What is MDF?
As explained by Australian MDF manufacturer, Starwood, "Medium Density Fiberboard is manufactured from refined pine and/or eucalyptus chips blended with synthetic resins to produce a versatile material prized by wood workers for its inherent qualities of strength, homogenous consistency and smooth finish which makes it easily machinable and perfect for laminating and painting.

"Medium density fiberboard is quickly gaining a reputation as being a solution to the global demand for economical building materials which can be used with the assurance that our valuable resources are being sustainably managed."

Durable, paintable, economical MDF

Frequently Asked Questions about MDF

Is MDF particle board? No. While MDF is a distant cousin to particle board it is designed for a very different purpose. MDF is much more dense and much higher quality, allowing it to be used for paint-grade products and decorative trim in ways that particle board can't be.

Is MDF durable? Yes, MDF is very durable. In fact, it is now the construction industry standard for paint-grade trim. Because it is so dense, it is highly resistant to denting, chipping and warping. It has no imperfections, no knots or impurities that alter the appearance of the product over time.

Can you paint MDF? Yes. MDF is the material of choice for mantels to be painted. Its smooth finish allows paint to adhere successfully and the fact that it has high resin content keeps it from expanding and contracting in high-humidity environments like some natural woods will. This product stability decreases the likelihood of cracking and chipping in paint.

Do you have to paint MDF? Aside from some sort of creative design, you probably will want to paint your MDF mantel or surround to protect it and give it a finished look.

Can you stain MDF? You could, but it's not advisable. Stain is generally used to bring out the beauty of wood grain and since MDF is grainless the use of stain might not be the best route to take.

Can you sand MDF? Yes, you can sand it with normal sandpaper, but you won't need to sand Legacy Mantels products before painting. Our products ship fully sanded.

Does MDF have a grain to it? No, MDF is a grainless wood product. As you can see in the picture above, MDF is a light to medium tan color and is uniform in texture.

Even though I'm painting my surround, wouldn't poplar or oak be a better choice for quality? Not really. MDF works and looks every bit as good as poplar or oak for paint applications. Save yourself the money and get the MDF. If you intend to paint part of the surround while leaving other parts natural, then we'd advise choosing one of our natural wood products.