MDF stand question
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:11 PM   #1
Xenaph
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MDF stand question


Hi,

i built a 2x4 stand as the structure as you can see there.

I precut all piece of MDF sheet.

Do i need to paint before inside sheet at all piece or only a outside sheet is necessary for water proof ?

Thank
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:13 PM   #2
paronaram
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I don't know much about about painting MDF, but I see that you have absolutely awesome cat, is it Bengal?
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
Xenaph
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Ah, no it a Savannah F4 SBT. He is 4,5 months old.
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:31 PM   #4
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Double post. ..
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:32 PM   #5
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I would absolutely paint the mdf before installing on the stand. MDF loves to absorb moisture and you want to ensure is well sealed.
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:48 PM   #6
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Paint won't make MDF waterproof at all. It will protect it a little. Water is not a friend to MDF. I would paint all sides of the MDF. In fact since you have the paint I'd so the 2 x 4s also. Why not? It will look a lot better than raw wood. I'd do it before I assembled anymore of it. Right now everything is easy to get to.

Any wood should have the same surface on all six sides. Helps mitigate moisture variances to an extent.
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Old 06-18-2014, 02:32 PM   #7
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"Paint won't make MDF waterproof at all."

Sure it will. If it's done properly. Prime and paint multiple coats so it's completely sealed - all sides/edges. As long as it remains sealed it will be fine, but it only takes a deep scratch to turn it into a sponge.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:01 PM   #8
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" but it only takes a deep scratch to turn it into a sponge. "

So it "can" become a painted sponge. In the end, it's just not the material of choice in humid or wet applications. It's biggest claims to fame is relative stability and ease of finishing; meaning it won't shrink and swell wildly the way open-cell woods like pine do and it's a snap to paint. But it's just a matter of time before it develops some break in whatever coating is applied to it and you're done.

I just bought a set of the metal shelving units that Lowe's sells touting 1,000 lb per shelf capacity. I replaced the MDF shelves with 3/4" plywood. The MDF shelves have a really interesting coating. Not paint, yet not epoxy. I stood them on end in the driveway until I could haul them away. In the ensuing monsoons that came that week, I have to say I'm impressed with whatever they coated that MDF with. It appears to be pretty tough and waterproof.........except at the uncoated edges. They didn't even sit in a puddle and were barely making ground contact on the gravel. The bottoms of the panels swelled to 4 times the panels' thickness about 2 inches up. But the rest of it was relatively unaffected by about 6 inches of rain.
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:47 PM   #9
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I've seen laminate covered MDF swell. MDO however is about waterproof. It's what signmakers use for their outdoor signs. I'll stand by what I said.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:00 PM   #10
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MDF is like a sponge when you paint it. It would take so many coats to even try to get it sealed it's not worth it. Can't you do something like oak ply for the face? A 1/2in sheet at HD of oak ply is about the same price as MDF.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:20 PM   #11
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I painted with a seal two coats inside and side, nothing outside. I will screw on the 2x4 and give another two or three coats outside side. After that, i will paint in grey or green mat.

About paint the 2x4, i want but i'm in apartment and it hard to do this.

It my first time with MDF, maybe next time i will take plywood.

@all panel is already cut.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:22 PM   #12
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If you use a couple layers of good oil base paint, you'll be fine. You may scratch the outside of the stand but it's not like you've got tons of water continuously being exposed to the exterior.

Just be careful when moving equipment on the inside and touch it up if it gets scratched. I never have much water spillage inside my stand that houses a 55 gal sump. I used particle board as a base to my stand with a couple coats of rustoleum oil base paint. Particle board is not known to be great with moisture either.

I would never use MDF as a hood material since that's continuously humid.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squiner View Post
If you use a couple layers of good oil base paint, you'll be fine. You may scratch the outside of the stand but it's not like you've got tons of water continuously being exposed to the exterior.

Just be careful when moving equipment on the inside and touch it up if it gets scratched. I never have much water spillage inside my stand that houses a 55 gal sump. I used particle board as a base to my stand with a couple coats of rustoleum oil base paint. Particle board is not known to be great with moisture either.

I would never use MDF as a hood material since that's continuously humid.
I have used MDF as a hood material, the 1/4" thickness. It worked fine, no swelling at all. Apparently there are different standards for MDF in different areas of the country. MDF here is almost waterproof. I have left scraps out on the ground over our wet winter season, and when I cleaned up the pile the next summer, there was no swelling of the scraps. I even used a couple of long thin scraps as stakes for tomato plants. They went through the summer with no problems at all, and were soaked daily when the bed was watered, plus one end was down in the ground.

Particle board and Masonite do swell badly and quickly when exposed to water. But, "wood" siding is now made of MDF as are many standard moldings, made for exterior use. I assume that in other areas MDF is a completely different material.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:23 AM   #14
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" I have to say I'm impressed with whatever they coated that MDF with"
Vinyl, melamine?? There are many coatings and grades. Some of it very good.

" Apparently there are different standards for MDF in different areas"

It varies from mill to mill. There's also High Density Fiberboard, HDF. It's about density and glue content. I've seen a lot of different grades but never anything like you described Hoppy. Good stuff!

It's true mdf isn't first choice for areas where water is present, but the surfaces on an aquarium stand are vertical and will not be holding water. With a good paint job it should be fine. Keep it sealed!
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:44 AM   #15
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I personally would not use MDF for a stand.

But to answer the original question, it is much better to paint the MDF AFTER assembling it.

I've done both ways. If you pre-paint, than the separate pieces look funny, and the paint "sandwiched" inbetween pieces of mdf is redundant and can affect fitment.

Giving a few heavy coats of paint after its assembled hides the joint lines, and will provide a better overall finish and product. And it will help create one uniform somewhat waterproof coat
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