When we consider buying new furniture, there are several things we need to keep in mind. The space we have and the decor we are working with, the functionality we need, and the quality.
The quality of the supplies and material that make up the furniture we purchase is going to differ depending on our needs. We might not buy the same quality of furniture to furnish a dorm room as we would our home office.
Furniture is usually made of one of three main materials: MDF, plywood, and particle board. Let’s take a look at how these stack up against each other.
Which is stronger MDF, plywood, or particle board?
It might surprise some people to learn that yes, plywood is stronger than particle board and can better resist shearing or bending. And there are several reasons why some furniture makers decide to use plywood over particle board .
Particle board is a waste-wood product, in that it uses the byproduct from wood working. Essentially, particle board is made from taking sawdust and compressing it with resin adhesives to make sheets of workable material.
When it comes to deciding between plywood vs. particle board, again it comes down to quality. Particle board is easy to work with and inexpensive, it is great on lower end projects, and it can be fancied up with some veneer and a thin laminate. It is best used flat because bending it and shaping it will likely crack or snap it. Plywood is more resistant to shearing, bending or weight load forces.
MDF vs particle board
MDF, or Medium Density Fiberboard, is stronger and denser than particle board. It is also a waste-wood material, and it’s comprised of wood fibers rather than sawdust. While more elegant and heavier, it depends on the project to determine whether or not you need the quality that comes with MDF.
MDF is also easier to paint with a nicer outcome, however it is more likely to deteriorate if it’s exposed to water and moist conditions.
Is MDF furniture toxic?
While MDF had its heyday, people began to be suspicious after bringing furniture made of this material into their homes and noticing toxic smells stemming from their new furniture. MDF-made furniture can off-gas and release toxic fumes, creating high levels of toxicity in small enclosed spaces and potentially causing health hazards.
The same is true when working with MDF. When you work with the product and cut into it, the dust you release also contains this formaldehyde — the same stuff used for embalming. So that’s not great. If you are working with MDF, it is very important to have proper ventilation in the shop and to wear a mask.
While there are safety standards about how much toxic chemicals MDF can contain, it’s still something to consider when furniture shopping.
There are many different materials that offer a range in options for furniture. For better or worse, low quality, inexpensive furniture has flooded our world, and while it is accessible, it is also basically disposable. There is a reason why old quality furniture made from plywood is still around today.
We think that furniture should be an investment, and made from natural saw cut wood and plywood rather than MDF or Particle Board. That is why all our Cabinet Beds are made from Birch plywood. By spending more now, you save in the long run! If you are considering buying new furniture, do some research and explore your options so that you end up with exactly what is right for you.