Medium density fiberboard, also called by its abbreviated form MDF, is a wood product made from the fibers of softwoods and hardwoods. These fibers are combined with a resin and wax binder and melted together under high temperatures. Then the mixture is placed under intense pressure and shaped into panels to create an engineered wood product with a higher density than plywood.
Medium Density Fiberboard Cons
MDF is heavy and dense which makes it difficult to use under some conditions. It dulls blades more quickly than wood when cut. When exposed to water for an extended period of time, it can break and swell. It's also prone to expanding or warping if not properly sealed and can also shrink if there's not enough humidity. Sanding and cutting it can cause lung and eye irritation because of the chemicals used to create it.
Medium Density Fiberboard Pros
MDF tends to be affordable and cost effective than natural wood. It's very flexible so installation on curved surfaces is easier. It rarely splits and shapes well. Unlike natural wood, MDF usually is consistent in size and strength.
Types of MDF
There are two main types of medium density fiberboard: fire retardant and moisture resistant. The former is usually blue or red while the latter is typically green.
Manufacturing for the two types is similar except different chemicals are added to the mixture to make it moisture resistant or fire retardant.