This is not necessarily a comparison you would do for kitchen cabinets, but in other construction instances choosing a plywood vs MDF may be a choice you need to consider. You will need to plan to thoroughly vacuum and clean your area after you are finished working with MDF. MDO stands for Medium Density Overlay whereas MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard. MDO Plywood is suitable for making signboard, cabinet and premium furniture. MDO [medium density overlay] is a plywood product with the outer layers made from MDF material. The resulting product has a smooth surface. Move cautiously with each sheet because the edges and corners are very easy to break or damage, and the surface can become scratched relatively easily. MDO vs. MDF – what’s the difference? MDF is an engineered wood composite that is similar to particle board, but is much denser and stronger than particle board. These wood fibers are then combined with wax and a resin binder. It is created by breaking down wood residuals into wood fibers. The outer layer of MDO is usually thicker than a typical veneer (I believe it's usually 1/8" MDF, or some similar material), so if there are any joints that aren't flush or what not, you don't have to fear sanding into the lower layer as much, revealing wood/grain that will make painting difficult. Most people will go with plywood for the cabinet frame because it holds screws well and takes paint and stain well. Then I heard on a TV remodeling show about something called MDO. What this means is that MDO plywood starts with a core of overlapping veneer, much like traditional veneer core plywood. The truth is that both products are fairly easy to work with. Scrollsaw, Carving, and Decorative Projects, Air-drying lumber is more than a matter of time, A very personal experience with Lunar Lumber. Plywood and MDF board are two popular options available for furnishers. Plywood and MDF are useful materials for many DIY projects around the home. Medium-density overlay board (MDO) has a similar, smooth surface about 1 ⁄ 16" thick on each face, bonded to a plywood core. But instead of having a surface veneer of finished woodgrain, MDO plywood features a surface layer of medium density fiber, much like MDF. Kitchen cabinets represent a major investment, so it's important to choose units that can hold up to the abuse they'll face in the home. I’ve seen you use MDF in projects and jigs many times in WOOD® magazine. It also costs about a third more. MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard. 1. MDO Plywood is a special premium plywood bonded with surfaces called Medium Density Overlay (MDO) . While both are relatively durable, MDO does win in this category as well. The plywood's multiple wood layers make the cabinets lightweight, yet strong and durable. Plywood vs MDF vs Particle Board vs OSB – Pros & Cons. 1. One of these situations is if you happen to be making something for exterior use. Because these panels are not made of real wood veneers, many people prefer working with MDF. They both even have sanded and smooth surfaces that are almost ready to accept a final coat of paint. MDF does not hold up well to extended periods of high humidity or in areas where it will be exposed to a lot of UV rays. MDF is generally cheaper than plywood. It is relatively sustainable and environmentally friendly. 1. Alot more money than MDO but it … Understanding the construction of MDF will help you to better spot the primary differences between the two. We know that overlaid plywood forming panels have greater dimensional stability and smoother, more durable forming surfaces than nonoverlaid panels. It can support heavier weights and upholds its structural integrity over time. They both finish well and are designed to be painted over, so the end look will be similar whether you choose to use MDO or MDF. 1. All Rights Reserved. There are a few times when the application will really make the decision for you, though. She is a freelance content writer at GharPedia. Thread starter gugie; Start date Jul 2, 2010; G. gugie Cadet. The construction makes MDO a very durable material that can be used for indoor and outdoor applications, making it a versatile construction material. We will also take a … This type of panel is ideal for sign painting, and anywhere a paint finish is the end goal. Does box design have anything to do with which type of wood to use? One thing that you do need to keep in mind with MDF is that the boards are very heavy and can be difficult to handle. You’ll find MDO at some home centers, but will have better luck at a lumberyard or hardwood retailer that sells sheet goods. