MDF or medium-density fiberboard comes in a variety of lengths, widths, and thicknesses. It’s a versatile material and is used in construction, millwork, furniture making, crafts, signage, and much more! However, it’s heavier than both plywood and OSB, so if you’re wondering how much does MDF weigh, we’re here to help!
The weight of MDF depends on its dimensions, density, and other factors. The thicker the panel, the lower its density, but the more it weighs. A 4×8 sheet of 1/4” MDF weighs about 32.3 lbs, a 1/2″ panel 61.6 lbs, a 3/4″ sheet 89.2 lbs, and a 1” thick piece 116.5 lbs.
In this article, we’ll discuss factors affecting the weight of MDF, how much different thicknesses weigh and provide a handy chart comparing weight to thickness. We’ll identify how many sheets will fit in a 1/2-ton truck and compare MDF’s weight with that of plywood. Our goal is to provide you with helpful information for your next project.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- Why Is It Important to Know the Weight of MDF?
- What Factors Impact MDF Weight?
- How Much Does a Sheet of MDF Weight
- MDF Sheet Weight Chart
- MDF Weight Calculator
- Weight of MDF per Square Foot
- Is MDF Heavier Than Plywood?
- How Many Sheets of MDF Can My Truck Hold?
Why Is It Important to Know the Weight of MDF?
MDF is an engineered wood panel board made of various softwood and hardwood fibers mixed with wax and resin binders. Scrap wood and sawdust are turned into wood fibers in a defibrator machine and mixed with binding agents. The mixture is ‘poured’ into a continuous mat-forming press.
The mat passes through pre-compression to remove trapped air, then through a hot press stage that fuses the fibers together into the desired density, thickness, and profile. It is then cross-cut into the required dimensions, cooled, and conditioned before being surface and edge finished, wrapped, and shipped.
The weight of MDF usually depends on the size of the piece or finished product and the density of the material. MDF’s weight is based on their density which ranges from 37.5 to 55lb/ft³.
The greater the density, the heavier the material, which impacts its use. A 1/4″ 4×8 sheet of MDF has an average weight of 32.3 lbs, and a 3/4” panel of the same size and profile averages 89.2 lbs. Depending on the use, that’s a big weight span, so it is important to know the weight of MDF before starting a project.
MDF is commonly used where it is protected from moisture and weathering. However, there are some products that are specially formed and treated for outdoor use. Since it is manufactured from wood fibers and has no internal voids, it can be cut, drilled, routered, and shaped easily.
MDF also doesn’t expand or contract as much as solid wood. It is frequently used for cabinetry, acoustic applications, furniture, floor tiles, doors, subfloors, countertops, millwork, and decorative paneling like wainscoting, beadboard, Slatwall, and other finishes. It is easy to glue and has a smooth, solid paintable surface.
What Factors Impact MDF Weight?
The factors that affect the weight of MDF are its thickness, size, and density. Each factor has an independent impact on the weight, as well as a collective or interdependent impact. Each of the factors is explained below:
The thickness of the MDF has a direct impact on its weight as it affects the amount of material contained. The weight varies not only with thickness but between manufacturers for the same thickness of product as other factors are often at play.
1/8” thick MDF is commonly used for cabinet backing or drawer bottoms and weighs around 17.5 lbs for a 4×8 panel. A similar 1/2″ thick 4×8 sheet used for cabinet or drawer boxes weighs about 61.6 lbs. So, thickness impacts weight and use.
Different manufacturers offer various sizes of MDF panels. Standard panel widths are 48”, 49”, 60”, and 61”, while lengths are 73”, 96”, 97”, 109”, and 121”. Different sizes are available for special orders and can be 60 feet or longer. The main issue is weight, transportation, and maneuverability, so the standard sizes tend to be most common and are often offered in half or quarter-sheet sizes, or even smaller.
The density of MDF varies with the manufacturer and with product thickness. Many manufacturers use a higher density fiber material when manufacturing thinner MDF versus thicker panels. The density is also influenced by the amount and type of binding resin and wax used, as well as the amount of moisture the fibers contain and the type of wood fiber used.
The average density ranges from 37.5 lbs/ft³ for thicker panels to 52.5 lbs/ft³ in thinner sheets. However, it can be as low as 31 lbs/ft³ and high as 62 lbs/ft³. The density not only affects the weight, but also the strength, stiffness, bending performance, and nail/screw holding strength.
How Much Does a Sheet of MDF Weight
The weight of a sheet of MDF depends on its length, width, thickness, and density. The type of wood fiber, binding resins, waxes, moisture content, and moisture or fire-retardant treatments also affect its weight.
MDF is available in thicknesses from 5/64” to 1-1/2” in 4×8, 4×9, 4×10, 5×8, 5×9, and 5×10, with special orders up to 10’ wide and 20’ to 60’ or longer. It is also available in different profiles and smaller dimensions.
The weight increases with dimensions and density, but the density often decreases as panel thickness increases. The density ranges from around 31 lbs/ft³ for the thickest materials to 62 lbs/ft³ for the thinnest materials but even that is dependent on the manufacturer.
A 4×8 sheet of 3/4” MDF will weigh around 89.2 lbs or 2.8 lbs/ft². It is often used for cabinet boxes, furniture, countertops, shelving, speaker boxes, and sound rooms, or milled into baseboards, Slatwall, signage, door frames, or other trim work.
