Medium density fiberboard (DM or MDF) and chipboard are products derived from wood with similar uses. However, they are not the same product, they have important differences and, in many cases, they are not substitutes.

DM is made of wood fibers, that is, it decomposes into a very basic state. Subsequently, the adhesives are applied and pressed. While do chipboard the wood is crushed to obtain small chips, which will never be as small as fibers.

Differences at a glance

Due to this manufacturing process the differences are not only noticeable to the naked eye, the touch is very different. However he DM offers a smooth and very uniform surface, the card is not as smooth, no matter how hard it is pressed, and visually it is thicker.

Resistance and stability

During the manufacturing process and depending on the adhesives, the amount of wood and the pressure exerted, it is possible to obtain slabs, both agglomerate and DM, with different performances. Therefore, the comparison can become complex.

If we take into account what is usually marketed, for example, a 16mm thick chipboard and an approximate density of 625 kg / m3. On the other hand, a 16 mm DM with an approximate density of 750 kg / m3, we can say that the DM will have better torsional behavior and will also be more stable. That is, it will bend less when supporting weight and contractions and swelling due to changes in humidity will also be less.


Both materials they are sold in virtually the same dimensions, and even in very similar formats. The most common measurements are 122 × 244 and 285 × 210 cm with thicknesses of 16 and 19 mm. Although depending on the country and the manufacturer, there may be differences.

Many sales of chipboard and dm plates are made in melamine coated plates, mainly for the manufacture of furniture. It is in this sense that there is greater substitutability.

Complete registration

This is one of the main differences between dm and chipboard. If we ignore the melamine-coated plates, chipboard has a very bad surface for finishing. It is practically impossible to leave it smooth and also due to its high porosity it will absorb a large amount of product.

The opposite happens with DM or MDF because it is an ideal surface for applying finishes, for example, varnishes, paints or lacquers. Even better when the density of the plate is higher.


There is also a substantial price difference. DM can be 10-20% more expensive than the card.