The two most commonly used boards are chipboard and MDF (or Supawood). However how do we know which one to use in which situations and what is the build quality going to be using these different products.
When looking at the price of furniture pieces it is important to note that the higher the price, generally the more expensive the materials cost to manufacture the item. And alternatively, the lower the price the cheaper the material cost.
So what is chipboard?
It is a man made material which is manufactured from pressing wood chips together and binding them with a synthetic resin.
Chipboard (particle board) does not like water, and if used in an area where it will either get wet or there is high humidity, the chances that it will warp and deform are great. Another major problem with particle board is the connection joints. Because particle board is a low density board, screws strip more easily.
The other alternative is MDF also known as medium density fiberboard, which is more expensive than particle board, but it has many advantages over chipboard. MDF is still cheaper than the solid woods, and for this reason is popular in the manufacturing process. With Medium density fiberboard it can be beveled, chamfered and shaped into more complex and interesting components. Medium density fiberboard is stronger than chipboard because the board has a higher density. The connection joints with Medium density fiberboard are more likely to hold then with chipboard. Medium density fiberboard also has a much smoother surface than particle board which allows for a better finish.
When it comes to the finish on both types of board, it is a good idea to use a wood sealant before painting. Wood by nature is an absorbent material and for this reason large amount of paint need to be applied in order to get an equal finish. The wood sealant helps in reducing the amount that is absorbed.
How to choose between MDF and Chipboard?
While Medium density fiberboard has many advantages over particle board, the main factor is the price of an item. And this always determines what type of board we use for what application. Generally for retail spaces we will insists that customers pay a bit more to receive an item that will last much longer. Ultimately using Chipboard or MDF is always up how much the client is willing to spend.