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Is OSB Board Waterproof?

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 01/07/2022

OSB or Oriented Strand Board, has become a popular alternative to traditional plywood.

While it offers a number of benefits, many are still concerned whether it’s robust enough if exposed to water or high levels of moisture.


Table of Contents

  1. What is OSB Board?
  2. Is OSB Board Waterproof?
  3. Should I Waterproof Seal OSB Board?
  4. Can OSB Board Get Wet?
  5. Can I Use OSB Board Outside?
  6. How to Protect OSB Board from Rain
  7. How to Make OSB Board Waterproof
  8. Conclusion

What is OSB Board?


Image credit: Wikipedia

OSB was invented back in 1963 by Armin Elmendorf.

This wood sheeting is made from 95% wood chips and 5% adhesive.

Indeed, OSB is made by mixing resin with strands of young wood to achieve a hard board.

This is then waterproofed to increase its durability.

This is very important especially if the OSB boards will be used in outdoor applications.

OSB boards are becoming quite popular as they are considerably thicker than plywood boards, and thus stronger than its counterpart as well.

OSB boards are used in various applications, including flooring, roof decks and even to make furniture.

Is OSB Board Waterproof?

OSB is made using waterproof resin adhesives.

The process that such boards undergo to be manufactured makes them highly water resistant.

This is due to the fact that the voids between the strands are very small.

Whatever gaps may be present, they will be filled with heat-cured waterproof resin adhesive and wax, in order to bond the wood chipping to each other.

As a result, all the wood strands in the board are coated, making the board water-resistant.

The edges are also treated with a sealer.

This gives the board additional moisture protection.

Even though OSB boards undergo such a process during manufacturing, it’s still best to fortify them with additional moisture protection before using them in an actual application.

This is because OSB boards are not exactly 100% waterproof, but are more accurately considered reasonably water-resistant.

It’s impossible to prevent water absorption completely as at the end of the day, this is a wood-based product.

However when compared with other types of materials, such as MDF boards for example, OSB is considerably better when it comes to moisture resistance.

Should I Waterproof Seal OSB Board?

Yes, it is a good idea to waterproof seal OSB boards.

When buying OSB boards, make sure that they have the ‘waterproof’ mark applied.

This is found on the back of the boards.

Despite this, it is still recommended to waterproof OSB boards, especially if they are going to be in an outdoor setting.

Can OSB Board Get Wet?


Image credit: Wikipedia

Generally speaking OSB boards are able to withstand 4 weeks of continuous moisture exposure.

There are even some which are rated to withstand up to 200 days of exposure without sustaining any damage.

However, if untreated cut boards are exposed to rain or standing water, the moisture absorption will be too excessive, so there’s a chance that swelling could occur.

If water exposure is prolonged, delamination is highly likely to result.

Therefore, OSB boards should not be left to get wet unnecessarily.

Painting or staining, and undergoing a waterproofing treatment is highly recommended, especially if the boards will be in an exterior setting.

Long term moisture exposure should be avoided, and if possible the boards should be covered or protected.

Can I Use OSB Board Outside?

OSB board can withstand exposure in an outdoor setting quite well.

It is important that if it’s going to be left outdoors, you choose OSB boards that are highly moisture resistant.

Hence, the boards should be packed with more strands, resin and wax to have superior moisture resistance level.

Such boards are classified as class 3 and they are the best type for humid conditions.

Such boards should also be given an additional layer of waterproofing as described above.

This offers them more resistance against moisture and water, which will inevitably be more present in an outdoor setting.

How to Protect OSB Board from Rain

If OSB boards are going to be left outdoors, ideally they should be covered to protect them from rain and moisture.

An odd rain shower should not cause much damage.

But if they’re exposed to several hours of rain, then they could end up swelling.

Covering with tarpaulin is also a good option to protect OSB boards from rain.

Another option is to spray them with exterior grade paint or a water sealer.

This is especially important for any cut edges on the boards.

If the boards have been used on roofs, they could be covered with roofing paper.

If they are used on walls they could be covered with a weather resistant barrier before siding.

