What is MDF and chipboard and what is the best material for the kitchen

What is MDF and chipboard and what is the best material for the kitchen

What is MDF and chipboard and what is the best material for the kitchen

No matter how beautiful the kitchen furniture is, it does not hurt to ask what it's made of. It depends on the starting material that depends on the service life, ecological compatibility, operational properties. Sometimes a curious customer does not say anything, which is quite normal: a person wants to buy good furniture, but he does not know how the furniture maker does not understand aircraft engines, Lobachevsky geometry, prêt-à-porter and shrimp. We clarify the questions, what is it - MDF, chipboard, chipboard, and what materials differ from each other.

What is chipboard?

To begin with, the abbreviation of the CPD is unofficial and incorrect. Under DSP understand the wood-laminated plastic (similar to the plywood in the structure, made of veneer). In our case, we are talking about DSTP - wood chipboard, made of small waste (chips, sawdust) of woodworking production. We use the usual definition of chipboard (chipboard), but to avoid misleading anyone, they gave this information.

When the inventor from Germany Max Himmelheber developed a new material, the production waste of the furniture industry reached 60%, and with the introduction of the invention their number fell sharply to 10%. Caring for the consumer was not the goal of innovation - saving required production and ecology (60% of wood for emission - impermissible extravagance, not peculiar to the Germans). Furniture, at a price affordable to everyone - a secondary advantage.

The chipboard is a composite material made from a mixture of fine wood particles and binder resins (containing formaldehyde) by hot pressing or extrusion. The percentage of wood and resin leaves much to be desired (6-18%).



In the water, the plate swells, gaining about 30% of the original volume. In addition to hydrophobia, there is another significant disadvantage - you can only screw the screw into the plate once (the first one). Doing this is desirable with jewelry precision, since there is no chance of correcting the error - the material crumbles, it basically does not hold fasteners in principle. The craftsmen "put" nails on the glue, but then these nails "come out" from the plate together with the glue and the surrounding sawdust (crumbs). However, these are all flowers: EAF is environmentally unsafe, since it releases formaldehyde.

screws M5

The child hung on the door ... in these holes screws no longer screwed, you have to expand the holes under the futurki and use screws M5

According to the maximum permissible standards for the release of harmful substances, EAF is divided into two classes - E1 and E2 (Europe). In Russia this parameter is regulated by GOST. It is extremely difficult to compare standards, because different methods of measurement exist in different countries. One thing is for sure - E2 is banned for use in children's furniture. Some countries have long ago removed it from production, which would be desirable from Russia: formaldehyde stands out with human joy, if the chipboard is slightly warmed up, which in the kitchen is very often. By the way, GOST is more strict than European ones, but who would have followed it.

Wood-particle board is used in construction and furniture production. If thanks to GKL, GVL and OSB, the use of chipboard as a structural material is actively reduced, then the furniture makers are not in a hurry to part with the cheap stove, although there is an alternative (though more expensive). The fault is obviously demand. People want to buy as cheap as possible, manufacturers go to meet them. If people refuse furniture from the EAF (they will refuse completely - from the chipboard too), they will not do it.


Kitchen from chipboard

Classification of particle board

The particle board is classified according to a number of parameters:

  • number of layers;
  • brand: subdivided into P1, P2 in strength for bending and deformation, water resistance, warping;
  • grade: 1st and 2nd grade or without it, depending on the presence of defects - chips, cracks, spots, depressions and protrusions;
  • outer layer (finely structured, plain, coarse-grained slab);
  • Surface treatment (ground, not polished);
  • class emission of formaldehyde (E1 - < 10 мг, Е2 — 10–30 мг; в последнее время выпускают плиты класса E0.5, эмиссия в них снижена вдвое относительно E1);
  • water resistance (produce a special water-resistant chipboard, in addition to P1 with 33% and P2 with 22% swelling from the original volume);
  • fire resistance (flame retardant treatment);
  • density: < 550 кг/м3, 550-750 kg / m3, > 750 kg / m3;
  • method of pressing (flat, extrusion).
waterproof chipboard

Waterproof chipboard (different in color)

What is chipboard?

