Talking about MDF or Medium Density Fiberboard is not something everyone is widely familiar with, especially if you aren’t into DIY and home renovations. With the kind of work that actual wood brings along in the house, people are now switching to MDFs because they are easy to handle, equally long-lasting, and come in a range of different shapes and prints.
Aside from the basic design, one thing about the MDF boards that irks people is the lack of knowledge about the correct type of glue to stick everything in place. Since the concept of MDF is pretty new and doesn’t involve a lot of popularity yet, people are still learning about the same as we go.
In this article, we will be discussing everything there is to know about the best glue for MDF and how you can use them for maximum efficiency and results.
What is MDF?
Before we delve into the different wood glue and their types, it is important we define what MDF actually is. For those who aren’t aware, MDF or medium density fiberboard is a cheaper and more durable alternative for standard wood. Not just for DIY projects, they are sustainable enough to be used for making cabinets, and other types of furniture in your home.
In standard, MDF is made with a combination of wood pieces or fibers, along with glue and resin to give it a more durable hold and look. You’d be surprised to know that despite it looking and smelling like wood, MDF is far from what the actual wood is like. This means that this composite material that consists of wood fibers is not just durable and sleek but feature uniform density so you can craft different kinds of furniture from it.
Unless you are dealing with a carpenter who has worked with only wood all their life, they will have issues dealing with MDF since the material is quite new and requires a bit of basic knowledge for them to work with it. That said, once you get used to it, working with MDF is a lot easier than you’d imagine or expect.
Compared to other wood counterparts, MDF is a lot more porous, thanks to the wood fiber alternatives in them. However, unlike wood, they are water-resistant, which means that you wouldn’t have to worry about any internal damage if you end up splashing water on them.
However, the only threat that comes to MDF is when you use the wrong wood glue. If you overdo the PVA glues or other types, chances are that it will end up damaging the exterior of the MDF board, costing you money in the process.
Sometimes, just a simple layer of PVA glue, epoxy, or resin works just fine in attaching the different parts of the MDF board depending on what you are making. Just ensure that you familiarize yourself with all the standard glue works and how long you need to keep them on before you move on to the next thing.
What are the best Glue for MDF?
Does MDF need special treatment when it comes to the adhesive you are using? Yes, that is the only thing that you need to be mindful of when you are sealing MDF joints. This is to ensure that all the wood and the titebond joints are sealed together without coming off after 24 hours. If you aren’t using the correct wood glue and not leaving the adhesive aside to mature and dry up, it will eventually end up damaging the exterior of the board and not get you the smoother and stable finish that you are looking for.
Following are the best kinds of adhesive that you can consider applying for the MDF boards:
1. Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA)
The first and likely one of the most common types of glue used for MDF is the PVA glue. Not only is it easier to work with, but it is also one of the least toxic of them all. They are available in the standard white and yellow glue variant in the market that you can get your hands on.
The best thing about PVA glue is that they are easily accessible, quite inexpensive, and not to mention that they are non-toxic too. However, if you are buying them as wood glue, get the superior variant like the Gorilla Wood Glue or the Starbond EM-40 Heavy Thin.
Although PVA glue is very easily sourced and can be used, one thing that you need to be mindful of is the amount of time you need to leave it aside. It takes 24 hours to proof, which means that once you have attached the MDF board, you need to put some pressure over it and leave the board aside for 24 hours before you think about moving it around.
However, if you are in a hurry and need to finish the project, the best glue for MDF will be yellow glue. Not only does it provide a more durable hold, but it also dries out a lot quicker too. The Elmer’s Products, Inc E7000 Carpenters Wood Glue and Titebond Franklin International 5005 II Premium Wood Glue are two of the bestselling products in that prospect.
2. Plastic Resin Glue
Next on the list of the best glue for MDF is the plastic resin glue. Not only is it one of the strongest types of wood glue and adhesive, but it is also high on the toxicity level too. So, make sure that you keep this out of reach of the children and pets.
This type of wood glue is formulated with a urea-formaldehyde combination, which can emit harmful fumes when you are working with it. So, make sure that you are always wearing gloves when working with this type of glue for the MDF board.
Plastic resin glue is ideal for the larger renovation projects that you have around your house. This includes fixing larger furniture and shelves that you want to set up in your home. One great thing about these instead of the standard Gorilla glue is that they are available in powder forms. You can pick the shade of your MDF board so that the finish comes smooth and doesn’t look that you have used any type of adhesive on it.
