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Plywood vs MDF?

Experienced Contributor

Plywood vs MDF?

These days, we have so much to choose from as far as timber goes.

Back in the day, it used to be merely MDF board, which was OK, unless it got wet and it would swell up and twist and ruin anything

you made out of it.

Moving forward a number of years, we now have plywood, it is kiln-dried, you can get it in any size you like from 8mm up to 19mm

should you need that thickness and in sheet sizes from 1200 x 1200 up to 2400mm x 1200mm.

Do you folks use MDF?, sure it's OK for stuff inside the house, but for a garage/workshop?

What are your thoughts, either way?



Mike T.

Super Contributor

Re: Plywood vs MDF?


I always go ply these days. Extra stength and less water problems even if it takes more time to give a good finish. I am in the middle of building an art studio for the wife and will be lining it with ply. She's notorious for adding shelves and stuff to walls. Will be using 12mm and she can add anything anywhere   JDE

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Plywood vs MDF?

Hi @MikeTNZ,


It really depends on the application. MDF still has a place if you need a fine finish when constructing or painting a project. Even the higher grades of plywood carry imperfections and the lower grades can have exposed knot holes.


My father once made an entire entertainment unit out of MDF and used a clear polyurethane to finish it. It looked amazing as he had routed all the edges with curved corners. It would be difficult to do this with plywood, as you'd need to fill the end grain in. The alternative would be solid pine and joining pieces to make larger boards.


What might be the end of MDF is the newish laminated hardwood panels. With technology now allowing more of the tree to be used in laminations, we are now seeing a price associated that brings hardwood panels into the realm of general D.I.Y.. It's obvious to see from the amazing projects our community members are contributing, the panels really are a game changer.


As for the garage or workshop, plywood is still the champion in that department in my eyes, and I can't see that changing anytime soon.




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Valued Contributor

Re: Plywood vs MDF?

I look more in the plywood section now. My MDF days are almost at an end.

But wood in general seems very expensive to me these days?


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