Choosing the best screws for MDF is a tricky task. MDF is not like any other wood. It is denser than plywood and stronger than particle board. Without the right steps, you will end up with split workpiece or two loosely-pulled-together pieces.
This is why many brands have come up with their own screw lines exclusively for MDF. However, specially designed screws are not enough. You should know the right techniques to apply to this type of wood.
Here I will share with you the screws, which I think, are the best for holding MDF. I also add a step-by-step guide on how to use these screws right.
Now let’s dive in.
Best screws for MDF
Spax MDF Screws have a special design to prevent splitting the Medium Density Fiberboard (or usually known as MDF). It is also great for hardwoods, lightweight, high-density polyurethane trim, and does not require pre-drilling.
Spax MDF Screws are able to do this because they have a one of a kind CUT Point.
This unique feature is supported by patented thread serrations. They combine to great effect, making splitting less likely to happen, even without pre-drilling.
However, these are not the only highlights of this screw line. Spax MDF Screws also have a T-Star drive, which gives your work extra bit engagement.
If you are ever in the situation that fibers from the drill holes raise up and prevent the two pieces from pulling tightly, you will be thrilled to know that this screw line is designed with trim head and cutting ribs, which can help avoid this problem.
DynaPlus MDF screws are designed to hold MDF pieces tightly without splitting.
Although it does not require, you had better pre-drill when you want to drill anywhere near the three centimeters on the edge of the pieces.
DynaPlus MDF screws’ pull-out strength is high, which supports a strong connection between the two pieces.
The 75° flathead with cutting nibs is another plus. It will result in a smooth and clean countersunk.
Both Spax and DynaPlus screws are available at most Lowe’s Home Improvement stores so there should be no problem getting some.
>>> Read more: How to hide screws in wood in just a minute
How to screw into MDF without splitting
The most common question that I get recently regarding MDF is “can you use screws in MDF?”.
While the answer is definitely yes, it is not as easy as with regular plywood or solid wood.
I assume that by now you have already known the best screws for MDF. But if for some reasons, you are unable to get some, here I will show you how to make use of regular screws.
The shank of common woodscrews has a wedge-like shape. So if you don’t drill the pilot hole and shank hole right, the workpiece can easily be split in half.
This might sound a bit too complicated but trust me on this, the technique I share below is relatively easy. The result is exactly what you expect: a screw driven perfectly into a piece of MDF:
Step 1: Switch to sheet metal screw
Replace your woodscrews with sheet metal screws.
The shank of this screw type is straight, so it’s less likely to split the MDF. I also use screws that are about ½’ to ¾’ longer than I would use for plywood or solid wood. This will ensure stronger holding power.
Step 2: Drill the shank hole
The sheet metal screws will do the job best when you the shank hole and the pilot hole are drilled just right. Use a bit that just a little larger than the outer diameter of the threads.
This will make sure that the screw will slip right through the hole and pull the two pieces down tightly. I usually use this technique to size the hole accurately.
Step 3: Make a countersink
If you have tried screwing two MDF pieces together, you will notice that fibers from the bottom piece have the tendency to rise up and keep the two parts from pulling tightly together.
To deal with this problem, I usually make a small countersink where the shank hole is visible from the top piece before I drill the pilot hole. The raised fibers will fill the countersink and without affecting the fit of the two parts.
Step 4: Drill the pilot hole
Now you are ready to drill the pilot hole. It should be as wide as the inner diameter of the screw threads.
To prevent splitting and a bulge on the other side of the piece, I usually drill the pilot hole a little deeper than the point that the tip of the screw will be at.
I have done this hundred of time and I can ensure with confidence it works.
So if you follow the steps carefully, you will never have to wonder do screws hold in MDF anymore because I am sure you, they do.
1. Can you screw into melamine?
You can screw into melamine but you will need a pilot hole first.
If there is no drill available, you can pound a finishing nail half the way through then pull it out. Tighten the screw just enough in order not to make it strips.
2. Which is the best screw for 18 mm MDF?
3. Can you glue MDF to wood?
The answer is yes but you will need a bit of extra work.
MDF is permeable, so it will absorb any liquid that it comes into contact with. So in order to glue MDF, a layer of coating or two is required before you apply any kind of glue on it. Rustins’ is a good choice when it comes to this kind of job. It’s water-based, effective, and cheaper than any other substances I have tried.
To glue MDF, PVA will do the job just fine. However, you might want to put on the surface more glue than usual. PVA comes in two slightly different types, the long open time one, and another type that takes quite a short time to dry.
4. Should I use something to support the screws? Like particle board screw anchors?
If you use what I recommend as the best screws for MDF with the technique I share, there is no need for further support.