However, you need to be very precise with these types of glues, mainly because of the fact that they are extremely durable don’t respond well to thinners. So, once you have applied it, you will have a hard time taking it off.
If you are looking for high-quality plastic resin glue, the Dap 00203 1 Lb Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue is a good place to start with. However, if you are looking for a durable and long-lasting result, the Uniglue Universal Super Glue is a good option as well.
The last variant in the list of best glue for MDF is Epoxies. Since individuals do resin artwork on the MDF boards, it isn’t surprising that epoxies are one of the most popular types of wood glue alternatives that you can consider looking into.
The versatility of the epoxies is what makes them one of the best waterproof materials for MDF surfaces. They are available in both the fast drying and slow drying settings, enabling you to make the most out of your woodwork.
If you have a good amount of time in your hand, you can use the slow-setting epoxy and leave the board to dry for over 24 hours for the best finish. However, if you are on a time crunch, the more expensive fast-drying setting like the Starbond EM-02 Super Fast Thin can dry in under 20 minutes.
We’d always recommend choosing the slow-setting ones because they are reasonably priced and offer the same result on the surface of your projects as the fast-setting ones.
What is the Right Way to Glue MDF?
Unless you have good knowledge about MDF boards and the different types of glues and adhesives, gluing the surface of the MDF board requires good knowledge. You need to be mindful of the materials you are working with, whether they are water-based or waterproof, and also the results that you want to see on the surfaces.
- Your first step to gluing an MDF board is to check the screws, nails, and joints. You need to ensure that every material is placed in the right place and without inflicting any kinds of damage to the final result of the projects.
- Once the initial check is done, you can take the two pieces of MDF board that need to be glued and then place them together side by side. Once that is done, pour a generous amount of adhesive, be it titebond or gorilla, and then put the two pieces of MDF board together.
- Always ensure that you keep a check on the amount of glue that you are pouring on the surfaces. Too little or too much can end up damaging the MDF board and even ensure a lack of stability once the pieces have dried.
- Once you are done applying the glue on the surface of the MDF board, you can use a brush to spread it out on the surfaces of the wood in a uniform manner. Once done, you can put the pieces together and then clamp them for 30-40 minutes to let the glue harden up with the MDF board so it holds the shape. You need to be careful about not putting excess pressure on the contact point of the MDF board. This will make the adhesive push out from the sides.
1. Should you clean up the excess glue from the surface of the MDF board?
While you are gluing, pressure or not, you will find some excess glue seeping out from the side or corners of the MDF board. This is a very common phenomenon. However, what you need to ensure is that you clean up the excess glue from the sides because not only does it leave the sides looking crooked, it can also attract dirt and damage in the long run.
2. Which type of glue is ideal for MDF boards?
When talking about the best glues for MDF boards, we’d recommend using PVA adhesive for the standard and simple projects and plastic resin or epoxy glues for the bigger projects that involve fixing more heavy-duty furniture. If you want the exterior to be water-resistant, it is always best that you use water-based glues for the same. There are quite a few different variants available like Gold Leaf Adhesive Glue that you can consider using.
3. Can you use MDF glue to attach wood pieces?
The composition of MDF board and standard wood is different. So, if you are using your standard MDF glue to attach wood pieces, chances are that they won’t glue together and that is completely normal as well. However, there are a few different types of strong MDF glue that can be used on wood once you have sanded down the exterior layer for good.
4. Will Super glue work on MDF?
Super glue is known for fixing the unfixable. So, if you are trying to use it for fixing your MDF boards or attach things together, we’d recommend that you work quite fast with them since they dry out quickly. However, using just super glue can be taxing. Instead, mix the same with PVA glue to extend its drying time and also ensure more pliability when you are working with it on the MDF boards. Keep in mind that the superglue that is currently available in the market is extremely strong, so you need to work with them extremely fast before they dry out.
Applying glue to MDF boards to put them together sounds like an easy task to do, doesn’t it? However, things aren’t as easy as they seem or look. When selecting the right materials for your water-resistant MDF board, you need to ensure that the glue is of premium quality and comes with the right kind of formula to help ensure a tight bond and long-lasting durability. Not only have we mentioned some of the best types of waterproof glue variants for your MDF board, we hope this article helps serve as a basic guide when you are working with different types of MDF projects.