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Using MDF on an enclosed porch?

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Forum topic by LearningAsIGo posted 06-21-2011 12:55 PM 1796 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LearningAsIGo

38 posts in 1325 days


06-21-2011 12:55 PM

I’m planning on creating shaker style wainscoting for my porch and was thinking about using MDF because it would be cheaper than real wood and I will be painting it anyway. The porch is enclosed and basically another room in the house but it does not have heat or air conditioning and I do live in New England. The walls are insulated but the ceiling and floor are not. I hope to insulate the ceiling at some point.

Does MDF not tolerate cold or heat well or do you just have to worry about swelling if it comes in contact with water?


7 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1539 days


#1 posted 06-21-2011 03:28 PM

My view is that your site would be considered exterior inasmuch as there’s no heat. It’s the edges of MDF that absorb moisture easily, and I have a hunch that in a few years you’d regret the decision.

Consider an exterior ply with a sanded face if you want to go to sheet goods.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2907 days


#2 posted 06-21-2011 03:30 PM

I agree with Lee. A few dollars saved now will leave you kicking yourself later.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Loren's profile

Loren

7734 posts in 2337 days


#3 posted 06-21-2011 06:01 PM

My first reaction would be a no on the MDF in an exterior application
but then I remembered it is sold as a profiled siding material and
has been for many years.

If I were you I’d research the durability of the siding and ask
yourself if you want to take a chance.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1959 days


#4 posted 06-21-2011 06:12 PM

MDF does not tolerate moisture – it will swell and turn into mush….exterior ply or OSB would be a better choice….Another way to go is to use pine or Douglas Fir as it is cheap (or any other cheap wood would work as being painted can give it enough protection from the elements) and when painted can be fairly tolerant of the moisture ….White Oak, Redwood or Cedar are typically the go to outdoor woods.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3498 posts in 2649 days


#5 posted 06-21-2011 10:15 PM

There is an exterior grade MDF that will work just fine. Look it up on the net. I have it on the exterior columns on my home. As long as it is not submerged…....
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1539 days


#6 posted 06-22-2011 01:10 AM

I had forgotten about the exterior MDF too, Loren. A friend put a hunk in water and it was there a couple weeks and did not even change shape. 3/4” thick.

And that’s all I know!

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1959 days


#7 posted 06-22-2011 01:38 AM

I have heard of an exterior grade MDF, but have only seen it made into siding (expensive yet looks cheap…and tacky) I imagine they would have a bonding agent that is waterproof….and hopefully UV proof also. I do not know the price of it….but I still think you would be better served by an exterior solid wood…like plywood or such….because even if the binding agent is waterproof…the wood particles are not…sooner or later it will break down….but that is more a personal preference….I am not a big fan of MDF…I pretty much only use it for jigs.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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