Difference between MDF Boards and Particle Boards

Are you looking for the right material for your space renovation? Are you getting confused about which material should be used where? Because there’re several options available in the market such as hardboard, plywood, MDF board, particle board, block board etc. These panel boards are used for home and office interior décor and furniture making which makes them an option worth exploring.

Both MDF board and particle board, provide a similar applications and are most affordable but strong.

Most of the manufacturers suggest both for all purposes, you may be looking at both the products on site and asking “What is the difference between MDF and particle board?” Hence, here we will discuss the different grades of both engineered wood composite that will help you to make the correct choice.

MDF and Particle Boards Difference

MDF Vs Particle Board- What is the Difference?

(1) Material:

Particle Board - It is an engineered wood product made of waste-wood materials like wood chips, sawdust and wood shavings.

MDF – Medium-density fibreboard, is a type of engineered wood composite made up of wood fibres that will mix with resin binders and wax.

(2) Manufacturing Process

Particle Board - The waste-wood materials are mixed using glue such as urea-formaldehyde resin and phenolic resin and these are formerly compressed under heat and high pressure to form particle board.

MDF - To make an MDF board, the wood fibres are converted into fine grains by deliberation process and then these are combined with resin binder and wax to form MDF panels by applying high temperature and pressure.

(3) Properties of Both Particle Board and MDF

  • (a) Appearance
  • Particle Board - The surface of the particle board is usually rough and porous due to the size and nature of its particles. This board can be laminated such as veneers, resin-impregnated décor paper or thermoplastic foils to obtain a smoother surface.

    MDF - MDF board won’t have voids or splinters, it provides a smooth finish due to its dimensional stability makes it a go-to material for any type of finish. MDF is easy to paint and polish because of its smooth surface.

    Warping and Cracking

    Particle Board - Generally, particle board has low resistance to warping and cracking but you can improve its resistance by coating it with primer, which helps to increase its strength up to some extent.

    MDF - MDF board is a high-grade, composite material. It is processed in such a way that forms a strong stable MDF sheet and because of that process, MDF becomes more resistant to warping and cracking compared to particle board.

  • (b) Moisture Resistance
  • Particle Board - This board is less-resistant to moisture, it usually experiences swelling and cracking also, in extreme conditions it gets discoloured. As the particle board is made from uniform size wood waste material, it has more void spaces thus, the board soaks up water easily and became susceptible to damage in presence of moisture.

    MDF - It is more resistant to moisture, as MDF board is made from fine fibres and uniform surface which left no voids in it hence, it becomes more moisture-resistant. Also HDFWR grade MDF boards have additives which are resistant to moisture.

  • (c) Weight
  • Particle Board - As it is composed of wood shavings, wood chips and sawdust which have very less weight so, particle boards are light in weight as compared to MDF.

    MDF - Medium-density fibreboard is denser and stronger as it’s comprised of wood fibres rather than sawdust which makes it more elegant and heavier. MDF boards have higher density than particle board.

  • (d) Load Carrying Capacity
  • Particle Board – The inherent strength of particle board is low, it does not really have a wood grain structure which as result makes it less bearable when a heavy load is applied. It can split and buckle when the weight is too heavy. The particle board is low on strength.

    MDF - Medium-density fibreboard can support substantial loads, the design of MDF is compact, dense and homogenous compared to particle board which makes it more durable to carry loads easily.

(4) Life Expectancy

Particle Board - This board has a shorter lifespan compared to MDF, this product will last around 2-3 years under light to normal use. With extreme conditions, particle board is susceptible to damage and wear.

MDF - This board is extremely durable, MDF board will last significantly longer than particle board. Due to its moisture-resistant property MDF board can last around 10 years. The MDF board will likely show no sign of damage as it doesn’t deteriorate over time.

(5) Cost

Particle Board - As the particle board is constructed with wood by-products like sawdust and with resin adhesives; it became a fairly easy material to work with and was primarily used to make cheaper furniture pieces, doors and cabinets. The particle board is used on lower-end projects hence; it is cheaper as compared to MDF board.

MDF - Medium-density fibreboard is made of fine wood fibres to make shelves, cabinets, furniture, and floors and it is less prone to wear and tear. It can easily paint and can cut to the desired shape and size. Also, it is stronger than particle board. All these qualities make bit costlier as compared to particle board but it’s economical for your budget.

(6) Uses

Particle Board

  • It is used as a wall partition, as a particle board has thermal and sound insulation properties.
  • Particle board is used to make lightweight furniture such as shoe racks, computer tables, television cabinets, bookshelves, wardrobes, etc.
  • There are several uses of particle board on a commercial scale as well like it is used in speaker boxes, sewing machine tops, display boards and automobile parts.
  • By laminating particle boards, their durability can be increased, and they can be used as underlayment and shutter for various storage units.
  • Particle board has a good screw-holding capacity which is why particle board is recommended for making furniture which is connected by screws.


  • As MDF board is a versatile material that can be used to make a variety of furniture and other decorative elements like cabinet doors, shelves in storage units that can handle the load, kitchen cabinets, mouldings, etc.
  • With MDF you can add style and glam to your walls, It is used to create decorative wall cladding.
  • Because of its moisture-resistant property MDF can be used to create bathroom furniture, cabinets, shelving, etc.
  • MDF can minimize vibration as it is a dense material which is why it is a good choice to create speaker cabinets.
  • MDF is highly-durable and more resistant to warping and cracking, MDF boards can also be used to make floor panels.
  • As you can cut MDF in any shape and size, it is a great option to use as a divider for living rooms, office cabins and studio apartments.


When we consider creating a new space or buying the new one there’re several things which we need to keep in mind like, what décor we want for the space, what material we need and what will be the functionality and the quality of the product.

The quality and functionality of the material are going to be different as per the requirements. From the above comparison, you will get clarity about both particle board and MDF and depending on your needs you can choose the best-suited material as per your budget.

VIR MDF is offering a wide range of MDF boards that serve as a great alternative to solid wood and plywood. Contact VIR MDF leading MDF panel boards to get the best quality MDF at an economical price.