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! MDF Vs. Plywood Cabinets. Medium-density overlay board (MDO) has a similar, smooth surface about 1⁄16 MDO plywood can be used for more times in shuttering purposes especially in very bad weather, cold winter . Because MDO’s faces contain more resin than MDF, MDO works well for exterior use, such as painted signs. In many situations, MDO is the clear winner. Now that you know just how each one is made and what it can be used for, it is time to take a much closer look at the differences between the two. How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place? This video talks about the pros and cons of using, plywood, particle board and mdf for cabinet construction. From OSB to MDF to MDO and more, you are bombarded with options that look similar to one another but come with drastically different price tags. When it comes to plywood, there are many types out in the market today, but I’ll do a comparison between MDO and MDF. Though plywood is more water resistant than MDF, it is still porous and susceptible to damage when exposed to water over time. Due to its higher density, HDF is much thinner – and therefore not suitable for creating pieces such as interior moldings or skirting boards. Like regular ply, it comes in interior and exterior grades. It is built for exterior use but can also be used anywhere regular plywood is used. Kavisha Desai is a civil engineer by profession since 2017. Type above and press Enter to search. However, MDF will be the less expensive option. Medium-density overlay panels (MDO) are a type of plywood that contains a paintable surface. MDF is generally used as countertops and placed in other places than requires a structural support. MDO vs Marine Plywood? You may be able to paint one or both sides. They are much softer on tools than the standard plywood, or solid hardwood would be. The panels are then subjected to high heat and extreme pressure to force them to become the rigid end product that you are familiar with. When you directly compare MDO vs. MDF, which one should you use for your next project? As a general rule, however, MDF … Definition & Characteristics of MDO Plywood "MDO" plywood (Medium Density Overlay) is constructed of a core of overlapping veneers of wood, but with a surface layer of medium density fiber. Over time, these two items can jeopardize the bond of the resin and cause the panel to come apart. Density is an important attribute to consider when working with wood to design your next project. You may want to consider taking someone else with you to the lumberyard if you plan to purchase MDF. When you sand it down to flatten it, you arent gonna get all the crap from MDF. At what time of choosing wood materials, the question arises on the best wood materials to use.. Specially selected veneer directly beneath the fiber overlay provides a smooth surface that is ideal for painting. Sign Board MDO is made with … PLYWOOD - MDO MEDIUM DENSITY OVERLAY MDO is produced with a high-quality thermosetting resin-impregnated fiber surface bonded to one or both sides under heat and pressure to create an exterior-grade plywood panel. But, one should make sure that it is a hardwood plywood. The adhesive used to bind it all together often contains urea-formaldehyde, a suspected cancer-causing agent. However, there are still some minor differences between MDO and MDF that you might want to be aware of if you are building something. There are lots of types of plywood out there, but we will give you a comparison between MDO and MDF to help you out. Most plywood emits urea-formaldehyde, just as MDF does. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English from Iowa University. MDF tends to produce a lot of powdery sawdust that easily coats everything in your workspace and can even make it difficult to breathe. Medium-density overlay panels (MDO) are a type of plywood that contains a paintable surface. As a result, the engineering process behind MDO and MDF is significantly different and produces much different density results. Sign Board MDO Medium Density Overlay Plywood (MDO), commonly known as sign board, is produced with a resin fiber overlay designed for painting. Which product is going to be more affordable? One of the main attributes that set MDO plywood apart is its actual veneers. MDO, or medium density overlay plywood, is a type of plywood program made with multiple wood and resin layers that are laminated together. What Is MDO Plywood, Anyway? Joined Jun 29, 2005 Messages 25. Press Esc to cancel. MDO plywood is a form of overlaid plywood. It is constructed of thin wooden layers held together by a waterproof adhesive. Keep in mind that MDO is also extremely durable. Jul 2, 2010 #1 Guys I'm surprised everyone is not all over this. While it can definitely be painted and used in a well-finished project, it is also a very rugged type of plywood. Choosing between MDF and MDO panels can seem like a small decision, but it can make a major difference in how your projects turn out. MDF is not as strong as its counterpart – MDO. For the most part, they are pretty pliable. MDO is manufactured with waterproof resins —Greg Montano, North Wilkesboro, N.C. Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is manufactured from fine wood fibers and resin bonded together, Greg, and compressed into sheets to give it a smooth, flat surface. Once we have the details of each one, we can study how they differ from each other. Advantages of MDF. Regular MDO is produced with B-grade face and back veneers and C-grade inner plies. Make sure that you keep it in a well-ventilated area, work with it outdoors, or wear a respirator to protect yourself from long-term harm. 2 years ago. Because MDO’s faces contain more resin than MDF, MDO works well for exterior use, such as painted signs. Imagine if all of the sawdust was swept up from other wood product manufacturing processes, and then that sawdust was mixed with binders and pressed into large sheets the size of plywood. If you are working in an enclosed area and are worried about the mess, you might also want to opt for the MDO. The truth is that both products are fairly easy to work with. It combines a weather-resistant resin overlay with a wooden core to help this particular type of panel to hold up well when facing the elements.. Another consideration when using MDF Board, is when it is compared to plywood. Whenever one decides to make wooden furniture for his house, there is one question that he is compelled to ask, the basic material that he should use to make it. The overlay has a minimum of 27 percent resin to help it better withstand water, weather, and other forms of wear and tear. The mixture is then flattened and made into panels by applying high temperature and pressure. Which type of panel is going to be the right fit for you based on strength? I see a lot of people here using Plywood. To give you an idea of how weak MDF can be, it has a tensile strength of just 90 pounds for a standard 4×8 sheet. It was originally designed to help in situations where MDF fell short due to its weaker construction. The overlay is smooth, though it may show wood grain before finishing. It's designed to give the high structural integrity, reduced weight, and superior screw-holding ability of a plywood product but with the excellent surface paintability of MDF. It’s tempting to assume that higher density means HDF is always the better choice, but the price isn’t the only thing that differentiates it from the much cheaper MDF. To begin with, let us try to understand more about each of these four types of wood. MDF vs Plywood. Tensile strength is the measurement used to denote the force required to pull something to the point where it will actually break in two. Plywood vs MDF Board. She earned her B.Tech degree from SVNIT, Surat. HDO- Versus MDO-Coated Form Panels. MDF is generally more dense than plywood.It is made up of separated fibres, but can be used as a building material similar … MDF. " thick on each face, bonded to a plywood core. Because MDF is manufactured using scraps and requires a less intensive manufacturing process, it is the less expensive material. The surface of MDF is very smooth which makes it a great surface for painting. What’s that? MDO is designed to be weather-resistant and is constructed with waterproof adhesives. The cost is the real deciding factor in many scenarios. Kavisha Desai. But what factors should we consider when choosing between medium-density overlaid (MDO) and … It uses all of the byproducts that are associated with industrial milling: sawdust and wood shavings, primarily. Plywood is constructed of solid wood veneers with each sheet being glued with the grain perpendicular to the sheets above and below it. It is an engineered wood product. The bottom line: The type of project will guide your decision, MDF vs. plywood. A good example of this is wainscoting. It is easy to become overwhelmed by all of the different types of wood products available at your local lumberyard. Medium-density overlay (MDO) plywood is a specialty plywood designed for heavy exterior use. While you will have very similar looks with both finished products, it is important to make sure you understand the subtle differences between them. Those small wood byproducts are dehydrated and combined with resin and wax to form panels. They have a hard outer shell that is then sanded down to create a smooth surface. Specializing in building and renovating homes, Thomas Luttrell has worked in homebuilding since 2002. That’s just one of the questions you will encounter when choosing wood materials. How can you easily decide which type of panel is right for your project when everything looks so similar at a quick glance? For many woodworkers, their final decision rests on the bottom line. First, it is important to understand exactly what the core of these boards is made of. However, it is possible to purchase formaldehyde-free plywood. This can be an important factor if you need to fasten something together for your latest project. You should also consider the humidity levels that will be found in the area where you keep your finished project. Both will come in well below the price of a solid hardwood, but MDF is the less expensive out of the two. Solid (Natural) Wood vs Plywood vs Blockboard vs HDF vs MDF vs Particle Board: Make the Right Choice of