Differences between LDF and MDF – Ultrawood LLC

Differences between LDF and MDF

What is LDF (Low Density Fiberboard)?

What is Low-Density Fiberboard (LDF)?

LDF stands for low density fiberboard. It is a board material created through the pressing of natural wood fibers at extremely high pressures and temperatures. The terms “ultra-light MDF” and “light MDF” are often used to denote LDF products in English-speaking countries. LDF products may also be under a brand name (e.g. America Ultrawood).

To reduce any confusion from our buyers, the term ‘low-density fiberboard’ can represent two materials. The first material is modern LDF which we use to produce furniture and architectural décor denoted by American standards as ANSI A208.2–2002.  LDF also represents insulation material developed in the 1920s which is not used by our firm.

Why is LDF better than wood?

LDF’s competitive advantage stems from its natural structure and the characteristics of its materials. Products composed of wood are subject to internal stress caused by the structure of its inner rings. Once exposed to moisture, its annular structure twists and changes form. To prevent this structural change, wood is often processed and dried, causing its price to increase. LDF products have a much lower price when compared to wood and provide the same or better levels of performance. Most importantly, the material is not prone to deformation and retains its shape.

The Process of Creating LDF

LDF is created from a combination of wood fibers.  These wood fibers are mostly sourced from pine and eucalyptus trees which are grown on unique farms specifically for their quick regrowth abilities. By sourcing wood fibers from these two select materials we can prevent the endangerment of wild forests.

LDF Uses

LDF has been used in the production of furniture, wall panels, and many architectural décor elements such as skirting, molding, cornices, profiles, trim boards, and doors. One of its greatest advantages over wood and plastics is its light weight, dry and decay resistance.  During the customization process LDF does not split off while being cut. These qualities make it a popular choice among professional designers.

LDF Specifications

LDF is a unique material which possesses many advantages of wood without its natural drawbacks such as drying, cracking, and grading knots. During the manufacturing process LDF is routinely covered with a factory primer intended for painting and unlike MDF does not require lamination. LDF can be painted by any paint suitable for wood. While LDF has superior moisture resistance when compared to wood, we recommend that untreated LDF products should not be used in areas of high moisture such as showers and swimming pools were.

Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

MDF or Medium-Density Fiberboard is created from a wide variety of wood type residuals created as a by-product of wood production. This material is extremely popular in the production of economy class products including wall panels, inexpensive acoustic systems and furniture.

Low-Density Fiberboard (LDF)

LDF or Low-Density Fiberboard is an environmentally friendly product created by using radiata pine sourced from renewable tree plantations in South America. Due to its production process which utilizes single-grade raw materials we can guarantee the exact geometry and dimensions of LDF. Raw materials for the creation of LDF are harvested within a 100-mile radius of the production site and any waste products are utilized in the generation of energy for the full-cycle biological plant.

Differences Between Low-Density Fiberboard and Medium-Density Fiberboard:

At first glance, the difference between LDF and MDF are not always visible.  However, when you examine the weight and strength of each material, LDF presents significant advantages.

  • Low-Density Fiberboard (LDF) – LDF products have a higher strength and lower weight when compared to wood and MDF due their lower density. The addition of paraffin in the manufacturing process provides superior moisture resistant characteristics.
  • Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) – MDF products are significantly heavier than their LDF products and are composed of materials that vary in density and weight.

Material Density

There are multiple density differences between LDF, MDF, and HDF. The average density of each product is featured below:

  • LDF – 500 kg/m3
  • MDF – 650 – 800 kg/ m3
  • HDF – 850 + kg/ m3

How is Low Density Fiberboard (LDF) Manufactured? LDF’s Environmental Advantage over MDF

LDF & MDF – Raw Material Differences

The raw wood material used in manufacturing LDF and MDF have significant differences. The raw source material characteristics of LDF is one of its greatest advantages over MDF which is often created from a variety of inconsistent soft and hard woods with the addition of tree barks.

LDF – A Pure Wood Mixture: LDF is created out of 100% Radiata pine wood fibers from renewable tree plantations in South America. Its homogenous composition ensures a smooth, flawless surface and a consistent density. These characteristics enable the use of power tools to customize any LDF product as profiles do not split off during the cutting process.

MDF – A Recycled Wood Mixture: MDF can be created out of any recycled wood such as chips, sawdust, hardwood, and softwood. The variety of woods utilized in the manufacturing process can produce inconsistent sizes, densities, and surface characteristics.

Bonding of Particles

LDF products use clean raw materials in the bonding process. The trunk of small Radiata pine trees are crushed by a mixed to a cotton consistency and then fastened with a lignin polymer isolated from wood and low-emissivity formaldehyde resin. This manufacturing process is safe and environmentally friendly.

MDF products contain large quantities of formaldehyde resin binders for the purposes of structural integrity. The addition of these binders causes an inconsistent product in end-user weight, performance, and an unpleasant and persistent odor that can last up to six months.

Surface Homogeneity and Smoothness

LDF – In the production of LDF, wood fibers are treated with oxygen, washed, and whitened to ensure end-user performance and consistent weights of each board. The final stage in this process is the bonding of these fibers under high pressures and temperatures using resins with a safe formaldehyde content which meet the highest European environmental standards (Standard E-1 – similar to natural wood in its characteristics).  This manufacturing process creates smooth and consistent boards which is ideal for future painting or customization. LDF products have a uniform yellowish color and are lightweight with an average board and profile density of 500kg/m³ or 32 lb/ft3.

MDF –  MDF profiles are covered with paper or PVC film to compensate for uneven and inconsistent surfaces caused by the different raw wood materials used the manufacturing process. This can create bubbles that form under the film over time and lead to worse surface paint adhesion and durability

Differences in Odor

LDF Products – LDF products have virtually no odor.

MDF Products – MDF products can have a persistent unpleasant chemical odor that can last up to six months due to the addition of formaldehyde resin binders in the bonding process.

What is Made out of LDF and MDF:

  1. Furniture
  2. Moldings
  3. Picture frames
  4. Doors
  5. Lamination Substrate
  6. Display Fixtures
  7. Flooring
  8. 3D panels 

The advantages of LDF over wood and MDF products and panels are summarized below:

  1. Exceptional product strength and durability
  2. Perfectly smooth surfaces for painting and construction allowing unparalleled conformity to any product dimensions
  3. Homogeninity of raw materials from enviromentally sustainable sources
  4. Light weight and odorless
  5. A uniquely environmentally friendly and eco-sustainable product

How do these advantages create extraordinary architectural décor?

  1. Easy Installation – LDF is 25% lighter than MDF with a density of 32 lb/ft3
  2. Unlimited Customization Opportunities – A 100% uniformity of material allows LDF to easily be cut and painted for an specifications
  3. Smooth and Primed Surface
  4. Environmentally Friendly and Eco Sustainable