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Melamine-Faced MDF or Melamine-Faced Chipboard: Which is The Better Option

When it comes to choosing budget-friendly materials for furniture, cabinetry, and interior projects, melamine-faced MDF (MFM) and melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) are two popular contenders. Both boast affordability, a smooth finished surface, and various colors and textures thanks to the melamine paper finish. Adding melamine paper increases the board’s resistance to scratches and stains — making it even more durable than their baseboards.

The MFM board has a medium-density fibreboard as its core. Known for its dense and uniform composition, the MDF is made from finely ground wood fibers glued with resin and pressed using high temperature and pressure. This results in a smooth, flat surface ideal for painting or taking on a flawless laminated finish.

Pictures of melamine-faced MDF (left) and melamine-faced chipboard (right) side by side
Melamine-faced MDF (left) and melamine-faced chipboard (right)

Despite being produced similarly, the chipboard uses larger wood chips and resin at its core. This results in a low-density fibreboard, making it more lightweight and flexible for your interior needs. Because of this, the chipboard is also considered a cheaper alternative to MDF boards, especially for decorative purposes.

To further identify which best suits your upcoming project, check out our breakdown below.

  • Strength and Stability: Measuring an engineered wood product’s strength can be done by comparing its density. A higher density count reflects the board’s high mass compared to a small amount of volume, which is akin to a lead brick. By using MDF as its base, the MFM wins in terms of strength and stability. With a density of up to 1,000 kg/m3, the MFM is more likely to withstand heavy-duty applications compared to MFC — making it suitable for shelves, cabinets, and furniture that needs to hold weight.

  • Susceptibility to Moisture: In terms of moisture resistance, both boards can absorb moisture and swell. They’re not ideal for areas with high humidity such as bathrooms or kitchens. However, it is important to remember the MFM’s baseboard, which is MDF. Compared to the MFC’s chipboard, there are more variations of MDF, including one that is highly resistant to moisture (green MDF). These green MDFs are mixed with moisture-repellent resin to bind the wood fibers more tightly so that it is more resistant to moisture. Ideally, you can ask whether or not you can get green MDF as the base before adding melamine paper on top.

Pictures of melamine-faced MDF (left) and melamine-faced chipboard (right) side by side
Side view comparison of MFM and MFC
  • Cost-Effectiveness: If you’re on a budget but need to be able to bring the best results, then the MFC is the one for you. Chipboards do not require finely gained wood chips, thus saving production costs by a larger margin. Despite the coarser texture, MFCs are looser in density and lighter compared to MFMs. This will save not only shipping costs but also packaging costs that you might have to expend in the future.

  • Practical Application: In terms of practical applications, both MFM and MFC are often sought out for interior projects like shelves, cabinets, and furniture frames. MFCs are often used for lightweight, cost-effective projects while MFMs are chosen for projects that require a smooth and flawless surface.

In conclusion, both MFM and MFC offer unique advantages of their own. Consider your project’s needs for aesthetics, strength, weight, and budget to make the ideal choice. With their versatility and affordability, both options ensure you can create beautiful and functional pieces that elevate your space. If you’re looking for high-quality MFM or MFC boards for your projects, be sure to check out PT Sumatera Prima Fibreboard (


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