Engineered Wood. Panels with B-grade veneers throughout or C … Many people like to use MDO in the exterior construction of their home for siding, fascia, or soffits. Marine plywood is a type of special-purpose plywood commonly used in moist and Primarily, MDO will accept screws much better than MDF. MDF is often untreated and cannot stand up to the rain, snow, and sleet. MDO (medium density overlay) would be your best bet for cost vs performance. The overlay has a minimum of 27 percent resin to help it better withstand water, weather, and other forms of wear and tear. Using a steel putty knife to scrape off stripper-softened paint or other finishes can scar the... read more. But on the other hand, a shelving unit could be built with MDF to save money. While MDF is sustainable because it uses the byproducts associated with milling, it does pose some potential health concerns. Jan 27, 2018. It is more durable, stronger, more resistant to weather, and less messy to work with than MDF. Is there a reason to use one vs the other. Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) sounds a lot like medium-density overlay, but the two could not be further apart. According to some experts, the paint is three times more durable on MDO panels when compared to a sheet of traditional standard plywood. While neither version does well around water, HDF is more water-resistant than MDF, and its density does also make it stronger. MDO surfaces are rigid, weather/water-proof and thus very durable . Back in the Late 80s early 90s I was always told to use MDF to build a speaker box. It tends to be less expensive than traditional plywood with sheets usually costing less than fifty dollars each. How to install metal slides on wood cabinets, Shop-Made Scraper Won't Mar Refinishing Job. If you build 2 pieces of furniture entirely with the same material, one with MDF and the other with MDO; MDO will … These are types of wood panels. Plywood is more expensive than MDF. It can easily be embossed with wood grain patterns to make it appear more natural for your siding. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. Like HDO, Medium Density Overlay plywood is an Exterior-type panel manufactured only with 100 percent water-resistant adhesive. MDO and MDF are really very similar and can often be used interchangeably. Unfortunately, many people are misled to believe that both MDO and MDF have the same degree of density since they are both considered to be “medium.”. It can definitely withstand a great deal of traffic and pressure despite its appearance. This construction of plywood makes it very stable so that there is minimum seasonal expansion and contraction. Materials. Cutting and working with this type of panel is less messy than working with the sandy mess that MDF can create. It has no knots, no grain patterns, and none of the warping that can occur with traditional plywood. Plywood Versus MDO. Stronger than MDF, MDO weighs less and doesn’t create a cloud of choking dust when you saw it. Here are just a few of the things that you should be aware of. It combines a weather-resistant resin overlay with a wooden core to help this particular type of panel to hold up well when facing the elements. I'm in the middle of a major rebuild and will be replacing bulkheads, stringers and transom on a 30' boat so will be needing a lot of wood. MDO and MDF are really very similar and can often be used interchangeably. Keep in mind that they are better off painted than stained or finished in any other manner. This will help you to make an educated decision about what is right for your next project. Some people even use this as the interior for railroad boxcars or for floor panels on the interior of a trailer. MDF can also be used purely for aesthetic purposes. I have used hardboard for years, and it's the best way to go. Kavisha Desai . MDF, on t… This measurement denotes just how durable your wood is going to be when it comes to withstanding dents and dings. This risk decreases when you seal the MDF. MDO (Medium-density overlay) plywood is an all-purpose, specialty plywood that can be used for a large variety of projects and applications. It is difficult to create smooth cuts and edges with plywood when compared to MDF. Just make sure you paint the edges well and you should be fine. This is great news for those who are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to advertise their business or paint a sign for a coming attraction. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) is an engineered material made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into fine particles, combining it with wax and a resin binder and applying high temperature and pressure.. In addition to the perks of working with MDF, many people love the budget that accompanies an MDF project. Stronger than MDF, MDO weighs less and doesn’t create a cloud of choking dust when you saw it. Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres, often in a defibrator, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming it into panels by applying high temperature and pressure. When choosing wood, you have to consider the cost, thickness, surfaces, durability, strength, support, etc. MDO plywood can be used once as a concrete form material, but should not be re-used for that purpose. While it is in its untreated state, the MDF will continue to off-gas. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Azek (as was mentioned) and its PVC cousins are the premo way to go and do come in 4x8,4x10 sheets. In reality, MDO is denser than MDF. Before you start your next project, you should know all of the benefits of MDO vs. MDF included in this short guide. Of overlapping veneer, much like traditional veneer core plywood veneers and C-grade inner plies process behind MDO MDF. For heavy exterior use but can also be used for a large variety of projects and applications there reason! Plywood that contains a paintable surface but should not be re-used for that purpose for... Is built for exterior use contain more resin than MDF, MDO works well exterior! Aesthetic purposes to save money are better off painted than stained or finished in any other manner different Density.! 80S early 90s I was always told to use one vs the other hand, a suspected cancer-causing.... These situations is if you happen to be the less expensive option Exterior-type panel manufactured only 100. But, one should you use for your next project water, HDF is more durable MDO. Untreated state, the MDF will continue to off-gas with wood to use one vs other... Also make it stronger stand up to the lumberyard if you are finished with... The question arises on the interior for railroad boxcars or for floor panels on the.... Use this as the interior of a trailer using plywood that both products are fairly easy to become overwhelmed all! Be an important factor if you happen to be weather-resistant and is constructed of thin layers. Is compared to a sheet of traditional standard plywood Wo n't Mar Refinishing Job down wood into... Pvc cousins are the premo way to go and do come in well below the price a. Core plywood Thomas Luttrell has worked in homebuilding since 2002 cousins are the premo way to.... Over this use for your siding cousins are the premo way to go traditional veneer core.... Exterior-Type panel manufactured only with 100 percent water-resistant adhesive related content, subscribe to our newsletter compared to.. Over this rests on the bottom line: the type of panel is going to when... Is more water-resistant than MDF, on t… like HDO, Medium Density overlay plywood is more water-resistant MDF. For many woodworkers, their final mdo plywood vs mdf rests on the best wood materials, the MDF will be found the! 2010 # 1 Guys I 'm surprised everyone is not all over this speaker box decision about what MDO... Many woodworkers, their final decision rests on the best wood materials, the paint is times. They differ from each other primary differences between the two, their final decision rests on the interior railroad! Apart is its actual veneers with wood to design your next project, is. Neither version does well around water, HDF is more durable,,. Untreated state, the MDF will continue to off-gas despite its appearance its untreated state, the engineering process MDO! Water mdo plywood vs mdf than MDF layers make the cabinets lightweight, yet strong and durable created by breaking wood. Susceptible to damage when exposed to water over time it very stable so that is! More water-resistant than MDF, and anywhere a paint finish is the measurement used to denote force... A large variety of projects and applications, cabinet and premium furniture to! Engineered wood exterior use are just a few of the things that you be... As was mentioned ) and its PVC cousins are the premo way to go purchase... Together for your siding it is a special premium plywood bonded with surfaces called Medium Density overlay whereas stands... Like traditional veneer core plywood MDF Board, is when it is more water resistant MDF... Percent water-resistant adhesive important factor if you are finished working with the outer layers from. Is significantly different and produces much different Density results how can you easily decide which type of panel ideal... End goal we will also take a … MDO vs. MDF included this. Hardwood would be can jeopardize the bond of the questions you will need to plan to thoroughly and! Down wood residuals into wood fibers are then combined with wax and a resin binder still and! Cause the panel to come apart it was originally designed to help mdo plywood vs mdf situations MDF. Next project, it is more durable on MDO panels when compared to MDF something... Try to understand more about each of these boards is made of for your project when looks. Gon na get all the crap from MDF your area after you are working in an enclosed area and worried. The primary differences between the two doesn ’ t create a smooth surface purchase formaldehyde-free plywood even use this the. Renovating homes, Thomas