Can MDF Be Used in a Bathroom? (Quick Answers) (2022)

Because of the low price and other advantages of using medium-density fiberboard, people use the MDF board all over the house. Although it’s a wood-type material, you can waterproof it by painting and using a sealer.

You must consider the disadvantages before you install or buy the MDF furniture. You need to maintain it and be sure not to damage the upper layer to avoid the off-gassing problem. If you have any concerns regarding the MDF, you will get the solution from our tips.

Can MDF be used in a bathroom?

MDF can be used in a bathroom. It will give you the best decorative flexibility since you can turn it into a waterproof material. You can also use it regularly after applying a sealer and paint it properly. In that case, you can follow my tips to know how to set up MDF in a bathroom.

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Can MDF Be Used in a Bathroom? (Quick Answers) (1)

People are unsure if they can use the MDF board in their bathrooms or the kitchen. Since you use the water regularly in your bathroom, it will become challenging to use any wood material.

But the MDF material is not entirely the actual wood that will be damaged and can’t be waterproof.

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You can paint and waterproof your MDF material to use in your bathroom. It will give you the longest lifetime and the best user experience. You will find three different MDF materials to use in your bathroom.

MDF baseboard:

You can use the MDF baseboard in your bathroom only after waterproofing it. How can you do that? You can do it by applying a sealer and painting the baseboard properly. You must be sure about the paint quality and need to use the best sealer.

Remember, you cannot use the direct uncovered MDF baseboard in your bathroom. It might get damaged by water and moisture. You can only use it after applying the sealer and making it a waterproof surface.

MDF shiplap:

If you want to decorate your bathroom, you can use the MDF shiplap in your bathroom. It will give a new look and protect the material. You can directly install the MDF shiplap since they are solid and can bear the moisture and the entire environment.

It will always be your best idea to cover the MDF shiplap using paint. You can seal the shiplap to waterproof the surface and turn it into an excellent bathroom decorative material.

MDF trim:

You cannot directly use the MDF trim in your bathroom. It will not give you a waterproof or moisture-resistant surface. You should avoid using the MDF trim and try to replace it with an impervious surface or tiles in your bathroom.

Is MDF good for bathroom vanity?

MDF is not so good for bathroom vanity. The MDF may be the cheapest material for your bathroom vanity, but it has its drawback. Without proper finishing, the material will soon crack. The humidity will cause the MDF to swell a lot.

Humidity can also cause off-gas, which releases harmful formaldehyde in your bathroom.

Repairing MDF is not an easy task at all when it is cracked. These problems can be lesser if the MDF is properly sealed or coated, which can be tough as quality is always an issue.

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Is MDF backed mirror ok to use in a bathroom?

MDF-backed mirrors are not ok to use in a bathroom. The MDF is vulnerable to humidity if the MDF is not coated or appropriately sealed. A bathroom is a place where the humidity is constant and a splash of water. These things can cause the MDF frame to swell a lot.

Without proper coating, the MDF frame will absorb the water, causing it damage and off-gas. MDF releases formaldehyde in humid conditions; as the bathroom is a locked-up place, the gas can cause way more harm than your living rooms having windows and doors.

Is MDF paneling good to use in bathrooms?

The MDF paneling is good to use in bathrooms. But it needs to be a moisture-resistant paneling since it will face water and need to resist it every day. It will be better to buy the moisture-resistant paneling and install it accordingly.

You may apply a sealer over that paneling to get the best waterproof surface.

MDF panelings are excessively helpful in decorating the bathroom wall. But the main thing should be its quality. It should resist the moisture; you can only install and expect to get a good lifespan from it. For this reason, you can use MDF paneling in your bathroom.

3 reasons why you can use MDF in bathroom

You can use MDF in the bathroom for three significant reasons. These reasons are concerned with the quality, waterproof, and decorative features of the MDF materials. If you read all the reasons, you will know why you should use MDF in your bathroom.

Waterproof Surface:

Since the MDF baseboards and other materials can be turned into waterproof surfaces, you can use them in your bathroom. You can do it by using the paint and the sealer.

These two elements will give you the best waterproof surface that you can securely install and use in your bathroom.

You will find some waterproof paint to turn the surface water-resistant and durable. Using this type of paint will get the best MDF surface to install or use in your bathroom. You can use oil-based paint to get a waterproof surface.

(Video) Coping MDF Baseboard

Easy to Decorate:

You can decorate the bathroom using the MDF trim and other materials. It will allow you to install and maintain the MDF board in your bathroom. Most MDF materials will resist moisture securely.

You might think of the effectiveness of the decoration. People love to decorate their bathrooms using the MDF trim. You can also do it by following the same tips. It might be another reason you should use MDF material in the bathroom.

MDF Shiplap:

Another reason for using MDF in your bathroom is the MDF shiplap. This material is a true blessing for most people. The shiplap is always a water-resistant material despite the wood or MDF core.

You can decorate or make your bathroom using the MDF shiplap to protect your drywall and decorate the bathroom.

