The working wall near the stove and countertop is the most problematic area in the entire room. An apron for a kitchen made of MDF is designed to protect it from pollution, moisture penetration, while such a product can decorate any interior for a fairly small amount of money. A big advantage of aprons made of slabs was the ease of installation, which any beginner in the construction business can handle.
How to choose an apron for the kitchen from MDF
When choosing an apron from MDF, the priority is to find a quality certified product. This directly affects the durability and compliance with environmental standards.
The length of a standard MDF sheet is 3.2 and 2.8 m, height — 60 cm, which allows you to completely cover the wall between the countertop and the upper hinged parts of the kitchen set of various configurations. In the case of a hood, it becomes necessary to purchase an additional sheet and docking elements.
To simplify installation, you can make an apron to order with given dimensions, but this will cost a little more.
An important factor is the thickness of the material — it can be 4.6 mm, less often — 8–12 mm.
Types of coatings for MDF panels
The way the MDF board is coated determines its durability and appearance. There are 4 types of coatings:
- Lamination — processing with melamine paper of any color and PVC film.
- Coloring — applying several layers of paint.
- Veneering is used to create the texture of natural wood.
- Laminating — coating MDF with a layer of durable plastic, as a result, a product is made that looks like glass. In combination with an additional layer of varnish, such boards are heat-resistant, do not allow moisture to pass through and are practically not afraid of mechanical damage. The plastic coating method is most often used in the manufacture of kitchen aprons.
The most popular are aprons made of MDF with photo printing, made in several ways: applying an image directly to the plate using ink, gluing a plastic film with a ready-made image. The most expensive and reliable is the method of applying an image to the acrylic surface of an MDF panel and additional coating with a layer of protective varnish.
The variety of colors and images of finished MDF aprons is endless — the whole palette of colors, landscapes, different kitchen themes, flora in a multifaceted representation, even 3D images. Such a piece of furniture, depending on the right choice, can become a decoration of the room, but it can also spoil the picture thought out before.
Work walls look good in one tone with a table top or even one color, which hides the transition between them and visually increases the working area. For the same purpose, in small kitchens it is better to use light panels.
When choosing the color of the apron, the hostess should remember that most of her time will be spent in the kitchen. Do not choose annoying and defiant shades. It is better to give preference to soothing neutral colors: delicate shades of yellow and brown, white, light gray, blue are acceptable. The exception is bright colors in combination with pastel colors of the entire interior or personal preferences.
Refresh the interior of the kitchen can photo printing. Then the working wall will turn into an elegant addition to the interior, and the variety of colors of the picture will be able to combine even radically different parts of kitchen sets into one whole.
Advantages and disadvantages
The popularity of MDF aprons is due to many factors, the main of which are:
- Affordable price along with high moisture‑, heat- and wear-resistant characteristics.
- Wide selection of colors and patterns. Possibility of custom printing.
- Compliance with environmental regulations.
- Ease of care. Attractive appearance even after prolonged use.
- Installing an apron in the kitchen does not require special skills and expensive tools.
- The high density of MDF prevents deformation, allows fastening even on an uneven surface.
Like any material, MDF apron has a number of disadvantages:
- Unprotected during installation, the cut edges of the plate quickly and strongly absorb moisture, which renders the entire product unusable.
- The use of synthetic coating materials leads to the release of hazardous toxic substances in case of fire.
- Susceptibility to products containing aggressive alkaline components.
Interesting solutions in interior design
In addition to being protective, the apron also has an aesthetic function. Manufacturers and designers are constantly expanding their range, coming up with more and more daring solutions. Such a simple interior detail can become a piece of the sea coast, an open window to the terrace, a path that goes deep into the forest.
There are several progressive ideas that radically change the concept of a work wall as a flat, solid surface. If the thickness of the wall allows, holes are pre-drilled in the apron and built-in small niches are created for kitchen trifles. This solution allows you to increase the functionality of the space.
Small kitchens can be decorated in the form of a large stove with a live fire pattern on the apron. And in large ones — divide the working wall into zones and arrange each in different styles with sharp or smooth transitions between them.
