HOW STURDY IS MDF?

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We toured a house yesterday that used MDF as molding around the windows! This was a $700,000+ house...not expensive in some areas, but is for many. I was shocked. I would have thought they would have used mitered moldings even if they use the grade for painting...???? Guess I am just too old fashioned!
  7 answers
  • Amy Ogden-Paparone Amy Ogden-Paparone on May 18, 2014
    Regardless of how sturdy it is, I agree with you, it seems that they cut corners. I wouldn't want a house I paid $700k+ to have anything but real wood. They don't make em like they used to.
    • Redeemwood Redeemwood on May 18, 2014
      @Amy Ogden-Paparone Well... some still do! But many areas of cost need to be offset to maintain a certain cost level. Going super energy efficient as should be and as dictated by the IRC of residential building has increased costs dramatically. There is also the want of many buyers to use more sustainable products. It is hard to please everyone with everything and most builders would be happy to build and trim for you with real woods... but the cost may shock you. But then I haven't seen the house so it could be just a profit grab.... but keep an open mind.
  • MDF trim is really common. Its stable so it does not swell and move preventing the miter joints from coming apart. It can be machined easily allowing for manufactures to create designs in the trim. Do not be surprised that the crown trim turns out to be plastic or rubber. You can purchase many extra fancy cove moldings now in rolls that are simply nailed and glued into place. The cost of these alternative trims is the reason. When you start looking at some window and door trims even finger joint types can run as high as $3.00 per foot. While the MDF is about half the price. Contractors can save big $$ using a product that is hidden by paint.
    • See 6 previous
    • Z Z on May 20, 2014
      @Jeanette, I don't know about wiring now, but when we did the wiring in our home it wasn't small. That was ten years ago. We also wired all rooms with Cat5 for TVs and computers. I bet Bob from @Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com would know though.
  • Charlie Charlie on May 01, 2015
    Jeanette: The problem with pressure treated wood, is that it leaches chemicals into the soil, making it bad for the environment, plants, grass etc. And never use around a well because the chemicals will get into the well water.
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 01, 2015
      @Charlie This was not an outside application, but around windows. I know all sorts of press boards can't take moisture...that was my concern on using MDF around windows!
  • Debbie Debbie on Jun 25, 2019

    I’m looking to purchase a console table to use as a nightstand in my bedroom it is made out of MDF will this be ok, sturdy and last for a while

  • Darlene Williman Darlene Williman on Jun 25, 2019

    I have a mobile home that used MDF trim around the doors. Not good. If the MDF gets moist it will swell and flake until it falls apart. I have painted it but it still looks bad. I am saving up to replace it with regular door molding.

  • Seth Seth on Jan 27, 2021

    All good comments. To address your issue with mitered corners, farm house and craftsman style trim are all the rage right now. That style trim uses butt joints, not mitered. Some love it, some not. Much easier to install so less expensive.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jan 28, 2021

    MDF not good in any area that can get wet cause it will swell and have to be replaced.

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