MDF Architrave – What’s The Crack?

MDF is now the most popular material used to make architrave. But why? In this blog post we’re going to go through the advantages and disadvantages (not many!) of using MDF architraves.

Mini Vienna MDF Architrave - 70mm x 18mm
Mini Vienna MDF Architrave – 70mm x 18mm

Advantages Of Using MDF Architrave

There are plenty of reasons why you should use MDF for your architraves over other alternatives like softwood. Here’s why:

It’s Moisture Resistant

Most of the MDF used nowadays is moisture resistant. This put’s it at an advantage over softwood and hardwood equivalents as your architraves won’t warp and swell when subject to moisture.

A lot of MDF manufacturers used to add a green dye to the boards. This had no effect on the abilities of the board withstanding moisture – it was just to help identify between MR (moisture resistant) and standard grade boards.

It’s The Cheaper Alternative

That’s right. It’s almost always cheaper than other forms of wood on the market so you don’t have to remortgage your home to buy MDF architraves.

Sometimes people associate cheap with low quality. However, this is not the case with MDF. You can get some low quality versions, but even the high quality forms of MDF end up cheaper than other woods.

Stepped 2 MDF Architrave Installed Around A Door - 70mm x 18mm
Stepped 2 MDF Architrave Installed Around A Door – 70mm x 18mm

Imperfections Are Non-Existent

With natural woods, you get imperfection such as knots and warping. You won’t have these problems with MDF.

MDF is made up of wood fibres that are compacted together so you won’t see any knots, you won’t see a grain and as long as they are stored flat, the architraves won’t warp or bend before installation.

It’s Lightweight

Fitting architraves involves a fair bit of lifting so it’s safe to say that MDF being lightweight is an advantage as you won’t find the boards heavy and difficult to handle / manoeuvre.

It Will Stand The Test Of Time

As we mentioned before, most of the MDF on the UK market is of a high quality and this material will last a long time.

Some companies even offer a lifetime guarantee on their MDF – it can last that long!

Georgian MDF Architrave Fitted (with matching skirting)
Georgian MDF Architrave Fitted (with matching skirting)

Disadvantages Of Using MDF Architrave

As with everything, there are always disadvantages – but not many with MDF:

It Doesn’t Look Like Wood

If you leave MDF as it is, it has a similar colour to cardboard and doesn’t have a grain like natural woods. Therefore, it won’t give you the wooden look effect if that’s what you want from your architraves.

Most architraves made from MDF are primed and then painted – they’re never left bare.

Cheaper Options Aren’t Very Good

When buying MDF architraves, you won’t want to go for the cheapest option. Most of the time you’ll be getting lightweight or standard grade MDF.

This type of MDF isn’t moisture resistant and when machined can produce a furry finish.

Always make sure it’s industrial grade MDF if you choose this for your architrave.