The surface of the chipboard is processed to give the material strength, water resistance and other properties provided by the coating. The cheapest, but flimsy option is paper with impregnation. The strongest, but expensive option - veneer. Between the two extremes are located polymers, films, plastics. The most demanded laminated wood chipboard - as the most balanced in quality, price, aesthetic properties.



In conditions of high pressure and temperature, a stable melamine film is applied to the plate - the process resembles the familiar lamination (the difference is only in the materials). The cooked plate thus acquires a high aesthetic and operational properties. Further processing is not required - by lamination a finished product is obtained, but sometimes the surface is additionally varnished (expensive varieties).


The problem of formaldehyde emission remains in its place (producing the material from chipboard with all its characteristics), despite lamination, but the outer surface of the chipboard is more aesthetic, waterproof and durable, especially if it is varnished.

What is MDF

MDF, MDF - MediumDensityFibreboard (medium density fibreboard 600-800 kg / m3). The same plate made of wood particles, produced by the method of dry pressing under high pressure and temperature conditions. As a binder used carbamide resins containing formaldehyde, but the emission of harmful substances is much lower than that of the EAF, and comparable to the same characteristic of natural wood. A significant reduction in emissions is achieved by modifying the resins with melamine.



Production of urea resins for MDF

The resin is produced in several stages:

  • polycondensation in alkaline medium;
  • polycondensation in acid medium;
  • additional carbamide input and drying until the required viscosity is reached;
  • cooling;
  • modification.

Synthesis requires compliance with the temperature regime - 88-94 °. Modify the resin at a temperature of 40-50 °.

Despite the same raw materials, MDF is very different from EAF (without taking into account the difference in emission values): the material can be milled and deformed, which opens the possibility of manufacturing carved furniture facades, furniture and other structures of radial shapes.

milled part

Milled part

Types of MDF

MDF is divided into four types by operating conditions (humidity, temperature). The first type is used for the production of office, home cabinet furniture and commercial equipment (normal conditions), the second one for kitchen furniture (humidity, steam), the third for structural elements (normal conditions, high load), the fourth for structural elements (high humidity, high loads ).

In the process of production of plates they are given refractoriness, water resistance, biostability (protection from fungi, bacteria). MDF requires additional processing of the front surface. By the type of this treatment the material is divided into:

  1. Veneered: on the front (sometimes internal) surface is glued thin natural veneer; this is an expensive kind, and the price varies depending on the value of the wood species that went to the veneer.
  2. Painted: surfaces (one and both) are covered with paint or enamel
  3. Laminated: the front side is covered with PVC film - matte or glossy, imitating various surfaces (wood, natural stone, marble, etc.); the film is applied under pressure at a high temperature.

Surface treatment increases the physical and mechanical characteristics of the material, its operational and aesthetic properties.

glossy plate

Painted glossy plate - samples of some shades and bends

All kinds of MDF are in demand equally - each has its own niche. The material with the front surface of natural veneer goes for the production of good office furniture and trade equipment, furniture for kitchens, living rooms, hallways. The cheaper, laminated film imitating wood, finds application in the production of the already listed, but relatively inexpensive furniture of the mass market class.

Flexible MDF

The material was developed specifically to create curved surfaces that are actively used in modern design. MDF can be milled - this is the quality used in the manufacture of flexible boards: on one side, parallel slots are made, whereby the panel can be bent to a certain radius (depending on the thickness); the other side remains flat. Thus, surfaces of varying complexity are obtained - from the banal circle to the wave-like one with different radii of each wave. They call this MDF perforated (not to be confused with perforated HDF). The material opens almost limitless possibilities in furniture design.


None of the flat facade - all with a particular radius

Differences of chipboard, chipboard and MDF

In the same IKEA, we see furniture from chipboard and MDF, visually perceiving only the difference in price (except for particularly glossy - there and on the differences are obvious). Furniture from MDF is much more expensive. Why? What is the difference between chipboard, chipboard and MDF - one plate of wood particles from the other?

To begin with, the difference between chipboard and chipboard is lamination. The natural veneer is not worse than the laminating film, but it is not practical to process the chipboard, so that we will discuss the difference between chipboard and MDF.

