There are various types of wood panels around us. Each of them has its unique features. There are many factors to consider before choosing a wood material. Factors like thickness, strength, cost, etc. are significant in determining. Two such famous wood panels are the MDO and MDF. After many different tests, here we are to give a comparison between them.
Both MDO and MDF are different wood panels and are not very similar. They have different strengths. The MDO or medium density overlay is much stronger than the MDF. They are very apt for heavy materials and are weather-resistant too. The MDF is much lighter and is better for indoor use. They are not very expensive and are not as strong as the MDO too. Let’s compare all the features in detail to know more about these woods.
MDO Vs MDF: Comparison Chart
|Price||A bit expensive||Cheaper|
|Durability||Much durable||Not as durable as MDO|
|Portability||Portable||Tough to move|
|Weight||Not as heavy as MDF||Heavier|
|Density||Denser||Not very dense|
|Safety||Safer||Emits dangerous gas|
|Dust||Not much dust||Can emit a lot of dust|
MDO Vs MDF: Differences
Many woodworkers consider budget the main factor before buying their wood. Both MDO and MDF give an excellent finish to the work they do. But as MDO is stronger and durable, the making may need more money. MDF is much cheaper than the latter.
Bottom Line: If the price is a significant concern, MDF is the better choice.
The strength of the material decides the uses of them. MDO is much stronger than its competitor. They can withstand a lot of weight. This is a reason why they provide support for weighty materials. It can uphold its structural integrity for long years. This is not the case in MDF. They are weaker than MDF. They can even collapse under heavyweights. They have a tensile strength of 90 lbs for a standard 4 x 8 sheet.
Bottom Line: The MDO is much stronger than the MDF and is very apt for heavy materials.
The MDF is very heavy. Even though they are heavy, they don’t support heavy materials as the latter. They face a tough time in withstanding heavier materials. The MDO is not as heavy as the MDF. But they are more durable.
Bottom Line: The MDF is heavier than MDO.
Both the products have a density in their names, but that does not have anything to do with their densities. But the MDO is much denser than MDF. This makes it very strong and apt for supporting heavy materials. The MDO even has a small MDF layer on it. The MDO was even designed to beat the strength issues of MDF. The MDF, even though it weighs more, it isn’t as dense as MDO.
Bottom Line: MDO is denser than MDF.
5. Structural Support
The structural integrity of the material is critical. Structural integrity aims to prevent the failure of the structure. MDF is not as strong as the MDO. If the MDF sheets are wide, they need structural support. This is because they may sink at the center of gravity. The MDO is way better as it holds structural integrity over the years.
Bottom Line: MDO has better stability in the structure as the MDF.
6. Weather Resistance
Weather resistance might be a vital factor for the wood. The wood may have to withstand different weathers. The MDO has a layer of weather-resistant resin on its top. They also have a smoother surface. This helps them have a better weather resistance. The MDF is not the same as MDO. They are not preferable for high humid areas and very hot areas. The direct heat can destroy the bonds in the material. This can even make the whole material come apart. But both materials should get treated for some extra protection.
Bottom Line: The MDO offers better weather resistance than the MDF.
Cutting the wood may need a lot of effort. The cuts are significant for the finish the user expects. The MDF lets out a lot of dust. A proper dust collection and cleaning method should be there for the MDF. They can be messy if not managed well. An appropriate ventilation system should also be there for safety reasons. The MDO uses waterproof glue, which is safer and not as many problems as MDF.
Bottom Line: The cutting of MDO is safer.
The materials must be easy to use for the user. MDO is more comfortable to move to different places. They are chemical and weather resistant. Cutting and scraping are easier in MDO too. MDF is quite different in this case. A proper covering and right arrangement are essential for MDF. While cutting, they give out a lot of dust. This may give the user a lot of respiratory issues too.
Bottom Line: The MDO is easier to use and transport while compared to MDF.
MDO Vs MDF: Similarities
Even though the products differ by a lot of factors, they have few similarities too.
1. Painting Surfaces
MDO and MDF have surfaces that can be easily painted. But before the process. The user should be sure to seal the edges. So before applying the paint, the edges should get filled. A proper base coat before painting will be okay. The surface should be free from any irregularities too. Sanding before painting will be very good for the surface.
