MDO Plywood – Medium Density Overlay

When it comes to installing fascia, exterior panels, siding, or cabinets, plywood is an essential material. However, you’ve likely encountered various types of plywood in your search for materials. You may have heard experts recommend something called ‘MDO Plywood,’ but understanding what exactly that means can be confusing. It’s not as straightforward as you might think, and deciphering what ‘MDO’ stands for can feel like a guessing game. In this article we will explain what MDO Plywood actually is, its advantages, how we made MDO Plywood, comparison between MDO and MDF.

What is MDO Plywood?

MDO plywood (Medium Density Overlay) is an exterior-grade plywood with a high-quality fiber surface saturated with phenolic resin solids. The plywood below the fiber face is smooth, clear and free of patches, providing a smooth surface with minimal grain showing through. Medium Density Overlay (MDO) is a plywood product with countless applications. Commercial contractors and home building industry individuals use MDO as a durable, versatile material. Designed for exterior use with waterproof adhesive, it is also utilized for interior purposes where there is moisture or anywhere plywood is used.

> Read more: Understanding Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and Its Production Process

What is MDO plywood used for?

MDO is a very versatile plywood and can be used for a large variety of applications. Here are some of the most common:

Outdoor Signs

MDO is often referred to as signboard. Because of its resistance to weather and moisture, and its smooth painting surface, it is perfect for making outdoor signs.

Concrete Forms

Anytime you are laying down concrete for a walkway or patio, you cannot just pour the concrete and hope for the best. You need a form for the concrete to fill before it hardens. Many contractors will create concrete forms out of MDO plywood because they are easier to assemble and take down, and the smooth, even surface allows for easier cleanup after the concrete has set.

> Read more: Plywood For Concrete Formwork – VINAWOOD

Exterior Siding

MDO is an attractive looking plywood, which is one reason why it is great for external siding. It also has insulating properties, which can provide a home with temperature control and cut down on energy bills. Additionally, you can also use it for fascias, chimney enclosures, garage door panels, fences, and more.

Interior Applications

As briefly mentioned before, MDO plywood has some internal applications as well. Cabinet jambs, countertops, wainscoting panels, shelving, bins, molding, floors, walls, and so much more. Because MDO is so durable and safe to use, you can literally use it for anything!

What are the benefits of MDO plywood?

MDO’s Strength

MDO Plywood stands stronger than other materials such as MDF. Its strength is what makes it appropriate for significant projects. It involves using high-quality adhesives and wood veneers in the processing step. Because of such excellent material, the end product MDO Form Plywood is long-lasting. The structural integrity of this plywood is untouchable, even if you put heavier objects on it. Its tensile strength (the force needed to break wood into two) is higher. Any construction project can never go wrong with MDO Plywood in Vietnam. 

Plywood Durability

MDO is a highly double material and lasts longer than other construction wood. It has uniform strength and high durability. Its ability to withstand high pressure and endure extreme weather conditions makes it suitable for exterior use.

> Read more: Understanding Pressure Treated Plywood – VINAWOOD


Density is the most critical factor for choosing plywood for your construction project. Strength and durability are directly influenced by density. The density stats tell how good the wood is with dents and dings.

MDO Form Plywood has medium density but is denser than MDF. MDO was created in response to MDF’s weakness and inability to stand in severe conditions. 

MDO 1S Panel
MDO 1S Panel, a single-sided medium density overlay (MDO) coated plywood designed to cater to your formwork needs. 

Ideal Weight

When it comes to home construction, developers prefer lightweight materials. The only thing to consider is that being light in weight should not weaken other characteristics such as durability and strength. Medium-Density Overlay Plywood is lightweight, making it easier for you to transport it from one place to another. You do not even have to compromise on other features because MDO is strong despite the low weight. 

Low Maintenance

MDO Form Plywood requires little maintenance, yet, it looks appealing in aesthetic ways. You can use it without applying paint to get a typical wood texture. Whether you use it indoors or outdoors, the insulating features of MDO will contribute to the temperature upkeep of your home.

Easy to Work

MDO Plywood is not only easy to use but also soft on tools. Its flexibility sets it apart from other materials. The smooth surface of MDO can either be left as it is or be painted. The point is that the surface is already sanded enough and ready to be applied.

Even if the construction project is vast and involves a lot of tools, the good news is screws work just fine on MDO without cracking the surrounding area.

