MDF stands for medium density fiberboard. Fiberboard is that crap wood that is essentially an amalgam of sawdust, wood chips, and binders.  Imagine a dried-up bowl of oatmeal.  That’s a good representation of MDF.

Positing MDF baseboards against pine baseboards is pretty easy:  MDF blows.  That’s not to say that installing pine baseboards is a piece of cake.  We’re saying that pine will make your life easier than MDF.

One thing that few remodelers mention is that MDF is heavy stuff.  Even though we’re not talking crown molding here, if you’re dealing with MDF crown molding that stuff is heavy to hold up.  But consider this:  hauling home 250 linear feet of MDF is a real job.  And in the process, you’ll end up breaking a board or two and/or nicking the stuff.

In the fight between MDF and pine baseboards, it’s pine all the way.

Hard:

MDF Baseboards

MDF Medium Density Fiberboard

Easy:

Pine Baseboards

Pine Baseboard

Why Hard?

MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, is crumbly and difficult to work with.  It’s a bit cheaper than other baseboard materials, but you pay more in the end because it’s an inferior material.

Why Easy?

Pine baseboards are easier, but still not a walk in the park.  Pine is a more predictable, workable material than MDF, and it lasts longer.

Method:

Installing with nail-gun or hammer.

Method:

Install with nail-gun or hammer.

Material:

MDF

Material:

Pine

Pros and Cons of MDF Baseboards

Pros:

  • Cheaper

Cons:

  • It’s not real wood
  • Hard to work with
  • Crumbly
  • Does not stand up well to moisture
  • Heavy

Pros and Cons of Pine Baseboards

Pros:

  • Pine is a solid material that is easier to work with than MDF

Cons:

  • Pine can split
  • More expensive than MDF baseboard
  • Pine, while better against moisture than MDF, still isn’t waterproof by any means

Where to Find It

You name it–every home improvement store.

Where to Find It

Same as MDF.  Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.

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