Fans of taking notes can hang an apron in the kitchen with a special coating on which they write with chalk. It is more difficult to care for such a surface, but it does not hold uniqueness.
Marking and cutting MDF sheets
To get a good result after installing the apron, you must first make the correct calculations.
If the kitchen set is not installed, the first unit of account will be the distance from the floor to the surface of the countertop. Standard floor cabinets have a height of 85 cm. It will become the lower threshold for installing the apron.
The width of the finished MDF board is 60 cm. The same distance is maintained between the floor and hinged parts of the kitchen set. If the height is less, the slab should be cut off or brought behind the furniture (in this case, the thickness of the sheet is also taken into account). If the dimensions are larger, it is required to provide for the purchase of additional material and docking fittings. The same applies to the surface under the hood.
The length of the apron should match the length of the kitchen set, taking into account the possible wall covering on the sides. Before installation, you need to take into account the location of sockets and switches, under which holes are cut in advance.
After carrying out all measurements and calculations, you can order a finished MDF kitchen apron according to the dimensions that are specified. Or purchase the required amount of material and perform marking and cutting at home.
To cut an MDF panel, you need ordinary tools with fine and sharp teeth: a hacksaw, an electric jigsaw or a circular saw. If you use a tool with large teeth, the cut edges will turn out to be uneven, the MDF will begin to crumble and delaminate.
When designing an apron from several sheets with a pattern, you need to carefully fit its details so as not to disturb the overall composition.
How to install an apron in the kitchen from MDF
There are several ways to install an MDF apron with your own hands, especially if the kitchen furniture is already installed.
When mounting on a clean wall, follow the steps below:
- Clean the wall, eliminate rough irregularities, treat with an antiseptic and a primer.
- Accurately determine the location of the apron, align the horizontal lower and upper lines using the building level.
- Apply a highly visible marking to the wall.
- Under the bottom line, screw a mounting plate to the wall, which will be both a support and a reference point.
Use of adhesive during installation
The simplest is the installation of the apron with mounting glue. In this case, it is not necessary to drill holes, but dismantling will be laborious. Reuse of the removed apron will not be possible.
Glue is applied directly to the MDF sheet around the entire perimeter. The central part is covered with horizontal or vertical stripes every 10–15 cm. The processed apron is applied to the right place and pressed. Approximate drying time of the adhesive is 14 hours.
Fastening with dowels and screws
In order to fix the apron with self-tapping screws, you first need to drill holes on the panel itself at the attachment points. To seal the material in the holes, silicone liners and metal inserts with threads are used to screw in decorative chrome-plated caps.
Then the panel is applied to the wall and marks are applied. Holes are drilled and dowels are installed. At the end, an MDF apron is attached with self-tapping screws. The attachment points are hidden with caps.
Fasteners with aluminum profile
With kitchen cabinets installed, the kitchen apron can be installed using aluminum profiles, which are prudently equipped with silicone seals to firmly hold the MDF panel.
First, the bottom profile is attached to the wall with self-tapping screws, into which parts of the apron are inserted. Then the panel is tilted a little, put on the top profile, pressed against the wall and screwed to the cabinets.
The ends of the plank are hidden with decorative overlays. If necessary, a special plinth is attached directly to the profile.
Sometimes the panel is created from several parts, equipped with special grooves for reliable connection to each other. Before installing a prefabricated apron, a crate is assembled on the wall with a step of jumpers corresponding to the size of the constituent elements. To attach these elements to the bars, clamps are used — special metal parts that are put on the inner groove of the panel and screwed to the crate.
The final step is to seal the joints between the countertop and the backsplash with silicone and install the baseboard.
Caring for a finished MDF kitchen apron
It is easy to take care of the MDF kitchen worktop. It is easy to clean, does not absorb moisture and grease.
To remove dirt, simply wash the surface with a soft cloth and non-aggressive cleaning agents. Do not use abrasive powders, hard brushes — this will eventually lead to scratches, loss of shine and attractiveness.
After washing, the apron is rubbed with a dry, clean cloth without the use of any auxiliary means.