Priming, painting or staining after construction has been completed is important.

How to Make OSB Board Waterproof


Image credit: Amazon

Make sure that you plan carefully before cutting the boards.

This is because whenever you cut, the sealer that was at the edges will be removed, and as a result moisture can be absorbed more easily into that area.

So waterproofing will need to be done after you’ve made the required cutting.

To make OSB boards more water resistant you can paint them.

If you are going to do this, it is best to paint them prior to carrying out the waterproofing process.

This will enable the paint layer to also be protected from water and moisture.

You may choose either latex-based or oil-based paint.

To waterproof OSB boards, choose a good quality waterproofing solution from any local hardware store.

Check that it can be applied to wood.

The solution can be applied by using a paintbrush, while making sure you coat all the board.

It is best to apply a second coating, and allow around 12 hours for the waterproofing to dry sufficiently.

Conclusion

OSB is a timber construction material that’s highly resistant to moisture.

When compared to other types of wood panels, it has a much slower moisture absorption rate.

Additionally, it can be water and weatherproofed for additional resistance, especially if it is going to be used outdoors.

This can be done very easily by using water repellent paints or stains.


How to Paint MDF

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 01/06/2022

Nowadays, MDF is a commonly used material for furniture as well as for various construction projects.

This affordable engineered wood material is very versatile, easy to cut and quite durable too.

Thanks to its smooth surface it can also be painted, and that is just what we will be focusing on here.

Painting MDF calls for a good understanding of the material itself, as well as being aware of certain things to make sure that it produces a good looking finish.


Table of Contents

  1. Can You Paint MDF?
  2. Pros & Cons of MDF
  3. Tools & Materials
  4. Surface Preparation
  5. Edge Preparation
  6. Apply Primer
  7. Apply Paint
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Conclusion

Can You Paint MDF?


Image credit: Pexels

Often the answer to this question is debatable.

MDF can be painted as long as you are careful how to go about it.

MDF is basically made up of a combination of sawdust and resins.

These are bonded together by means of a process involving very high heat and pressure.

MDF is free of knots, rings and grains which are present in real wood.

Consequently it has a smooth surface which can be painted.

However one needs to be extra careful when it comes to the uniformity that can be achieved when painting MDF.

This is because the edges are considerably porous, and so they require more prep to achieve the best results.

Moreover, since MDF is porous it is not a good idea to use water-based products for the first coating.

Any painting project requires some preparation to ensure the best results.

And one needs to make sure that the right paint is used, coupled up with the right approach.

MDF has a 150 grit on the front and back, whereas its edges are more rough and porous.

So it is crucial to ensure that they are properly prepared in order to create a uniform substrate which is ideal for the paint to be applied upon.

We shall be tackling this in more detail hereunder.

Pros & Cons of MDF


Image credit: Pexels

Pros:

  • Since MDF does not have a visible grain, it has a uniform appearance.
  • MDF is made from very small fibres which also contribute to a smooth surface which is good for painting.
  • MDF is not that volatile to movement in relation to a natural wood surface, and this helps the paint from cracking.

Cons:

  • Since there is no grain, it is not possible to gain a texture that can be achieved when wood is stained.
  • MDF is considerably porous and so it is best to opt for oil-based paint rather than water-based.
  • It is best to prime and seal it first.
  • When sanding and sawing MDF prior to painting it, a lot of dust will result and so it is important to be careful and wear suitable safety gear.

Tools & Materials


Image credit: Pixabay

The following are some tools and materials you will need to prepare MDF for painting, as well as to proceed with painting it.

  • Sandpaper or electric sander
  • Radiator brush
  • Radiator roller
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Sealer
  • Face mask
  • Eye protection
  • Drop cloths

Surface Preparation

The first step is to make sure that you carry out preparation of the surface properly.

This includes sanding, cleaning and sealing.

Sand down the MDF surface using a light key sandpaper, such as 120 grit.

Sanding will improve the adhesion of the MDF to paint.

The MDF boards will have dust, dirt or other grime on them, and so it is important to clean them before moving onto a second coating of priming and subsequently, painting.