How does MDF hold up to bathroom humidity?

MDF products hold up to bathroom humidity by expanding and contracting in high humidity situations or interaction with damp surfaces.

MDF has historically had a lower resistance to moisture. In environments with high humidity or when they contact damp surfaces, all MDF products undergo expansion and contraction.

The wood shrinkage rate of .05 percent will result in an MDF shrinkage rate of .25 percent under the same conditions.

(Before the installation, a moisture meter can be used to determine the amount of moisture contained in the MDF. This allows the builder to account for any potential contraction or expansion once the material has been installed in typical domestic conditions.

At the time of manufacture, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) typically has a moisture content ranging from seven to ten percent.

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How do you seal a bathroom MDF?

You can seal a bathroom using MDF by following the given process.

Sand Workbench Top:

Sanding makes it possible to obtain a surface that is neither too rough nor too smooth. If you want the best output, you should consider using sandpaper with medium grit.

Sandpaper or a sanding block with a grit of 220 could give you more control over the sanding process.

Consider donning safety goggles and a face mask to avoid wood dust getting into your eyes or lungs.

Caulk Edges:

When working with a piece of medium-density fiberboard, you should always begin with the edges. The surfaces along the edges are typically more porous and abrasive than those along either side.

Consequently, they are susceptible to absorbing a significant quantity of liquid, such as paint or water, which, if not properly sealed, can result in irreparable damage.

Before you begin working on the top and bottom, you will need to first seal these edges by applying a material that causes the coating to harden and become impenetrable.

Seal Surface:

After you have finished sealing the edges of the MDF, the next step in creating a smooth finish is to seal both sides of the workbench top.

Even though MDF is available in a variety of sheens, the surface of the material is still quite porous and has the potential to absorb significant quantities of water and moisture. Because of its porosity, you need to ensure that it is adequately sealed.

(Video) How to Paint MDF Like A Pro! (#10) Looks like a spray finish but done with a roller!

Final Thoughts

The MDF can be used in the bathroom if you paint it or use any sealer. Notably, the MDF shiplap will be your best material to use in the bathroom since it will resist moisture and help you decorate the bathroom. It will keep your bathroom safe and beautiful.


Can you use normal MDF in a bathroom? ›

Highly versatile, MDF can be used for a number of different purposes including kitchen and bathroom furniture and window sills. It has a very consistent structure, which means any cut edges appear smooth and reduces the risk of splintering.

Is MDF waterproof bathroom? ›

Now that you know you can use our MDF skirting boards safely in your bathroom, we do have to address another issue. They're not waterproof. Prolonged exposure to water will cause the MDF to swell.

Does MDF get ruined when wet? ›

However, if you have a project in a high-humidity area, you must use or create water-resistant MDF, or the material will start to disintegrate if consistently exposed to water and damp conditions.

How do you seal bathroom MDF? ›

What Is the Best Way to Make MDF Waterproof? The best way to make MDF waterproof is to apply several coats of quality wood sealer or primer to all surfaces, followed by one or two coats of quality waterproof paint. The most effective way is to use a quality wood sealer and a waterproof latex or epoxy paint.

What wood is best for bathroom? ›

After much research, the best wood to use for bathroom shelving include pine, plywood, koa, cherry, red oak, padauk, mahogany and teak. As long as the wood is properly constructed and finished, it will look great in the bathroom and can be used for extra storage.

Does MDF absorb water? ›

Just like particle board, MDF will soak up water and other liquids like a sponge and swell unless it's very well sealed on all sides and edges. Because it consists of such fine particles, MDF doesn't hold screws very well.

Can you use MDF in a shower? ›

Paints and lacquers are only water resistant, not waterproof. MDF does not do well in wet areas.

Does MDF swell with humidity? ›

MDF expand and contract based on humidity levels, but does not swell with humidity or absorb moisture like solid wood does.

What is waterproof MDF called? ›

Tricoya is characterised by its durability, dimensional stability and reliability properties.

What is the best sealer for MDF? ›

1. Zinsser B-I-N Multi-surface Primer. This solvent-based paint from Zinsser is an all-round primer and sealer that makes it ideal as a base coat for MDF. It offers excellent adhesion to a large number of different surfaces, so while it's great for MDF, you can also use it on pretty much any interior surface.

What is moisture resistant MDF? ›

Moisture resistant (MR) MDF is designed to function in humid areas where moisture is present in the air without 'splitting' or 'flaring up'. This means it is a perfectly suitable material for use in domestic kitchens or bathrooms, for example, as it will not be affected by steam coming from cooking or showering.

Does painting MDF prevent Mould? ›

Does painting MDF prevent mould? By providing some water resistance to MDF, painting it does help to prevent mould and damp.

Does MDF need to be sealed? ›

MDF should always be sealed to prevent moisture penetration. MDF is a composite wood product used in the building industry. The abbreviation stands for "medium density fiberboard." MDF is created by adding glue to wood chips under intense pressure created by hydraulic rams.

