MDF or Hardwood Material for Stair Treads: What Should You Choose?

14 May 2020

Stair treads can be made from sturdy materials like wood, metal, plastic, or other materials. Among these materials, most property owners would choose wood as their main material for stair treads. Wood is utilised since it is lightweight, making it possible for the stair tread to support its weight. Additionally, this material may come in different finishes and designs.

Two of the most popular wood types for stair treads are medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and hardwood. They possess characteristics that may be beneficial for you. To help you out, here are some advantages and disadvantages of these wood types.

Using Medium-Density Fibreboard

MDF is a type of engineered wood that is made from recycled wood fibres, wax, and resin. This type of wood may come in different variations and grain options that naturally depends on the material size, thickness, and the wood species used to manufacture it.

One benefit of using MDF for stair treads is that it is very durable. MDF is known for its immunity to warping and cracking. This material can even withstand extreme humidity and weight of up to 90kg thanks to its overall composition and material structure. As for customisation, MDF does not have visible wood grains or knots, which allows it to be painted or stained easily. Additionally, some MDF materials can be cheap and readily sold at local stores.

Despite its great benefits, MDF may still have its shortcomings. One disadvantage of using MDF for your stair treads is that it can be easily scratched. Sanding it may solve this problem. However, sanding will only expose the fibre material of MDF, and any scratches or dents that your stair treads receive will be permanent. Moreover, this material can be heavy. So, careful planning is a must when you use this type of material for your stairs. Lastly, this material does not react well to heat. Stair treads made from MDF may sustain permanent damages when exposed to extreme heat, which is why you must be very careful about using this material especially if your stairs are exposed to heat.

Using Hardwood

Hardwood comes from angiosperm or flowering trees that are normally found in broad-leaved temperate and tropical forests. It has vessel elements or pores that transport water throughout the woods. This type of wood is naturally harder than other types of woods. However, the precise sturdiness or texture of hardwood all depends on the plant species it was harvested from.

Natural wood from the trees will always be sturdy and resilient. Any furniture and things that are made from hardwood can last for numerous decades as long as they are maintained properly. Even the construction industry utilises this property of hardwood. Aside from its long lifespan, hardwood is aesthetically pleasing due to its unique look. Since hardwood may come from different species, you can expect a lot of design options when you buy stair treads out of this material. Stair treads out of hardwood can also come in different finishes and colours.

Hardwood also has its fair share of disadvantages. Hardwood is not waterproof, making it susceptible to damages due to moulds. The infestation of wood-boring insects can also damage your hardwood stair treads. Fortunately, a high-quality finish can remedy these disadvantages. Aside from moisture and insects, hardwood can also be sensitive to temperature, which may cause it to warp and crack. Frequent fluctuations in temperature and humidity in your stairs area can damage your stair treads easily. Another disadvantage of hardwood is that it is expensive. Its price may vary due to numerous factors like sturdiness, visual appeal, and local availability.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of MDF and hardwood will help you decide which one is best suitable for your stair treads. If you want help, you can contact us anytime at Planet Stairs. We can manufacture and install staircases, balustrade, and handrails using timber, wrought iron, stainless steel, and wire cable.

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