Hardwood vs. the all popular MDF Wood Panels

Some may argue that natural wood products are hard to maintain especially in a climate such as ours here in South America where the days are blistering hot and the seductive nights are much cooler with just a hint of mist in the atmosphere especially in the higher elevations.  But the past few nights I beg to differ as it has been warm and humid causing most to crank up their air conditioning units a notch or two just too get a good night’s sleep; and with all the mix in temperatures lately your hardwood furniture and decorative pieces are paying the price.

With the extra moisture in the air and at times switching over to dry air mixed with cooler air from overworked A/C units have caused splits and cracks to appear on some of your most prized hardwood family heirlooms.  We’ve gotten a few frantic calls and repaired quite a few hardwood furnishings in the past few months and something is telling me there are more calls to come.

Split table top
split top
corner table edge
 MDF  “Medium Density Fiberboard”   Laminate and Wood Veneered Panels

The world has gone MDF no doubt and most of everything for that matter seems to be made from the wonder material from tables to doors, bedroom furniture, computer desks and chairs, wall panels, frames you name it and I’m sure there is some measure of MDF behind an appropriately designed veneer covering.  I admit the designs are beautiful if not captivating and unlike its rival counterpart MDF is said to be more adaptable to changing temperatures; easy to work with; exhibiting ready to use smooth surfaces for quicker productivity, and they come in various sizes, thickness gauge, and colors with textured veneers. 

It’s the number one blessing to shop joiners and home furnishing manufacturers everywhere one would say, some MDF’s are even moisture resistant to an extent making them perfect for constructing kitchen cabinetry, floor to ceiling bookcases, podiums, tables and did I mention it was bug resistant too against those carnivorous wood dwellers that wreak havoc on treasured furniture pieces?
With that said “who could ask for more..?”

Well, I could for starters.  Nothing compares to the real deal ‘wood’ many believe that MDF boards have revolutionized wood and wood products, but this is not so and ‘the student in this case does not advance the teacher.’  Even current trends show that wood in all its elegance is refined and timeless! Would you paint the Mona Lisa with an air brush? I think not; So why produce your finest works of art using a material that’s anything but beautifully imperfect the way nature intended.




My husband and I pulled up some MDF base molding strips for a colleague of ours to help him install a kitchen display for his showroom and low and behold there they were not more than one month since  the original install of his moldings were subterranean termites! They had taken hold of their latest victim, the MDF molding strips.  As you can see  [below] the termites got well into the board in the space of just a few weeks.  Not only does he have to worry about replacing the damaged moldings he now has to incur the cost of hiring an exterminator to rid his showroom displays from becoming a gourmet banquet for his newly uninvited guests.

Subterranean Termites:
Picture courtesy The National Pest
Management Association






So despite popular belief that termites only go after ‘the real deal’ and that MDF takes the headache away from solid or hardwood installations that have been deemed too costly running the risk of termite damage in the long run especially in our hot tropical climate here in the West Indies; truth be told those pesky little bugger also have no hang-ups sampling the competition as well.

 The Beauty of Hardwood Designs …. timeless… elegant!
pedestal table
carved chest

So, this being the case, why settle for MDF products when you can have the alluring beauty and enjoy the timeless brilliance
of natural wood in all its magnificence and grandeur.







Choose your Own Style … and stand apart from the crowd

In the end I’d rather have a kitchen that was a conversation piece standing on its own merit, strong, bold – ‘the real deal or a piece of furniture I could bequest that stood the test of time, revered for its unique design and renowned craftsmanship than to settle for a product that was fast and lucid a bi-product of its time.

Call me bias, I am a wood enthusiast and proud of it.  Ahh, the beauty of wood! I’ll stand resolute and embolden  to accept nature made over man made any day.

Happy designing everyone!

design blog by  Analee Achee-Hoyte
Design & Visual Coordinator @
Simply Exquisite Interiors