furniture, be sure to take a look at our catalog over at PT Sumatera Prima Fibreboard (www.spf.co.id).

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