MDF Vs Marine Grade plywood - lceted -lceted LCETED INSTITUTE FOR CIVIL ENGINEERS

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Mar 4, 2022

MDF Vs Marine Grade plywood - lceted

In this article, we explained the differences between MDF and marine plywood, not only in quality and properties but also in cost. This article compares these two types of plywood. 





Marine-grade plywood


'MDF' refers to medium density fiberboard and it is different from plywood.

Marine plywood is top-quality plywood used in outdoor/exterior applications.

Made up of

MDF is made from very small particles of wood fibres bonded together with resin under heat and pressure

Plywood is made by glueing / bonding multi-layer wood veneers (thin pieces/layers of wood) to each other.


MDF is used in the making of furniture and panelling for homes and offices.

It is commonly used application of marine plywood, where it is exposed to water for a long time. It is a good choice for marine applications, such as all woodwork needed to build ships and boats.


MDF has a better finish than marine ply. Most of the time it's pre-laminated with a decorative surface at the time of its manufacture.


MDF looks better, but Marine grade plywood is basically meant for exterior applications such as boat-building, and not for building showy furniture.


These boards do not have knots or rings on the surface, since they are made from wood fibres.

Plywood is made from slices of wood and hence can have knots. This aspect is however controlled at the time of making plywood so that the plywood surfaces do not have any noticeable defects.


The most commonly used resin for making MDF is Urea Formaldehyde. (This is also the glue used in making Commercial MR grade plywood).

The adhesive used in making Marine plywood is unextended phenolic resin (phenol-formaldehyde), which is a synthetic plastic resin. Unextended basically means undiluted.

Codebook for reference

The quality standards for MDF boards are specified in Indian Standards document IS:12406 (for plain MDF boards), and IS:14587 (for pre-laminated MDF boards)

The Indian Standards for Marine ply are detailed in BIS document IS:710




Is MDF plywood waterproof?


Is MDF board stronger than plywood?

No, compared to plywood.

Is MDF board costlier than plywood?

Yes, compared to MR ply (Comparatively). It’s cheaper when its compared to marine ply

Also Read: Woodworking Materials Guide for Beginners! | Woodworking Handbook

Also Read: BWR VS BWP Grade Plywood | Difference Between Bwp & Bwr Plywood | Lceted

Also Read: BWR Grade Vs Mr Grade Plywood | Difference Between Bwr & Mr Plywood

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