Difference Between MDF and HDF

There are several types of materials available for woodworking in the market today. Two of the most lucrative options available to consumers today are MDF and HDF.


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While MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard, HDF stands for high-density fibreboard. There are several points of difference between MDF and HDF. 


The difference between MDF and HDF is that while MDF stands for medium-density fibre that is composed of wood fibres taken from residuals of softwood or hardwood, HDF stands for high-density fibre that is composed of wood fibres sourced from pulpwood wastage. MDF is a more budget-friendly woodwork option as compared to HDF. 


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MDF is a relatively light and versatile wood that is in common use today. There are several practical applications of MDF.

The most prominent uses of MDF are in school projects precisely because it is flexible and furniture such as cabinets because it offers a strong surface.

However, the cutting of large quantities of MDF often results in the emission of dust particles. Thus, respirators must be worn when carrying out the cutting. 

HDF is a well-known type of engineered wood used for its durability and sturdiness. HDF has a smooth surface that makes it ideal for painting.

It is a recommended choice to build furniture for everyday use. It can also be used to create partitions and is easy to cut through.

However, the artificial composition of HDF involves the use of some fatal chemicals which may be dangerous for children.  

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMDFHDF
Cost MDF is relatively cheaper than HDF. HDF is more expensive than MDF.
Water Resistance The water-resistance of MDF is less than that of HDF. The water-resistance of HDF is more than that of MDF. 
Nature MDF is a less dense wood as compared to HDF. HDF is a lighter wood as compared to MDF. 
Advantage MDF is ideal for making furniture and decorative items. HDF is ideal for laminate flooring and making door skins. 
Disadvantage The stains on MDF are relatively long-lasting. HDF has less friction and hence, is unsuitable for holding screws

What is MDF?

MDF stands for medium-density fibreboard. MDF is an engineered wooden product. The composition of MDF involves the breakdown of softwood or hardwood residuals to form wood fibres.

Usually, the process takes place in a defibrillator wherein the fibres are combined with wax and a resin binder. Lastly, high temperature and pressure are applied to form panels. 

The production of MDF on a massive scale commenced in the 1980s. The countries wherein MDF production initially began were North America and Europe.

Various types of MDF may be classified based on colour. Some of these are the Ultralight MDF plate, a moisture-resistant plate that is usually green, and fire retardant MDF which is usually red or blue. 

There are several advantages of MDF. Firstly, MDF has a consistent size and strength. Secondly, it can be moulded into different shapes.

In addition, the dimensions offered by MDF are relatively stable because it offers less expansion and contraction as compared to natural wood.

Another merit of MDF is that it takes wood glue well and paints well. MDF is also relatively flexible. 

However, MDF comes with its drawbacks. MDF is denser as compared to plywood and chipboard. If the MDF is of inferior quality, chances are that it may swell up or break when saturation with water takes place.

Another potential disadvantage is that MDF may warp or expand if it is kept in humid environments without any wrappings or sealings. Therefore, MDF offers its respective merits and demerits to users.  

What is HDF?

HDF stands for high-density fibreboard. HDF is composed of exploed wood fibres that have undergone significant compression.

HDF is an engineered wood product that has several practical applications in households as well as construction purposes.

The composition of HDF makes it relatively harder and denser than plywood and medium-density fibreboard. 

The process involved in the composition of HDF may be wet or dry. In the wet procedure, there is one smooth side and one textured side.

On the other hand, the dry process has smooth sides only. HDF has a homogenous nature. It has no grains, unlike solid wood. HDF has a prominent use as a substrate. 

Other practical applications of HDF include its use in furniture, cabinetry, home appliances, automobiles, flooring, and construction.

In addition, HDF is a well-known wood choice among acrylic painters and oil painters. This is because HDF offers a long-lasting painting surface at an economical price. The surface material of many clipboards is made out of HDF. 

HDF has a prominent use in the manufacturing of game boards, puzzles, and other toys. Finally, HDF is also used as the finishing layer in the half-pipe and many skateboard ramps.

However, over the years, the use of HDF has significantly declined in the construction industry. This is primarily because of the emergence of new environmental targets which emphasized sustainability.

Nonetheless, HDF continues to remain a popular woodwork.  

Main Differences Between MDF and HDF 

  1. MDF has shorter durability as compared to HDF. 
  2. MDF is less resistant to water as compared to HDF. Although HDF is not completely water-resistant, it shows more tolerance as compared to MDF. 
  3. While MDF is composed of softwood or hardwood residuals, HDF is composed of pulpwood wastage. 
  4. MDF is less sturdy as compared to HDF. While MDF is between 600 and 800 kg in density, the density of HDF usually surpasses 800 kg.
  5. While MDF is an ideal option for speaker exterior, flooring material, and cheating showpiece, HDF is an ideal material for used furniture and door skin.  
Difference Between MDF and HDF
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium-density_fibreboard 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardboard 
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