Using MDF vs. real wood for interior trim
melissajoymn
May 22, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I'm really torn about which way to go. It seems most builders are using MDF these days. My instincts tell me to stick with wood but not sure why. I have two preschool age boys so I want to make sure whatever I choose will be durable. Cost isn't the issue, I just want to make sure it's durable and will look nice. Please let me know what your recommendations/ insights are on this issue.

Thanks in advance.
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PRO
Rockin' Fine Finish
What's the style of trim are you looking to use ? Some styles are best in wood if all you are wanting is a flat stock use Mdf . Mdf has a good smooth surface for paint . I do recommend wood for wet areas as Mdf tends to absorb water and swell up
May 22, 2013 at 2:40pm     
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diyher
whatever you do, don't use mdf for window sills, as mentioned above, water will make it swell. We have to replace are large sill in our family room because of swelling.
May 22, 2013 at 3:02pm     
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
For crown molding MDF can slightly warp sometimes and can cause joints to become more noticeable as the house shifts and settles and humidity levels in the house rise and fall. We still use wood moldings unless a client prefers MDF or their budget dictates it. Anywhere you put a nail into MDF it also slightly "mushrooms" and even though you sand and putty the holes, it can still slightly show. Doesn't bother some people but drives me nuts.
May 22, 2013 at 3:12pm     
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PRO
Emerson Brothers, LLC. Home Remodeling
We do not recommend MDF. Some of our clients have requested it, but we have found that it dings easily, warps if it is near water or spills, you cant get a sharp cut for miter joints, and doesn't take paint very nicely. It simply looks cheap.
May 22, 2013 at 3:37pm     
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PRO
Rockin' Fine Finish
Deborah I hate it too when Mdf mushrooms . We would have to carve them out making the hole much bigger which lead to us filling the holes with wood filler and then skim coating them with bondo which took forever now we use smaller pin nailers we use more nails but the mushrooming is very minimal or none at all . We prefer to paint wood but understand the economics of using Mdf
May 22, 2013 at 4:10pm     
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melissajoymn
Thanks everyone. Just confirms for me what my gut was telling me.
May 22, 2013 at 8:43pm     
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