Metal Pegboard or wood MDF Pegboard… What Should You Get?

Pegboard: metal or wood? Recently, many people are switching over from MDF pegboard to metal pegboard.

As you know, classic pegboard is made out of medium- or high-density fibreboard. Up to a few years ago, that’s all you saw in garages and workshops.

I’ve had both. I just love the old-fashioned wooden texture of classic pegboard. It has a certain charm to it. It’s also pretty easy to customize. (Here at PegBoarder, we offer customized pegboard printed with your design and delivered to your doorstep.)

However, there’s applications that I can trust my metal pegboard for that I’d never consider using a classic pegboard for. My metal pegboard, for example, hangs outside in the garden and deals with whatever weather elements nature throws at it.

 

pegboard, metal or wood?

In order to pick one over the other you have to take a few factors into consideration.

In this article, we’ll investigate the following factors:

1. Loading capacity

2. Durability

3. Installation

4. Usability

5. Price

 

via GIPHY

Let’s get started.

 

1. Loading capacity

Loading capacity reflects on the amount of weight that you’re able to hang from the board before that board eventually breaks down or majorly deforms under said weight. MDF board that’s overloaded would rip open from the holes. Metal pegboard sheet would ‘bulge’. Different brands have different makes and board specifications, so I researched a few boards with similar dimensions to get a general understanding.

 

MDF pegboard loading capacity

Grainger is the only brand I found that actually states a loading capacity. You should be able to hang 50Lbs on this single panel.

 

Metal pegboard sheet capacity

Source: Wall Control on Amazon.com

The bestselling metal pegboard is the pegboard sold by Wall Control. According to their Amazon product page, their board has the exact same dimensions as the wooden board. Instead of a 50Lbs loading capacity, this board has a 200LBS loading capacity. That’s 4 times as much. This isn’t much of a surprise.

I should mention that in most setups, the pegboard hook will bend before the panel will give out. That’s because most traditional pegboard hooks are quite thin. If you’re looking for some badass heavy-duty pegboard hooks, check out PegBoarder.

 

Winner: Metal pegboard

 

 

2. Durability

MDF reacts terribly to moisture. If you’re planning on installing a pegboard outside or in a humid area/workplace, you’re much safer with a metal setup. Another fact that is often overlooked is that pegboard hooks will deform the holes in your board through rigorous use. Especially if you

• Move the hooks around in the board often

• Hang heavier items from the hook

That being said – for moderate, average use, such as storage of your drill, tape measure, screwdrivers etc., in a non humid area, classic MDF board does the trick.

It’s worth mentioning that MDF pegboard comes in different sizes, From 1/8″ to 3/16″ all the way up to 1/4″. The thickness of the panel will greatly affect the durability (and loading capacity).

Metal board on the other hand is not as sensitive to moisture as MDF is. If we look at the most popular metal pegboard – that of Wall Control – we’ll see that it’s made of galvanised steel. That means the steel has been coated in zinc to provide corrosion resistance.

There also won’t be any major ‘wear and tear’ as the holes won’t broaden and the panel won’t rip.

 

Winner: Metal pegboard

 

 

3. Installation

Pegboard hooks and attachments need around 3/4″ space behind the pegboard when they’re ‘hooked in’. MDF board is just a strip of hardboard, so when installing you’ll need to first attach a frame to the wall and then attach the perforated hardboard against the frame. It’s not hard to do – but there’s some extra work involved there.

Most metal pegboards on the other hand, have this depth already built in the panel. As a result, you don’t need to build that frame anymore.

Metal pegboard does a great job when installed in small strips, opposed to large sheets. It’s then able to hold more weight. This can make the installation process a bit more tedious. (Not considering the frame that needs to be built for the classic MDF board).

 

Winner: Metal pegboard

4. Usability

Not all metal pegboard is the same. However, the majority of sold metal pegboards in USA follows a similar design: that of a flat, perforated sheet of metal. Without hole extrusions or any kind of hole offsetting.

This is a big design flaw for two reasons:

1. The absent panel thickness makes the hooks fit less snugly.

That issue with hooks falling out of your board? That’s way more likely to happen when you’re rocking metal board. The thickness of the metal sheet is often 22 gauge rather than 1/4″. That means your hooks have less ‘guidance’ and will fit much more loosely in the holes.

2. Classic pegboard hooks and accessories will slant downwards.

Traditional hooks are designed with thick 1/4″ pegboard in mind. Because the metal board is so much thinner than the MDF board, those hooks will hang at a 20° angle. This isn’t much of a problem for smaller hooks such as J hooks. If you’re planning to use longer hooks such as straight 6″ hooks, the slant can get quite annoying as items can slide of the hook.

It’s not a huge deal breaker for most – but it’s far from perfect. If you experience that problem, I suggest cutting a little spacer, just under 1/4″ and fitting it on the back of your metal board where you’re hooking in the accessory. You’ll have to do that before securing the panel though.

Another issue with metal board is customizability. Metal board has a certain dimension – usually 32″ by 16″. This conforms to the usual stud spacing in a house, so it’s easy to attach the holes to your wall with the corner anchors in the panel. The annoying aspect of this is that your pegboard organization surface will always be a multiple of those dimensions. Metal pegboard just isn’t meant to be cut in half.

custom pegboard
Custom printed pegboard in a sewing room.

MDF board is obviously much easier to customise, as you can cut it to size any way you wish. It’s also pretty easy to decorate.

Here at PegBoarder, we actually print your custom pegboard for you. That’s right. You can design your pegboard anyway you want (we can even help you with the design at no extra charge), we print it for you and have it delivered to your doorstep.

 

Winner: MDF pegboard

 

 

5. Price

So far it seems metal pegboard is beating MDF by 3-1. This last factor though is probably the most important one.

It doesn’t take much research to find out that metal pegboard is by far way more expensive than MDF pegboard.

Home Depot sells a 48″ x 24″ MDF sheet for under $9,5.

Metal Wall Control pegboard sells for $30 – $45. That’s about twice as expensive for a similar surface as the MDF board in Home Depot. Still, personally, I consider that pretty good value for money – especially at the discounted price at this time of writing.

 

Winner: MDF pegboard

 

 

When it comes to pegboard, metal and wood are both solid options. There isn’t a definite answer to which pegboard is the best. The right solution greatly depends on your budget, where you intend to use the board and what you intend to hang from it.

I’d go for metal pegboard if:

• You’re planning on hanging heavier equipment

• Your workspace has a higher humidity level

• You’ve got a higher budget to spend on your garage organisation

 

If you’re looking for pure aesthetics, speak with the design team at PegBoarder to get a custom MDF pegboard printed and sent to your doorstep at a very affordable price.

 

Hope this helps!

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