Interior Fitments


4. Shopfitting using MDF


MDF is being used increasingly in large stores and smaller shops for wall panelling, storage racks, counters and special display features. MDF panels cut in many different shapes can be surfaced with veneer to create a warm atmosphere associated with wood. Melamine surfaced MDF or panels surfaced with plastics laminate can be used in food shops where hygiene and easily cleaned surfaces are important considerations or for applications where the surfaces are likely to be subject to heavy use, counter tops for instance. Alternatively, the MDF surfaces and edges can be painted with solid colours or any one of the special decorative effects such as rag rolling or marbling. Translucent stains which enhance the natural features of the MDF surface with a protective clear lacquer topcoat are particularly effective.

Slotted wall panels and column claddings are often used to increase the amount of space available for display without restricting customer circulation space. A wide range of metal and plastics fittings which clip into the slots are available for supporting shelves, racks or individual items. These systems have great versatility as the displays can be changed easily without the need for disruptive shopfitting works. Easily moved island units can be constructed using slotted MDF panels, again making good use of limited space.

MDF can be used for more conventional display and storage units taking advantage of its good load bearing characteristics when used as shelving. Curved panels can be constructed for decorative effect or as a safety feature using single sheets of thin MDF or, where higher impact strength is required, laminated or formable MDF. MDF counter tops can be manufactured with bullnose edges and rounded corners as an additional safety feature, using simple machining and finishing procedures.

Interior designers have used MDF to create special effects for the display of high quality merchandise, designer clothes, jewellery and gift wares, for instance. Concealed lighting behind MDF pelmets and recessed panelling enhances the visual effect.

Although standard MDF is suitable for most shop fitting applications, flame retardant grades are available for applications where compliance with national or local fire regulations is a requirement. Surfacing materials which do not downgrade the flame retardent properties of the MDF should be used.