The Differences between MDRF and Solid Wood Products

If you don’t want the challenges of solid wood painted doors in your kitchen, MDRF is a great alternative to consider. There are many people who incorrectly view MDF as a cheap substitute for those who don’t want the expense of painting solid wood kitchen doors and drawers. Here at Meridian Products, we challenge that belief and hope to demonstrate why, in many cases, solid wood painted doors might not be the best selection for every kitchen.

So, let’s start with a common question of “What is MDRF?” Medium-Density Refined Fiberboard (MDRF) — a composite wood — is a top-grade, combined material which gives a superior performance than solid wood in numerous areas. It is made from cast-off wood fibers and resin, then dried and pressed for the desired production thickness. Another popular benefit is that MDRF is built from recycled materials, so it typically qualifies as being “green.”

In this blog, we identify the pros and cons of MDRF products:

Pros of MDRF:

  • MDRF is environmentally friendly since 100% of the material is recycled, created by a process of using sawdust from scrap material — which ultimately saves a significant number of trees
  • No paint cracks at the framing joints, since there are no joints with MDRF
  • No grain showing through the paint (depending on your millage of primer and paint, grain can be viewed through the finish)
  • Moisture resistant. Solid wood products will expand/contract when exposed to moisture, but MDRF products can be completely sealed off from exterior moisture.
  • It is more cost-efficient
  • Will warp less long-term, compared to solid wood products
  • Shaping MDRF is easier than shaping solid wood, making it easier to accomplish elaborate designs and profiles

Cons of MDRF:

  • If your preference is to see natural grain showing through the paint, MDRF would not be a good option
  • Some MDRF consists of Urea-Formaldehyde. Our material does have some but meets CARB 2 requirements
  • MDRF absorbs moisture quicker than wood and will swell if cracks or cuts penetrate through the paint and primer material
  • Pilot holes should always be used while screwing into MDRF

Over the years, Meridian Products and our customers have found great success with our one- and two-piece construction doors and drawers. Our industry-leading chiseled corners and routed back have taken the product from a low cost “cheap looking” item to a product acceptable in everyone’s dream home. As we like to say “This is not your grandfather’s MDF” as the materials and production practices have greatly improved over the last decade.

Take a look at our MDRF door offerings here or contact us to see how we can help you with your next project!