Can mdf be used in a bathroom?

Bathrooms present a challenge to the material you use there, the warm showers, steam, and the dropping wet towel there can badly ruin the flooring. Make sure to pick the suitable one. 

If you are planning to add MDF panels to your bathroom’s walls, floors, or whatever the place is. There are a few certain things that we think will help you make a better decision. Read more: Is MDF waterproof?

Let’s get started.

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Is it okay to use MDF in a bathroom?

There are many suppliers who will recommend that MDF is acceptable for bathrooms. With the type of MDF boards, you should choose the one which is already painted or advertised as waterproof MDF.Types of MDF.

But in reality, it’s not the right material; if you prefer one that will last for a long time, always choose real natural wood. As a result, MDF panels are only durable for 5-7 years after that, they will start to look really bad.

The MDF is tough, and not suitable for areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoors where humidity is the concern. But many homeowners have used MDF in their bathrooms; panels and flooring mainly.

Despite the fact, that MDF is not going to last as long as oak, teak, and other hardwoods, it’s still a popular choice for many. Since it’s a cheaper alternative. A plus point for why people use MDF in bathrooms.


Even though MDF material is prone to absorb water, and humidity effects, and can result in wrapping and expanding when exposed longer to water contact. Using finishing oils or paint can protect itfor a longer period and can increase its durability. But at the end of the day, MDF baords can not hold the water.

Tips to use MDF in the bathroom

There are qualities in MDF. The normal one, standard MDF is basically manufactured for a range of applications. Besides, there are MDFsheets available that are a good choice in humid areas, like MR MDF.

  • So you should buy waterproof MDF if you don’t want to do so by yourself. A normal MDF can be waterproof by applying finishes such as stains, oils, and paints. Read more: How to protect MDF
  • But if you don’t want all this extra work hassle and want to avoid staining or painting. Then by paying some extra money you can buy painted or stained MDF boards. Which is a better choice to be used in bathrooms.

How to waterproof an MDF for the bathroom.

It is possible to waterproof MDF for outdoor use, bathroom flooring, or kitchen floor coverings. Here’s how.

The following instructions will teach you how to paint an MDF surface to make it waterproof. or use it in the bathroom. If Different finishes also work well. choose to use. Take this into consideration before you start painting. Apply the primer coat first before coating MDF with paint. Many people do not apply a primer coat because it takes a long time, but it will help the paint adhere more effectively.


Start with sanding the MDF surface that you will use in the bathroom. Use a smooth coarse sand grit, 200 or 220 will keep the surface smooth.


After sanding is done. You should Apply the primer now. 

Use oil-based primer if the paint you’re going to apply is also oil-based. Moreover, oil-based primers and paints resist moisture better than water-based primers, making them great for applications such as bathroom flooring.

The primer must be cured for six hours.


Having applied the primer and allowed it to cure to the touch. 

This is the time to apply moisture-resistant paint. Brush some paint along the edges of the MDF. Roll some paint across the remaining surface. It is recommended to let the first layer of the paint dry for four hours, before applying another.

To make an MDF water-resistant, a minimum of 3 coats of paint is required. Mind, each of the coats must be cured before the second comes.

Why you should not use MDF in the bathroom?

Below are highlighted reasons why using MDF in a bathroom is not a good idea.

  • MDF, regardless of the grade, at some point when contact with water gets swell. 
  • In a bathroom, there is no place where the water does not touch. Using MDF material for flooring, furniture, and cabinets will become swell and weak.
  • Only High-Grade MDF boards can resist longer in areas like the bathroom, but they are expensive.
  • MDF boards need to be treated with oil-based paint before using in the bathroom.

Frequently asked questions:

Is MDF shiplap OK in a bathroom? 

A bathroom can use shiplap, regardless of whether it’s made of wood or MDF, just as long as it’s protected. This means that you should apply the finishing coat or final protective coat to make a shiplap last longer.

Is MDF or plywood better for a bathroom? 

If you have two options between MDF and Plywood. Then choose plywood if you have durability even in using plywood in the bathroom’s paneling. Why? Plywoods are way more durable and strong than MDF.

Unlike MDF which is basically a wood fibers product. Plywoods are manufactured using multiple veneers glued together in a cross-grain pattern, increasing the results.

But don’t think that plywoods won’t need finishing coats. As a matter of fact, every wooden material needs to be protected from moisture. Including, expensive woods like teak, cherry, maple, and walnut.

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