Plywood, MFC, and MDF – What Material Should I Choose for Bathroom Furniture

Bathroom furniture has become an essential need for every modern bathroom. It adds practicality and improves the overall look too. However, when it comes to choosing the right material for your bathroom furniture, it is not a design and practicality that you will have to look at but will need to ensure that the material you are choosing is durable and can withstand the moisture in the bathroom.

Therefore, besides other factors, the material should be important when planning for a bathroom furniture installation. However, natural wood should naturally come to your mind as the best material, but other options like MFC, Ply, and MDF are also available in the market. Each of these has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is important to know what you are getting when getting a new vanity unit. 

MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard)

MFC or Melamine Faced Chipboards are a popular material used for bathroom furniture. It is made with carcass panels which have a major component of the natural wood grains that are repeatedly printed into a melamine film under extreme heat to create a denser wood sheet pr chipboard. The durability of the panel depends on its density. Perhaps, such sheets are available in various densities to full fill the needs of customers. 

The advantages of this type of wood include its easy availability and cheaper costs. So, you can be at an advantage as, in many areas, natural wood may not be available or very expensive to use in bathroom furniture. In addition to that, due to its smooth, grainless surface, the painting is easier and looks a lot better. MFC sheets are lightweight, easier to cut, and carve into different designs. That also means that bathroom furniture made with it will be lightweight and easier to move as well. Other than that, another reason for preferring this material is easier cleaning and maintenance. 

The disadvantages of MFC include its low durability. Because the wood is less dense and light, the vanity units made with it are relatively weak and can easily get damaged during transportation. That means you will need to be careful in its handling while moving to another place. Other than that, it is less suitable for moist and humid environments due to less durability. It also means your bathroom furniture may not last very long. However, in comparison to the past, new manufacturing methods introduced for MFC have improved its reliability. 


MDF or medium density fiberboard is also a kind of engineered wood made by breaking down hardwood and softwood fibers mixed and processed to convert them into panels. It has a smooth surface with no visible knots or wood grains. The first advantage of the MDF panel is that it is made with waste material like sawdust and timber chipping that is leftover after the machining process on timber. That makes it a highly cost-effective material that costs less than the ply and natural wood. So, that means bathroom furniture made with it will cost you less. Another benefit is that such material is a waste product that may go waste, making people shift to natural wood that is not good for the environment. Due to less grain, its smooth surface is perfect for painting any colour. 

Although used extensively for bathroom furniture, it has low resistance to moisture. Therefore, it is mainly recommended for relatively dry areas. However, if you want to use a bathroom where it will have exposure to moisture, it is important to waterproof it to avoid any damage. It is because you don’t seal it well; the water or any other liquid will make it swell like a sponge. However, it is still more resilient to ply and natural wood in a humid environment. 


Plywood is another type of engineered wood that is made with processed timber material from different thin wood sheets. These bind together resin and wood fiber compressed at high temperatures to create a solid panel. It is manufactured in different finishes, qualities, and thicknesses. A standard ply consists of high-grade face veneer and then the core veneer. Unlike other similar materials, it gives a grainy appearance that makes it look pretty much similar to natural wood. 

The first advantage of ply is that it is another option besides MDF and MFC for anyone looking for a cheaper alternative to natural wood. Another great thing about this material is that it can withstand humidity relatively better. So, in comparison to other similar materials, it can be preferred for both indoor and outdoor uses due to its reliability. You may find a few types of Plywood doing better in resisting moisture than others. While some types may start getting damage from humidity over time due to long term exposure.  

In addition to that, it is lighter but sturdy to hold the screws better than MDF. That means if you are looking for lighter but stronger material for a vanity unit, then it should be your preferred material. The disadvantages include difficulty sanding and painting it due to the grainy surface, which may result in chipping and splintering when tried. In addition to that, when the paint is applied, it may not look flat. So, technically it will be a bit harder to paint your plywood vanity unit.  

Our Verdict 

Because we are considering MDF, MFC, and Plywood for the bathroom, it is important that we prefer a material that can withstand the moisture environment. By comparing the pros and cons of all types of materials for a vanity unit, we can easily claim that Plywood is a better bathroom furniture material. Although MDF and MFC are also good options, keep in mind our utilization, Plywood seems a better substitute. When you only have two materials like MDF and MFD to choose from then, you should prefer MDF due to its sturdiness in a moist environment. So, according to our verdict, your preferred option for bathroom furniture is Plywood, followed by MDF and MFC

By katejo708

My name is Kate Johnson, I studied Architecture at university and that is where my passion for interior design started. I love to share my tips and tricks with my readers and help educate people on home renovations and more!

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