Deciding to use plywood or MDF for certain jobs seems like a tough choice, but it really isn’t if you stop to think about the strengths and weaknesses of each. Lets have a look at them so you can decide which one you might prefer to use.
One benefit to using MDF is that you won’t spend as much money on it as you would plywood. The downside is that it tends to not be as hard and it has the tendency to sag when a lot of weight is put on it.
MDF really isn’t designed to deal with moisture very good. This means that where you use it will be limited. It works best indoors.
MDF has a finish that’s very smooth. This means that it can be painted and it also means its good for shaping or routing.
Plywood is much harder than MDF, which means it won’t be nearly as easy to damage.
With plywood severe cold doesn’t cause any problems that might impact the dimensions or the strength.
Plywood has cross graining,, which means that it doesn’t have the tendency to split when it’s nailed at the edges.
Plywood does tend to be a bit more poruous then MDF, which means that over time it can be damaged if constantly esposed to water.
So which one is better in the long run? I would say that so much of this is going to come down to what you plan to use it for. Plywood might work best in one situation, but might pose problems in another. MDF might be good for certain projects, but not be good for others. Depending on the complexity of the job you’re doing you might want to consult with a professional first for some advice just to be sure you make the right choice.
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