A 1/2″ thick 4×8 sheet usually weighs about 61.6 lbs or 1.9 lbs/ft². This thickness is commonly milled into beadboard, wainscotting, or trim work. It is also often used for drawer and speaker boxes and furniture.
A 4×8 panel of 1/4″ thick MDF weighs about 32.4 lbs or 1.0 lb/ft². Often used for underlayment to provide a smooth dense surface, it is also used for column covers, worktable tops, floor tiles, drawer bottoms, signage, furniture, and craft work.
A 1/8” 4×8 sheet of MDF weighs around 17.5 lbs or half a pound per square foot. It may be used for door skins, underlayment, drawer bottoms, column covers, tiling, crafts, or other items.
A 4×8 panel of 5/8” MDF weighs about 75.5 lbs or 2.4 lbs/ft². It is often used for acoustic purposes, furniture, cabinetry, shelving, wainscotting, beadboard, trim work, and millwork.
A 1-inch thick 4×8 sheet of MDF weighs approximately 116.5 lbs or 3.6 lbs/ft². It’s used for sound rooms, speaker boxes, cabinetry, furniture, signage, Slatwall, countertops, shelving, and other purposes.
MDF Sheet Weight Chart
The weight of MDF depends on various factors such as thickness, length, width, density, type of wood species, binding agents, and moisture content. Plus, it also may vary between manufacturers too. The values in the Table below are derived from the literature available from three major North American manufacturers, and so are approximate values.
|MDF Weight by Thickness
(Based on 4’x8’ sheets with a density between 37.5 to 55 lbs/ft³ or 600 to 850 kg/m³)
MDF Weight Calculator
MDF weight is calculated by converting the thickness to the equivalent decimal of a foot and multiplying it by the square footage of the product and the density for that thickness. So, there’s a lot of math. However, since density is affected by wood fiber species, binding agents, and moisture content, the density for a specific thickness can vary, plus it’s not readily available.
There are MDF calculators that will do the computational work for you, all you have to do is input the length, width, and thickness. Unfortunately, since the density varies, they often select an average value and apply it to all calculations.
As a result, the weight will be accurate for one thickness and only approximate for others – the weight will be lighter for everything thinner and heavier for everything thicker. So, if using an MDF calculator, be aware that the calculated weights shouldn’t be used where exact values are necessary.
Weight of MDF per Square Foot
The weight of MDF per square foot depends on the thickness of the piece and its density. A square foot of 1/8” thick MDF will weigh about half a pound (0.54 lbs), a 1/4″ thick piece a pound (1.009 lbs), a 1/2″ square almost two pounds (1.9 lbs), and a 1” thick one about three and a half (3.6 lbs).
Since the density lessens as the thickness increases, it’s not a fixed rate of weight increase. If you know the weight and area of the piece, dividing the weight by the area will give you its weight per square foot.
Is MDF Heavier Than Plywood?
Plywood is made up of thin layers of wood veneer shaved or peeled from logs. The layers are glued, pressed, and heated to fuse them together so that the grain of each layer is perpendicular to the one above or below it. As a result, there are often voids within the finished plywood sheet as well as within the veneer itself. The density of plywood varies with wood species, adhesive, and moisture content, but commonly has an average density of around 34.08 lbs/ft³.
MDF is a homogeneous mixture of wood fibers and binding agents heated and pressed to specific thicknesses. Excess air is removed from the mixture before it is pressed and heated, so there are no voids, making MDF denser than plywood. MDF has an average density that varies with product thickness, with thin material having a higher density than thicker material. The average ranges from 37.5 to 55 lbs/ft³.
Since the density of MDF varies with its thickness and that of plywood stays fairly constant, the weight difference will also vary. A 1/4″ thick 4×8 sheet of plywood weighs about 22 lbs, a 1/2″ sheet about 48 lbs, and a 3/4″ sheet about 70.4lbs.
Comparatively, a 1/4″ thick 4×8 sheet of MDF weighs around 32.3 lbs, 1/2″ panel 61.6 lbs, and a 3/4″ thick piece 89.2 lbs. So, MDF is up to 30% heavier than plywood depending on comparative thickness.
How Many Sheets of MDF Can My Truck Hold?
The number of sheets that your truck can hold depends on the sheet thickness and dimensions, truck size and load limits, and even the load ratings for its tires. A 1/2-truck is rated for 1,000 lbs or half a ton, and while it can usually carry more, we’ll use that as our maximum. So, a 1/2-ton truck can carry 114 4’x8’ sheets of 1/16” thick MDF, 57 at 1/8”, 31 at 1/4″, 16 at 1/2″, 11 at 3/4″, 9 at 1”, and 6 at 1-1/2” thickness. The thicker the MDF, the fewer your truck will carry.
MDF or medium-density fiberboard is used for residential and commercial construction projects, furniture, and a multitude of DIY crafts and projects, as well as other purposes. It is a versatile product, so knowing the weight of different thicknesses of MDF is helpful as it affects potential uses.
It also impacts the amount that can be carried by a 1/2-ton truck or an individual. So, even though the density of the material decreases as the thickness increases, the weight still increases.
Hopefully, you have a better awareness of the factors that affect the weight of MDF and are better prepared for your next project.