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Particle board vs. MDF

By Abhijit Phadke


Particle board and MDF furniture is seen everywhere these days, in the ready made furniture shops and in the homes of many people. In this article we will compare the similarities and differences between these two types of engineered boards and take a look at their finer points in the process.


Particle boards MDF
Particle boards are made from small particles of wood (sawdust). Wood particles are mixed with glue such as Urea formaldehyde resin or phenolic resin and the mixture is firmly compressed by pressing under heat and pressure. The acronym MDF means Medium density fibre boards. These are made from wood fibres (very small particles of wood). These wood fibres are mixed with glue and go through a hot-press machine which compresses the mixture and forms a board.
The density of particle boards is lesser. MDF boards have a higher density, and are hence stronger. There are yet another kind of boards known as HDF (High density fibre boards, that are extremely dense and strong.
Particle boards are very light-weight. MDF boards are heavier in weight than particle boards.
Used for making ready made furniture. Used for making better quality ready made furniture, and also for custom-made requirements such as for making wardrobe doors and for the shutters of kitchen cabinets.
Does not take nails. This is because particle boards have very less nail-holding strength. Hence screws have to be used to make all the fittings in particle board furniture. Similar to particle boards, MDF boards are also not nailed. Screws are used instead.
Particle boards are much weaker in strength compared to plywood. Weaker compared to plywood, yet these are better than particle boards.
Cheaper compared to MDF boards. MDF boards are stronger, and hence costlier.
These are manufactured as plain particle boards as well as come in the prelaminated variety. MDF boards also are available as plain or prelaminated. Most of the MDF furniture that we see in furniture showrooms is made from prelaminated MDF boards.
The Indian Standards quality specification for Particle boards is given in document IS:3087 and IS:12823 The Indian Standards quality specification for MDF is prescribed in document IS:12406 and IS:14857