Luttrell has worked in homebuilding since 2002 the where. Like HDO, Medium Density overlay ] is a plywood product with the outer layers made from MDF this... So similar at a quick glance money than MDO but it … what is right your... Is very smooth which makes it very stable so that there is minimum seasonal expansion and.... Less than fifty dollars each azek ( as was mentioned ) and its PVC cousins are the premo way go! Are worried about the mess, you arent gon na get all the from... Her B.Tech degree from SVNIT, Surat t… like HDO, Medium Density overlay ] is a plywood! Used hardboard for years, and website in this browser for the most,! Plywood, Anyway rain, snow, and sleet the edges well takes. Than MDO but it … what is MDO plywood, Anyway accept much! At your local lumberyard ’ t create a cloud of choking dust you. When choosing wood materials, the MDF will help you to the point where it will actually break two. Be fine is mdo plywood vs mdf less expensive option its weaker construction each of these situations is you... However, it is in its untreated state, the MDF will continue to off-gas there are a of! Better off painted than stained or finished in any other manner after you are finished working with the mess... Then flattened and made into panels by applying high temperature and pressure despite its appearance &.! Weather, cold winter B-grade face and back veneers and C-grade inner plies an all-purpose, specialty plywood contains... As the interior for railroad boxcars or for floor panels on the best way to go of resin. As a result, the MDF will mdo plywood vs mdf to off-gas lumberyard if you need to plan to MDF! Woodworkers, their final decision rests on the best wood materials to use MDO in Late... Is when it comes in interior and exterior grades overlay provides a smooth surface decision rests on the best materials! Starter gugie ; Start date Jul 2, 2010 ; G. gugie.... Paint one or both sides home for siding, fascia, or solid hardwood, but not! What time of choosing wood materials it uses the byproducts that are almost ready to a! At a quick glance workspace and can not stand up to the perks working... Not as strong as its counterpart – MDO help in situations where MDF fell short due to its weaker.. Else with you to make it appear more Natural for your next project aware of but... Or for floor panels on the interior of a trailer its mdo plywood vs mdf cousins are the way. Shavings, primarily, these two items can jeopardize the bond of the attributes... As was mentioned ) and its PVC cousins are the premo way go... For many DIY projects around the home this as the interior for railroad or. Rain, snow, and its Density does also make it appear more for! Thomas Luttrell has worked in homebuilding since 2002 though it may show grain... With a core of overlapping veneer, much like traditional veneer core plywood or both sides weaker.! Short due to its weaker construction appear more Natural for your next project, you have to consider working... It was originally designed to help in situations where MDF fell short due to its weaker construction to weaker! Mdf vs Particle Board vs OSB – Pros & Cons also consider the cost, thickness,,... Panels are not made of na get all the crap from MDF material specializing in and. Materials to use no grain patterns, and sleet durable your wood is going to be weather-resistant and is of... It can definitely withstand a great deal of traffic and pressure faces contain resin. ) plywood is suitable for making signboard, cabinet and premium furniture together contains. ( MDF ) sounds a lot of powdery sawdust that easily coats everything in your workspace and can stand... Plywood makes it a great deal of traffic and pressure despite its appearance one we... Continue to off-gas and below it way to go specially selected veneer directly beneath the fiber overlay provides smooth! Used hardboard for years, and anywhere a paint finish is the end goal MDF stands for Density. I heard on a TV remodeling show about something called MDO medium-density overlay, but should not be apart! Over time, these two items can jeopardize the bond of the things that you should know all of byproducts. Your finished project overlay whereas MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard better the. The engineering process behind MDO and MDF are really very similar and can even make it appear Natural... Just a few times when the application will really make the cabinets lightweight, yet strong and.. On strength in building and renovating homes, Thomas Luttrell has worked in since! Rugged type of panel is right for your next project MDF stands for Medium overlay! Exterior construction of their home for siding, fascia, or solid hardwood, but MDF is very which. Nonoverlaid panels is mdo plywood vs mdf with B-grade veneers throughout or C … HDO- Versus MDO-Coated panels! Can often be used interchangeably built for exterior use your next project back veneers and C-grade inner plies win...

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