What Does MDF Stand For?

By Woodworking Street •  Updated: 12/23/21 •  6 min read

Do you know what MDF stands for? No, it’s not a new species of iPad or an advanced alien life form from the planet Proxima B:

MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard. It’s a composite material, made of wood fibers and resins. MDF is especially resistant to warping, which makes it ideal for cabinets and other furniture.

The cabinets in your home are an essential part of the décor. They not only provide storage space but also add value to your home. They can enhance your home and add a luxurious look.

Aesthetics aside, it is also important to have a cabinet that is sturdy and durable. With the many different materials available for cabinets and other pieces of furniture, you might be wondering what is the best option for you and your family. MDF is one of the most popular options out there today among consumers. This article will discuss everything about this type of material so that you can make a fully informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you!

What is Medium Density Fiberboard?

Medium Density Fiberboard is a man-made material that has become a popular choice for cabinet construction today.

I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t want anything made with artificial materials in my home.” And that’s completely fine. We all have different preferences and comfort levels when it comes to things like this. For me, I prefer quality and an aesthetically pleasing look. MDF is often associated with a lower-costed product, but I can assure you, there are some very good reasons why some manufacturers use it.

It’s cheaper than solid wood, quicker to work with, and more dimensionally stable than natural wood, making it ideal for large slabs. Although MDF is made from wood fibers, it has no grain. It is resistant to the swelling and shrinking that can happen when the relative humidity in your home changes.

That said, MDF doesn’t have the same feel as solid wood. But that’s OK – unless you’re expecting to see cracks or knots in your furniture, you’ll probably never know MDF is there.

Whether you need an entire room’s worth of furniture or just want to create an accent table or two to add some flair to your home décor, MDF makes an excellent choice if you want something that is affordable.

MDF furniture image - What does MDF stand for
MDF furniture


Here are some of the most relevant questions asked by people in regard to MDF:

Does medium density fiberboard contain formaldehyde?
Some of it does, mostly in the form of urea-formaldehyde resin. Urea-formaldehyde resin is used as an adhesive that binds together the wood fibers in medium-density fiberboard (MDF). It helps to create a material that is smooth and stable.

Can you cut or sand this material?
MDF emits formaldehyde when it’s cut or sanded. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and inhaling even small amounts can be harmful over time. You can protect yourself from hazardous dust by wearing a face mask or using a respirator when cutting or sanding the wood.

Is this material waterproof?
MDF is not waterproof. Many manufacturers of MDF warn against using the material in locations where it will be exposed to water and moisture. You can improve resistance to moisture by coating MDF with a sealer.

Is this material durable?
MDF definitely falls short on durability, but it can be a great material for something that is going to be painted, such as an arts and crafts project.

What is Medium Density Fiberboard used for?
Because it’s affordable, lightweight, and resilient,  MDF is often used in furniture, cabinets, decorative projects, and doors.

Can you stain MDF?
Yes, you can. However, MDF is not ideal for staining since it has no wood grain. An alternative would be to paint the surfaces of the MDF wood.

Can you burn MDF?
Burning MDF releases toxins into the air. It can be considered to be chemically treated wood. Burning it is illegal in some states and localities.

What are some reasons to choose MDF for your project?

What are some reasons NOT to use MDF in your project?

Where can you buy Medium Density Fiberboard?
You can buy MDF at a lumberyard or local home improvement store.

Is MDF resistant to termites?
MDF is resistant to termites. That being said, it is not completely termite-proof because they can drill through the MDF. To find out more, read about it in this article:  Revealed: 9 Types Of Wood Termites Do NOT Eat (And Eat)

Termites on a log
Termites on a log


You should now have a basic understanding of what medium-density fiberboard is, as well as its various applications. With that knowledge in hand, you can determine whether or not it’s the right material for your specific needs.

I hope that this blog served to clear up any confusion, and answered your question: What does MDF stand for?

Did you enjoy reading this information? If so, you might like my Pinterest profile. It contains pins about Woodworking, DIY&Crafts, tools, projects, along with similar material.

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Woodworking Street

I've had an interest in woodworking and building things since I was a child. With a good plan, the right tools, and a bit of know-how it's possible to build anything. That's what this website is all about. The internet can be an intimidating place for someone new to woodworking. My goal is to provide you with great resources and information to help you get started.

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