7th Dec 2022 -

Offering a sturdy level of thickness, 18mm MDF boards will commonly be used within furniture construction, such as cabinets and shelving. In this guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll explore how 18mm MDF boards are made, the different types available for sale in the UK, and some of their key uses within furniture and construction.

What is an 18mm MDF Board?

MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) is a popular engineered wood product, made from a mixture of wood waste, resin, and wax, that is shaped into solid boards and sheets through a combination of heat and pressure. 18mm MDF boards will be cut to that specific thickness, and sold in a range of dimensions. MDF brings several benefits to a building project, with a smooth appearance that can be easily shaped in many different ways and decorated with paint for a precise finish. MDF is cost-effective, explaining why it is so often used within economy furniture. It can also be covered with veneers to give the visual impression of a real wood product. 

Compared to authentic wood and other engineered wood products, the strength of MDF can be quite low. Other drawbacks of MDF include its natural issues with water, which can make it warp, and that it can release formaldehyde when cut, which is harmful to humans. The lifespan of MDF is another potential issue, with only a 14 to 20-year window before issues start to arise.

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What Types of 18mm MDF Boards Are Sold?

Alongside a traditional 18mm MDF board, there are several other options available for purchase within the UK, which can offer benefits either within construction or furniture.

Moisture-Resistant MDF

When moisture gets into traditional MDF sheets and boards it can cause a wealth of issues, often warping it beyond use. When looking to use MDF products within a damp environment you will therefore need to opt for moisture-resistant 18mm MDF boards, ensuring long-term performance. Moisture-resistant does not mean waterproof, and this MDF will not be acceptable for fully submerged use.

White Melamine MDF

A great pre-finished option for various projects, a white melamine MDF board will be faced on both sides with a smooth sanded surface of solid white, perfect for use within furniture such as cupboards and shelving. This type of MDF will often be used within flat-pack furniture such as cabinets.

Fire Rated MDF

Fire-rated MDF panels can be used for non-structural elements of a fire protection system, helping to slow the passage of a fire, and avoiding the production of burning droplets. This can be necessary to comply with building regulations in shared buildings like hospitals, offices, theatres, and schools, aiding escape by limiting the progression of a fire.

A pair of hands using a black and yellow screw driver and fixings on a piece of MDF furniture such as a cabinet.

What Could an 18mm MDF Board be Used For?

An 18mm thickness will be strong enough for a variety of uses within furniture, and can also be used within a building project, though MDF will not support structural applications.


18mm MDF boards can form various furniture items, from shelving to bookcases to cabinets to wardrobes. MDF is affordable, consistent, and free of natural defects. It can easily be decorated by you, or bought pre-decorated with a melamine finish. A great deal of economy furniture will be made from MDF, due to its affordable price point and suitable strength. For a more visually fetching look, opting for veneered MDF will give the look of a real softwood or hardwood at the reduced price of MDF.

Wall Panelling

MDF boards can also be used as wall panelling, painted over to give a beautiful smooth appearance to a wall. You can use beams of different thicknesses to create a texture, such as a grid, lines, or something more creative. 18mm MDF boards can therefore be used to create an attractive look on your interior walls.

How to Cut 18mm MDF Boards

The most important thing to keep in mind when sanding and cutting MDF is the amount of dust that will be thrown up from either a board or sheet, including formaldehyde from some MDF. This means that you will need to use a gas mask, eye protection, tight long sleeves and gloves when working with MDF. It also means that all cutting should be done in a clear, aerated room and that all dust should be cleaned away afterwards. You should prioritise health and safety by not cutting in confined spaces, and working outdoors if possible.

For straight cuts, you should use a circular saw, with a fine blade to avoid splintering your MDF board. When looking to do more complex cuts you should use a jigsaw with a bi-metal cutting blade, preferably one with many small teeth.

What is the Weight of an 18mm MDF Board?

MDF boards are dense and heavy, with a higher weight than comparable engineered woods. As 18mm is on the thicker end of MDF boards this will also contribute to the heaviness. You can expect an 18mm MDF board to weigh about 12.60 kg/m². 

What is the Price of an 18mm MDF Board?

At Building Materials Nationwide our 2400mm x 1200mm 18mm MDF board costs around £42 before VAT, roughly £14.50 per m2. You can expect to pay more for specialist boards such as fire-resistant boards or moisture-resistant boards.

Our Range of 18mm MDF Boards For Sale

Building Materials Nationwide works with members of the building industry and DIYers alike, offering a comprehensive range of building supplies delivered to them across the UK. We stock a range of sheet materials including 18mm MDF sheets for sale through our website. For customers within the industry, we also offer trade accounts, giving access to our full network of suppliers, our lightning-fast delivery options, and the services of a dedicated account manager. Sign up for a trade account today.