You can use a universal cleaner which can work as a degreaser as well as a cleaner.

This can be wiped down with a cloth, so as to properly clean the surface of the MDF boards.

Edge Preparation


Image credit: Pixabay

It is very important to prepare the edges properly, especially since as mentioned earlier, MDF boards’ edges are rougher and more porous.

Hence they will absorb more moisture than the back or the front of the boards.

Preparing the edges well also ensures that they will be sealed and better able to accept the paint in a way that will better match the smooth surface of the MDF.

Prior to sealing, it is important to sand them by using a 120 grit sandpaper.

Make sure to wear protective goggles and a mask while doing so.

When the edges have been sanded, apply prime the MDF so as to seal them.

This is an important procedure before painting MDF boards.

Once the primer has been given enough time to dry, sand down the edges again.

If the edges are going to be visible, you will want to keep them as smooth as possible.

So, if there are any parts which need to be smoothed out, you may wish to apply some wood filler and rub it down.

Alternatively, you may wish to apply some MDF edging tape.

Apply Primer

Apply a second coat of primer, while making sure you apply it as evenly as you can.

This will be the final base before the painting and so a smooth result is important.

It is best to use a solvent-based primer.

This is because a water-based one might cause the wood fibres to swell, and as a result the surface might appear to have a raised grain even though you sanded it.

The primer can be applied using a roller, a brush or a spray gun, depending on your preferences and the type of project.

Apply Paint


Image credit: Pexels

Painting can be carried out by means of a mini roller or a paintbrush, depending on what you prefer.

A 4 inch roller is generally the best option for most MDF painting jobs.

A foam roller will give a smooth finish, whereas a short pile roller will add some texture to the coating.

On the other hand, if you are painting MDF with detail it is better to use a 1 or 2 inch brush so as to attain a better finish and a thin, even coat.

Allow the first coating of paint to dry completely.

Generally it is better to apply a second coating of paint so that the MDF has a good paint film.

Considering that MDF is porous, you may require more paint than you thought was necessary.

Hence, at least two coatings of paint are necessary in most cases.

You may also need to apply a third coating, especially to the edges.

If the paint looks a bit patchy across the board, this is a sign that another coating of paint is required to achieve a better result.

It is also a good idea to lightly sand between each coating, and wipe down the boards every time so as to remove the dust.

Apply Sealant

Applying a sealant is optional, however it is recommended especially if the MDF will be subjected to heavy traffic or exposed to scuffs.

Sealing will help to preserve the finish, as well as add sheen to the MDF.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is MDF Waterproof Once Painted?

Painting MDF does not mean that it will make it waterproof.

However, since you will be applying a film on the surface, it will help to considerably reduce water damage as it will be better able to resist moisture.

In order to fully waterproof MDF you will need to paint it with a dedicated water-repellant.

This is recommended in case the MDF is going to be outdoors, for example.

Q: Is painted MDF Mould Resistant?

Since painting provides additional water resistant to MDF, it can help to prevent it from remaining damp when exposed to water.

Hence, it could prevent mould from emerging.

Painting MDF is thus highly recommended if the MDF furnishings will be placed in rooms that are prone to high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms and garages.

Q: Can You Paint MDF with a Primer?

Priming MDF is optional.

You can paint MDF without having applied a primer before, however results will not be as good as they would be if primer were applied first.

This is because the MDF will absorb the paint much more quickly, and so you will end up using more paint.

Applying primer before painting can lead to smoother and better results.

Q: Is It Safe to Cut MDF?

MDF is made up of a mixture of dust, fibres and glues.

As a result, when it is cut, these will become airborne.

Should they be inhaled, they could be harmful.

Therefore, when sanding or cutting MDF it is very important that you wear a mask and eye protection to safeguard yourself.

Q: Is Oil Based or Water Based Paint Best for MDF?

Both oil based and water based paint can be used for MDF.

And as with anything else they have their respective pros and cons.

Oil based paint is considered to be more suitable than water based paint for MDF.

