not exactly a woodworking question, but...

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Forum topic by jerkylips posted 07-01-2011 06:22 PM 1230 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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273 posts in 1989 days

07-01-2011 06:22 PM

I’m slowly getting the garage organized. I purchased a shelving system that hangs on the wall & has a lot of adjustability, so now I just need to get some material for the shelves & I’m set. This is an unheated garage, & I’m concerned about getting something like a particle board / mdf because I’ve seen what that stuff can look like after a couple years in unconditioned spaces – swelled up, breaking apart, etc. I was going to use plywood, but then the lovely wife commented that she’d really like for the shelving to look ‘nice’ & asked if I could get something white. It got me thinking, if I’m painting it anyway, is there any type of primer/paint I can use on particle board/mdf to seal out moisture & make it more acceptable for an unheated garage? Or should I just stick with the plywood plan?

5 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


15458 posts in 2425 days

#1 posted 07-01-2011 06:25 PM

I think that most primers will do a pretty good job sealing the mdf. I wouldnt call it permanent ot totally sealed but it should work for you. You could also try using MDO, medium density overlayment, hwich is made for exterior applications.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3637 days

#2 posted 07-01-2011 07:11 PM

I think a good coat of paint would mostly solve the moisture problem, but I’d still be worried about sagging over time. I’d stick with plywood or solid wood if I were you.

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

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2112 days

#3 posted 07-01-2011 07:25 PM

You could always edge-band plywood and get the best of both worlds. As long as the humidity in your shop is well controlled and the shelves are properly supported, I don’t think thick MDF is a bad choice; it’s a bit heavy itsself, though. Hard to beat 3/4” ply for stability and price, though.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TechRedneck's profile


763 posts in 2275 days

#4 posted 07-01-2011 11:39 PM

Al had a good idea.. You could put an edge on the shelf and paint. I use 3/4 ply all over the garage, shelving, shop cabinets. I put a coat of paint on them and never had a problem. I bought some shelving with particle board shelves and if left unpainted, they WILL eventually sag, mold and flake apart.

Painted CDX should work fine and not cost much. Be sure to use pressure treated lumber where it touches the floor or block walls or paint with something like Kills or an enamel paint.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2579 days

#5 posted 07-02-2011 05:53 AM

+1 what Charlie said. I have to disagree with Al(sorry Al, really). A garage is no place for mdf. A garage is difficult to control humidity. Plywood is my recommendation. You’ll have many grades to choose from to target your wife’s desired result. And as Al mentioned, edge-banding would be appropriate. I’m talking 1/4” or 1/8” banding, not the iron-on stuff that comes in a roll.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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