Choosing the right kitchen materials is one of the main problems encountered while designing modular kitchens. Their choice depends on several factors including longevity, price and overall design. Below are a few basic differentiating factors between MDF and Plywood, and their individual attributes.

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Differences in MDF & Plywood

MDF or Medium Density Fibreboard is got when hard and softwood residues are glued together with resin, wax and heat pressed. Plywood is essentially thin veneer sheets that have been glued together.
Uniform and smooth, MDF has no visible surface knots and grains. Since veneer layers are stacked together, with wood grains of adjacent layers perpendicular together, the wood has a rough finish. The outer veneers are of a higher grade than the core ones.
MDF is comparatively cheaper than plywood. Plywood costs depend on the grade used and also type of wood (hard or soft) from which it is made. Higher grades are used in aesthetically looking furniture while lower grades are used in furniture backends. Their thickness decides the cost.
MDF’s consistency, ensures that the edges when cut, appear smooth and finished, without splintering. The smooth edges can facilitate decorative details, especially scalloped and scrolled designs. Although rough, plywood is strong, weather worn and used for making doors, flooring and other weight bearing furniture. Plywood also bends easily with the grain and is apt for making curved surfaces.
MDF is always available with a membrane finish. Its smoothness makes it a great base for veneer. Plywood is rough and its look is enhanced with staining or lamination.
MDF has a high density, is thick and strong, able to hold heavy weights. It is perfect for designing heavy furniture, but can sag over a prolonged period of time. Plywood too has a high density and is stiffer. Its cross graining increases dimensional stability by reducing shrinkage and expansion. The panels’ strength is therefore consistent across both directions. With odd number of veneer sheets, warping is also reduced.
Greater in strength, durable and ideal for machining, drilling and cutting without chipping or splintering. Strong, more durable, but splinters and chips when cut.
MDF is made using urea-formaldehye and phenol-formaldehyde resin which is carcinogenic in high concentration. Plywood also uses urea-formaldehyde and phenol-formaldehye in its construction, but formaldehyde-free varieties are also available.
MDF Boards are available in two options; Plain and Membrane. Plywood is available in Plain and Pre-laminated varieties.

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