The list of differences:

  1. The chipboard is much less resistant to moisture. It would seem that the water has nowhere to go, but between the edge and the laminating film, the liquid finds (as it is said in the proverb) a microscopic gap and penetrates inside. Inside it remains (for the rapid evaporation of the area, but it is not), cutting the chipboard to unimaginable dimensions. However, long before the collection of extra 20-30% in volume, the sheet will be warped, film or veneer (whatever it is) is cracked. Some drops of water, fallen into an unsuccessful place, can irreversibly distort the countertop. Even the so-called waterproof material still absorbs moisture - that's its structure.
  2. The chipboard is more toxic. It is more toxic, because the information on the complete non-toxicity of the fibreboard is wrong: even if the material releases as much formaldehyde as natural wood, this does not mean that there is no emission at all. It is, but much lower. It happens that they write that there is no formaldehyde in the MDF - it's not true (moreover, formaldehyde is everywhere: it is used in medicine, food industry as E240, used for fumigation of grain, the substance is part of cosmetics, is contained in the human body - the issue of concentration ). Wood fibers are impregnated with carbamide resins containing formaldehyde. Modification helps to reduce emissions.
  3. MDF is suitable for the manufacture of furniture of complex shape, which is impossible from chipboard.
  4. MDF has a higher density - you can milled, make sloping holes. Material is not in an example better "holds" the fasteners.
  5. In color solutions, there is practically no difference, except for glossy MDF (but this is not color) and custom-made - the enamel can be tinted in any shade that comes to mind, so here, too, MDF wins.
  6. MDF is much more expensive, which is due to the quality parameters of the material. However, this expensiveness is apparent, which is understandable to anyone who can count a person: even on rough estimates, furniture from MDF will eventually be cheaper, because it will last much longer.

No edge - the whole plate is covered with a single layer, which eliminates the cracks between the film and the edge

Chipboard or MDF? MDF loses to the chipboard only in price, but this can not be significant if you take into account all the advantages. Purchasing furniture, the decision is made by the buyer, we can only advise you to make a measured choice.

No matter how much you want to save, it's better to give preference to high-quality material - environmentally safe, which is really important, because the kitchen often has a high temperature, and the formaldehyde emission rises from heat (we do not understand why E2 is prohibited only in the production of children's furniture - in the kitchen type of products is even more harmful). Again, the savings in choosing furniture from the chipboard are ghostly. Again, aesthetic properties matter.

facade made of MDF

Carved facades from MDF

Kitchens from MDF

The ability to bend the panel turns the utilitarian standard kitchens into spaces that are not devoid of individuality and more appropriate to their owners. This is especially important when the kitchen is small: there is no possibility to play on the arrangement of furniture, the introduction of original parts - there is only a form, and MDF provides its variability.

These curved facades do not work at all. The doors are made of perforated MDF - the usual kitchen with standard furniture layout looks extraordinary thanks to the rounded cabinets. And this is the simplest option possible.

What is in this kitchen in the photo made of wood? It is likely that nothing. Even a log can turn out to be plastic (or from a polystone that perfectly imitates any natural materials). The floor, the ceiling and the furniture facades (we remind you that the material can be milled) are made of MDF.

And here's a great country. To keep glass (especially stained glass) will be able either natural wood, or MDF - chipboard crumbles a little faster than instantly. Working with MDF, the master is freed from endless trials in the search for that unique hue (LMC, lying on a natural tree, changes color in accordance with the tone and texture of the base), and the customer - from exorbitant waste.


White carved facades - you can make them from an array, painting and thus destroying the texture of wood, or you can not blaspheme, preferring MDF.

How good are the floral ornaments on the furniture facades, we do not judge (it's a matter of taste), but it's almost impossible to depict something like this on the chipboard: the condom will look like the chipboard is processed at the production stage, and the MDF is after, in addition, that extends the designers' capabilities to practically boundless.


From MDF you can do almost any kitchen (almost - because there is also a stainless steel) - realize a bold idea, create something truly original and enjoy the result daily. Better can be just an array (and even then not always). In our opinion, only an acute shortage of funds and an equally acute need for furniture can be driven into the framework of the chipboard. But this decision will be temporary (the furniture is quickly peeled off). Make the right choice.

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