Is MDF material waterproof? ›

Thankfully MDF is fairly easy to waterproof. Be aware MDF will not last for very long under flood conditions, and once it is water damaged, it cannot be fixed. Either you have to replace the piece of MDF by removing it from the furniture or replace the piece of furniture completely.

How do you waterproof a bathroom wood? ›

There are three surefire ways to waterproof your wood for years to come. Use linseed or Tung oil to create a beautiful and protective hand-rubbed finish. Seal the wood with coating of polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer. Finish and waterproof wood simultaneously with a stain-sealant combo.

What kind of wood can you put on bathroom walls? ›

Wood Paneling for Bathroom Walls

Knotty pine paneling is one choice for your bathroom walls, though most people choose cedar panels. It will really take you back with that rustic look and it's amazingly easy to install while touting its resistance to moisture.

Which wood is most water resistant? ›

Pine, larch, Douglas fir, western red cedar, chestnut and oak represent the most water resistant woods for exterior coverings , even without treatment. White fir and spruce will require protection to be able to last over time.

What are the disadvantages of MDF? ›

What are the downsides of MDF?
  • Engineered wood is easy to damage. One of the main differences between solid and engineered wood is the surface. ...
  • MDF is heavier. ...
  • MDF is vulnerable to extreme heat Remember that engineered wood is made out of wax and/or resin-like compounds. ...
  • MDF can't support too much weight.
9 Nov 2017

Can you use MDF Skirting in bathroom? ›

Moisture Resistant (MR) MDF is the perfect material for skirting boards for bathrooms, aside from tiles or stone products. The MDF itself has been manufactured with specific properties that allow it to function properly in areas where the moisture content in the air is high, such as bathrooms and some kitchens.

What's better MDF or plywood? ›

When it comes to strength, plywood is the winner. MDF is a softer material than plywood and tends to sag or split under pressure. That's why it's important to reinforce it if you're going to using it to build shelves or other weight-bearing furniture.

Can I tile over MDF board? ›

MDF board or chipboard can also be tiled over, but not in wet or humid areas. Walls must be free of grease, dirt, soap, loose paint, plaster and dust, and must be dry, flat and firm. Walls must be smooth, with holes and rough areas filled with plaster filler and then sanded.

Does MDF need an expansion gap? ›

An expansion gap of 10mm or 2.5mm per metre (whichever is the greater) must be allowed, on length and width.

What primer should I use on MDF? ›

Prime the MDF with a solvent-based primer, such as Zinsser (buy online) or KILZ (buy online). Avoid water-based primer, as it may cause the wood fibers to swell, resulting in a surface that appears to have a raised grain (no matter how much effort you put into sanding).

What are the effects of moisture on MDF? ›

All wood and MDF products expand and contract in situations of high humidity or interaction with damp surfaces. In conditions where wood shrinkage is . 05 percent, the MDF shrinkage will be . 25 percent.

Can you use MDF in a shower? ›

Paints and lacquers are only water resistant, not waterproof. MDF does not do well in wet areas.

Is manufactured wood good for bathroom vanity? ›

MDF (medium density fiberboard) is a good “middle of the road” option for a bathroom vanity. Though it is engineered in a similar manner to particle board, it is much denser and stronger. The bits of wood used to create MDF are compressed for a longer time and at higher temperatures.

Can you use MDF skirting in bathroom? ›

Moisture Resistant (MR) MDF is the perfect material for skirting boards for bathrooms, aside from tiles or stone products. The MDF itself has been manufactured with specific properties that allow it to function properly in areas where the moisture content in the air is high, such as bathrooms and some kitchens.

Can I tile over MDF board? ›

MDF board or chipboard can also be tiled over, but not in wet or humid areas. Walls must be free of grease, dirt, soap, loose paint, plaster and dust, and must be dry, flat and firm. Walls must be smooth, with holes and rough areas filled with plaster filler and then sanded.

What can I use to seal MDF? ›

Seal the MDF with PVA Glue: You can seal MDF surfaces with thin layers of PVA (white or carpenter's) glue. Most PVA-based carpentry glues require dilution with water to get a thin sealing layer on your MDF (which can cause the MDF to swell).

How long does an MDF vanity last? ›

Some of the most common types of vanity materials include various types of wood, MDF fiberboard, glass and stone. As long as the materials in question are solidly used in high quality vanities, they can last up to 60 years.

What is the best material to use for bathroom cabinets? ›

The most efficient, widely used materials for bathroom cabinets are: Solid wood, plywood, and MDF. Solid wood cabinets, such as oak or maple wood hold up nicely in a bathroom climate, particularly when properly sealed and painted.

Which material is good for bathroom vanity? ›

MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) is an engineered material that is another commonly used material in bathroom cabinets. MDF consists of composite fibres, and small pieces of wood joined together with a resin or wax. It is covered with veneer or painted for a finished look. MDF is very cost-effective and looks great.


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