Proper safety measures are essential for both MDO and MDF. The user must wear safety equipment like goggles, masks, gloves, etc. There are many chemicals in MDO and MDF. They contain chemicals like formaldehyde, which are present in the bonding adhesive. The ventilation of the room is also an important factor. A well-ventilated area could prevent the user from any harm.
MDO Vs MDF: Features
MDO stands for medium density overlay panels. They compose of pressed plywood and a layer of resin. The resin layers get the bond through pressure and heat. They contain an overlay of about 28% resin. This helps them even have resistance against moisture. After painting, MDO becomes more durable than paint on normal plywood.
They are not very rigid as the normal wood panels. But they can withstand the wear and tear better than MDF. They can even withstand friction. The most significant advantage of MDO is its actual veneers. The MDO has many thin wooden layers between them. They stick together by a waterproof adhesive. These panels are perfect for sign paintings.
MDO is best for your exterior construction. They can even emboss with the wood grain patterns to make it look very natural. The MOD is very durable due to its high strength. They can withstand high amounts of pressure too. It is more of a rugged type of wood. Even beginners can use MDO without any problem. Even MDO is suitable for interior works. Furniture items and floors are some examples where MDO gets used.
MDF stands for medium-density fiberboards. They compose of wood fiber from hardboard. The wood fiber gets shown to high pressure and heat. Then they get mixed with the wax and the resin adhesive. The making does not need much money, which is a reason for the affordable price of MDF. The density of MDF is higher than plywood and MDO too. They compose more of softwood.
Even though MDF weighs more than MDO, they do not withstand much weight. They are weaker and cannot withstand heat too. Indoor furniture is what MDF is best in. Drawers, shelves, cabinets are some examples where MDF is used. There are many different types of MDF. Some examples are moisture resistant MDF and fire-resistant MDF. They have an excellent all-round gluing surface. Many heavy materials can change the shape of MDF. The user should stack it well to keep it safe.
They have no knots and no grain pattern like the plywood. The weight of MDF can make it challenging to handle. They can even dull the blades. The MDF contains formaldehyde in the adhesive. MDF may release a lot of dust, which may become a mess. The user must wear the necessary equipment like goggles while using. Proper ventilation will also be helpful while working with MDF.
MDO Vs MDF: Overview
The MDO is very durable and can withstand harsh conditions. That is the reason why they are more present in exterior applications. They are easier to work with and do not emit any harmful gases. They are portable too. They are resistant to heat and moisture.
The MDF is heavier than the MDO. They have wood fiber in them. They may be a cheaper option but aren’t as strong as the MDO. They even let out a lot of dust. They emit formaldehyde, which may be harmful. They are not as resistant as the latter against heat and moisture.
1. Is painting the MDF safe and advisable?
Painting the MDF is possible, but the user should keep in mind some safety measures. They may be hazardous, so the user must wear safety gear. A water-based paint may be a disaster to use. Even if MDF gets exposed to very little water, its shape can change. The surface must get prepared before painting it. A primer is an excellent tool to use for getting the surface ready. After sanding and keeping the area clean, seal the edges. Then the wood is ready to paint.
2. Why is MDF dangerous to work with?
The resin used in MDF has urea-formaldehyde in most cases. If the user is in continuous exposure with it, there may be some dangerous health hazards. They may even cause cancer. So protective equipment is vital while using MDF.
3. Where can be MDO used?
MDO has plenty of uses due to its high quality and durability. Signboards are one excellent example of where MDO is found. Many users prefer MDO for fences and doors due to its strength. They are also sometimes used in interior works like door panels. They are much found in the exterior environment due to their strength and resistance.
4. Where can be MDF used?
MDF is tougher to transport and use compared to MDO. They are suitable for some beginner level woodworking. They can be mostly found in areas where they need not much tensile strength. Some examples are wardrobes and tabletops. They can also get painted but with a lot of precautionary works. So they are also used in painted toys and door skins.
Both these wood panels are durable enough for different jobs. They are easy to paint and can also be used in various interior jobs. They are two major products which get used in many places.
The MDO is a better choice if the user needs high strength and weather resistance. They may be a bit expensive but are not as harmful as the latter. They are even resistant to water and corrosion.
MDF is not as strong as the latter but has perfect density. They are preferable for interior applications and small scale works. But they are not as resistant as MDO. They are cheaper and could be an option in the budget.
The MDO can give the user many choices than the MDF but are a bit expensive. Both the woods are a great option than many other ones in the market. We hope your doubts have now vanished.