When working in a four-walled room, the mess can get chaotic, making things complex for you. But with MDO, you can work peacefully because it creates a lesser and more controllable mess. Because it makes no dusty powder, it takes no time to spread in the room and coat things. An average vacuum cleaning session is enough to clear out after MDO chaos. 

> Read more: 3/4 – 4 Ft X 8 Ft – MDO 2S Panel – MDO Plywood – VINAWOOD


MDO Form Plywood is quite versatile since you can use it for different applications. It does not catch infections even with high humidity or any extreme conditions. Thus, interior, exterior, home, office, buildings, and plazas can all be used in the construction without worrying about the quality. 

Save Electricity

If you want to choose the plywood that can help you save electricity, MDO should be your decision. Yes, it has credible insulating features. These properties can positively influence temperature control, eventually cutting energy usage. The best exterior applications of this plywood can be garage window/door panels, fences, chimney enclosures, and many more.

What is the process for creating MDO Plywood?

MDO (Medium Density Overlay) plywood is crafted by layering thin sheets of grade C and grade B wood perpendicular to each other, ensuring structural stability. Between these layers, a waterproof plastic layer is added, and the entire assembly is fused together under heat and pressure. The outer layers are composed of waterproof resin-impregnated fibers, rendering MDO fully waterproof. Its core is constructed from layers of wood and plastic, bonded with hydraulic pressure and heat, with individual core layers placed perpendicular to each other.

MDO boasts a matte, opaque surface resembling paper, with subtle wood grain visible. It can be obtained with coatings on one or both sides, and can be easily cut, shaped, sanded, and drilled using standard woodworking equipment, much like other plywood varieties.

> Read more: Plywood Sizes & Thickness: Essential Dimensions

Medium Density Overlay (MDO) boards.
Medium Density Overlay (MDO) boards.

Is MDO better than MDF?

MDO plywood is often considered superior to MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) due to several factors. Its strength and durability make it ideal for structural applications that require bearing heavy loads, such as floorboards and shelves. Additionally, MDO’s weather resistance, attributed to its waterproof resin layer, sets it apart from MDF, which tends to swell and degrade when exposed to moisture. While MDO is more expensive upfront, its longevity and lower likelihood of needing replacement make it a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Furthermore, MDO is safer to cut than MDF, as it produces less dust and does not contain formaldehyde. The surface of MDO plywood is also well-suited for painting, providing a smooth and even finish. Overall, MDO plywood’s durability, weather resistance, and suitability for heavy-duty applications make it a preferred choice over MDF for many projects.

> Read more: What Is Marine Grade Plywood?

MDF plywood
MDF plywood

Is MDO water proof?

MDO plywood is water-proof and weather-resistant. This plywood is often used for exterior signs. MDO plywood can be sawn, nailed, routed, shaped and drilled. Although this product is designed for exterior use, it works well inside the home in areas that need to be smooth and hold up well to moisture.

Can MDO plywood be used outside?

Medium-density overlay plywood is durable plywood that is used primarily for outdoor applications due to its weather-resistant nature. In addition to its exceptional durability, MDO plywood is very easy to finish and paint

Is MDO stronger than plywood?

MDO is the abbreviation of medium density overlay. It is the kind of plywood that is more expensive and stronger than any ordinary plywood. It is perfect to be used above concrete surfaces because it does not transfer any wood grains into the base

Where to buy MDO plywood near me?

Vinawood’s MDO Plywood is designed to stand the test of time, demonstrating excellent resistance to weather conditions, moisture, wear and tear. Available in multiple variants — MDO 1S Panel, MDO 1SF Panel, MDO 1SF Panel with Film backer – High Density – Purple Color, and MDO 2S Panel — we cater to diverse needs and budgets.

Beyond product excellence, our commitment to sustainable practices ensures that you’re choosing an eco-friendly product that meets strict environmental standards. As a certified supplier, our source is only from responsible plantation forests, so you can feel good about your choice.


Explore the capabilities of Vinawood MDO Plywood and discover how it can elevate your construction projects.

Vinawood is committed to sustainability, sourcing logs only from responsible plantation forests. Our MDO Plywood not only meets your construction needs but also contributes to global efforts in forest conservation. Rest assured that when you choose Vinawood, you’re choosing a product that respects our planet.