This is because oil based paint can lead to a higher quality finish, more sheen and better durability.

Conversely, water based paints dry more quickly and contain less VOCs. They are also easier to use and to clean up than oil based paints.

Conclusion

Making sure that you follow the various steps mentioned to properly prepare the MDF prior to painting will help you to attain a better result.


What are Kitchen Cupboards Made Of?

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 01/05/2022

If you’re planning to design a kitchen renovation, or you’re in the process of ordering a new kitchen, you may be be considering the types of materials that you can choose from.

While kitchen cupboards can be made from a variety of materials, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons of each.

This will help to better position yourself when choosing a material that suits your needs and budget, as well as offering good value for money.

After all, buying or renovating a kitchen is not something that you do very often.

So it’s best to choose appropriately for your circumstances and needs.


Table of Contents

  1. Melamine Faced Chipboard (MFC)
  2. Advantages of MFC Cupboards
  3. Disadvantages of MFC Cupboards
  4. Polyester
  5. Advantages of Polyester Cupboards
  6. Disadvantages of Polyester Cupboards
  7. Solid Wood
  8. Advantages of Solid Wood Cupboards
  9. Disadvantages of Solid Wood Cupboards
  10. Plywood
  11. Advantages of Plywood Cupboards
  12. Disadvantages of Plywood Cupboards
  13. Wood Veneers
  14. Advantages of Wood Veneers Cupboards
  15. Disadvantages of Wood Veneers Cupboards
  16. Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)
  17. Advantages of MDF Cupboards
  18. Disadvantages of MDF Cupboards
  19. High Gloss Thermofoil
  20. Advantages of High Gloss Thermofoil Cupboards
  21. Disadvantages of High Gloss Thermofoil Cupboards
  22. High Pressure Laminate
  23. Advantages of High Pressure Laminate Cupboards
  24. Disadvantages of High Pressure Laminate Cupboards
  25. Metal
  26. Advantages of Metal Cupboards
  27. Disadvantages of Metal Cupboards
  28. Conclusion

Melamine Faced Chipboard (MFC)


Image credit: CBJ Ltd

Melamine faced chipboard is the most popular material for kitchen cupboards.

In fact, the majority of kitchen cabinets in the UK are made from MFC.

Chipboard, or particle board as it’s sometimes referred to, is made from small chips of wood.

These are glued together, and compressed under high pressure to ultimately form a panel.

Then this is laminated with a melamine outer surface.

Melamine is essentially decorative printed paper.

This layer is soaked in melamine resin and then fixed to the chipboard to achieve the final product.

MFC strikes a good balance between several advantages, while remaining considerably affordable.

Let us delve a bit deeper into this type of material.

Advantages of MFC Cupboards

  • MFC is available in several designs and colours, so the likelihood is there’s something available to suit everyone’s preference.
  • Thanks to modern printing technologies, the printed patterns and effects are incredibly lifelike.
  • Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell whether it is MFC or real wood.
  • MFC cupboards are very affordable, especially if you were to compare them to solid wood or plywood cabinets.
  • One of the main advantages of MFC is that it’s a stable material. Even if subjected to changes in temperature and humidity levels, which is fairly normal in kitchens, it is not likely to warp or twist.
  • The surface of MFC is water proof and very resistant. In a kitchen where water, spills and stains are commonplace, it’s important to have such a feature so that you can wipe it clean without having to worry about damage. That said, this only applies to the melamine surface, as the chipboard panel core is most certainly not waterproof! Therefore, any spills should be wiped off immediately. This helps to prevent any liquid from reaching the edges of the panels and making its way to the chipboard core. To counter this issue, many modern panels are now sold with edge banding finishes made from water resistant adhesives that are better able to resist moisture penetration.
  • There is no need to worry about re-staining or re-sealing MFC, as the printed image is permanent. As previously mentioned, they are very easy to clean.
  • There are also automation benefits, since such panels are made to industry standard identical sizes.

Disadvantages of MFC Cupboards

  • While MFC is considerably durable, it is still a bit susceptible to dents and scratches.
  • On some cheaper options, edges can also chip very easily, exposing the chipboard core.
  • Cabinet shapes are, as a rule of thumb, squarish, and so there is no room for choice of shape.
  • Since melamine is somewhat heavy, it might be a bit prone to sagging over time.

Polyester


Image credit: Pixbay

Polyester kitchen cupboards are another option, though not quite as popular as MFC.

This material is made up of melamine which is blended with pine fibres, and then coated with polyester film.

Advantages of Polyester Cupboards

  • Polyester is quite affordable, although a little more expensive than MFC.
  • Polyester is a considerably resistant material, and it is more scratch resistant than melamine.
  • When it comes to colours and patterns, polyester is available in a myriad of different options, offering a great variety to suit diverse preferences.

Disadvantages of Polyester Cupboards

  • While polyester cupboards are quite scratch resistant, should they be scratched it is very difficult to repair or retouch them.

Solid Wood


Image credit: Pixabay

Solid wood is not a particularly popular construction material for kitchen cupboards.

This is mainly due to the fact that natural growth and contraction of solid wood makes them rather unfeasible for kitchens.

Having said that, solid wood kitchens which are freestanding, and not made to be fitted from wall to wall, are sometimes made from solid timber.

Advantages of Solid Wood Cupboards

  • While they do have some disadvantages, there’s no denying that solid wood cupboards are very stylish.
  • The natural unique tones of wood offer a timeless beauty to a kitchen.
  • With solid wood, you have the opportunity of choosing from several natural colours, from cherry and oak, to walnut and maple.
  • Other popular options are knotty pine and hickory.
  • Solid wood is highly customisable, and so one can choose according to his particular preferences.
  • Solid wood is very strong and durable, and so you will benefit from a long lasting kitchen which is highly resistant to scratches. In case of any scratches that may occur, there’s not much to worry about as you can easily repair or buff.

Disadvantages of Solid Wood Cupboards

  • The main disadvantage of solid wood is that it’s expensive, especially if the kitchen is large.
  • Unfortunately humidity causes solid wood to warp or even crack over time.
  • This is a natural reaction of solid wood to humidity.
  • Solid wood cabinets are generally treated with a waterproof finish.However, it’s still important to make sure that they are properly maintained over time, such as by using suitable, non-abrasive cleaning products.

Plywood


Image credit: Wikipedia

Plywood is becoming increasingly popular for kitchen cabinet carcasses.

Even though it generally costs more than MFC, it is structurally far stronger.

This offers advantages for fixing and assembly.

Moreover, thanks to this flexibility, it is easier to make modifications.

Advantages of Plywood Cupboards

  • The plywood surface will be varnished and easy to clean if dirty.
  • Plywood is generally considered to be very strong and durable, due to its layered construction.
  • Plywood does not require re-staining after any lengthy period of time.
  • Plywood is highly durable and resistant to shrinking and warping as well as cracking.

Disadvantages of Plywood Cupboards

  • It is important for the edges of plywood kitchen cupboards to be finished as well as the main surfaces.
  • Plywood is known to emit toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Wood Veneers


Image credit: CBJ Ltd

Chipboard kitchen cupboards can also be covered in real wood veneers.

That is, by a thin layer of real wood which is glued onto the chipboard panel.

As a result, besides the stability that chipboard can offer, there is also the added advantage of the natural variations of real wood.

Advantages of Wood Veneers Cupboards

  • Veneered cabinets look very natural as they are actually made from a thin layer of real wood, thereby offering both the look as well as the feel of natural solid wood.
  • Wood veneers are quite durable as well as resistant to warping.
  • Relatively speaking, wood veneer cabinets are cheaper than solid wood kitchen cupboards.
  • This is not a problem at all in most cases as nicks and scratches can be easily buffed out.
  • Simply wiping down with a soft damp cloth can keep these cabinets in great condition for a long time.

Disadvantages of Wood Veneers Cupboards

  • Most veneered cabinets are not as durable as solid wood.
  • In case of too much moisture the veneer will end up loosening from its base, resulting in what is commonly referred to as a bubbled look.

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)