Advise on wardrobe and sliding door material (MDF?) please

11 Aug 2010
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United Kingdom
I'm not that experienced (although generally fit in DIY things), and I'm about to embark on putting together a simple built-in wardrobe. In our case this means blocking off the end of the room (wall-to-wall) with 2 sliding doors and erecting shelving behind that (ca. 50 - 55 cm deep).

I'm going to use the the sliding door gear as pictured below, and the size of one door ca. 1 m wide x 2.6 m high.

I have several questions and hope that you experts would be able to give an opinion.

Could/should I consider an alternative to MDF? There are a couple of considerations:

- I think I would want to paint the interior MDF shelving to make it presentable. However, I may be able to save time and effort by not painting a nicer looking material

- MDF is said to formaldehyde emissions and the room will be used for a baby. I'd have to paint every sheet from all sides to seal the MDF.

Would I be able to address the above by using plywood? Is this equally suited? My wife's wondering whether solid wood could be used... Any other thoughts on material?

I'm thinking of having all the parts pre-cut and delivered to my flat, e.g. with or

Light/ultra light MDF
Is this just as stable as normal MDF?

Board thickness
I am thinking of using 18mm thick MDF for the door panels. Would I be able to go thinner in order to make them lighter? But obviously they are quite high, and I don't want them to warp and need enough substance to screw on the rollers etc.

I imagine that 18mm would also be a good thickness for the interior walls and shelfs. I don't want shelfs to bow easily. Am I right using 18mm?

Would be great to get some opinions on the above. Many thanks.
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heeelllooo and welcome spirelli :D :D :D

what width are you talking about!!
shelves over 700mm in length will need support every 500/750mm
Thanks for your reply! I was thinking about a layout like that (space for clothes rail in the middle). I guess that there would need to be support somehow in the middle...

Hmmm, would be a shame to have another vertical division and cut up that large space.

You could put a divider between highest shelf and top of the wardrobe. The then any sag would be supported from the top.

Same at the bottom.

Or you could use a length of 2x1 fixed to the edge of the shelf (wide side out) to act as a support.
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3 or 4 doors are better
2 doors mean the middle section is cut in half with the middle 50mm inacesable because thats where the doors overlap
you need to read the manufacturers instructions as to the suggested door width
remember your doora are a maximum 2440mm high
Thanks for the replies!

2 doors mean the middle section is cut in half ...
Yes, we were still debating what interior arrangement we'd have. We want to stick with 2 doors, so one possibility would be this:

remember your doora are a maximum 2440mm high
I guess you're saying that because that's the normal sheet size. It seems as if some suppliers could also supply oversized MDF. I've found one and would go for that.

Or you could use a length of 2x1 fixed to the edge of the shelf (wide side out) to act as a support.
2x1 -- is this a batten screwed to the edge? Yes, last night I was thinking of that as well. Seems like a good solution.

I'd be looking for some more specific answers on my original questions., i.e.

- Board thickness (18mm?)
- Strength of Light/ultra light MDF
- Material (alternatives to MDF?)

Please see original post. Would be grateful for any opinions. Many thanks.
you dont realy need 2.6 by the time youve built the frame 4" above the floor to clear the skirting that leaves you around 50mm at the top

the trouble you have is your rollers wont take the weight off 3/4 off a sheet off 18mm mdf
the thickness of the material will also be governed by the distance between the tracks but suspect 15mm will be the recomended

you will be far better with 3 or 4 doors
check out the sheet widths and lengths before deciding your number off doors
Thank you again for your reply and advise, big-all :)

the trouble you have is your rollers wont take the weight off 3/4 off a sheet off 18mm mdf
Apparently, these rollers take sheets of up to 70kg
I've seen somewhere that a full regular sheet of MDF is about 40-50kg, so I should be well within the limit. I'm also considering whether ultralight MDF would be better in any case, but was wondering about its rigidity.

the thickness of the material will also be governed by the distance between the tracks but suspect 15mm will be the recomended
It also seems that the tracks are made for up to 18mm materials. For weight reasons I was thinking of going thinner, but am worried about the MDF at 15mm being rigid enough to stay straight long term. Any take on that?

Also, I was wondering whether 18mm would be the right thickness for the interior.
if i was making a wardrobe that size it would have 3 equal hinged doors on 3" pillars with 3" flush hinges overlaping 25m or kitchen type hinges with a 1/3 width pillar
sliding i use top roller track system then weight cannot bend the doors
doors face and verticals 12mm mdf
shelves 12mm mdf fronted with 2x1" planed rebated 12x12mm wood laid flat for 750mm spans or less greater than 750mm large profile showing but no greater than 1200 without further support
if the shelve is supporting the hanging rail half the spans above
in the wardrobe is for both sexes i make a shoe rack for the mans 1/3 as his clothes will be shorter i also incorperate a secret hidden drawer in the bottom off the shoe rack that can contain valuables

have you reserched the cost off your track system its likley to be £150-300
Thanks again for your reply and valued opinion.

It's a fairly small room, that's why we thought that sliding doors would leave more space to place other furniture.

Hanging the doors doesn't seem easily possible: ceiling and walls are plaster board. Hence I was thinking of bottom rolling. It sounds as if MDF could bend with bottom rolling system.

Costwise I also thought that it would be ca 150 for the doors (almost 50 for roller/track system, 2 door panels ca. 50, plus primer and paint).

Thanks again for your thoughts.
trust me big doors in a small room will make it look crowded

i think the track system may be around £225
5 sheets 12mm mdf around £85 20m 2x1"par £16

hanging rail about £7 screws glue around £10!!
The problem with Ultralite MDF is that it does not paint too well as its a "fluffier" board. Medite Premier is a bit lighter than most and has a reasonable surface. For best paintable surface go with MR (mositure resistant) MDF, you can get this in large press which are 3050mm long. 18mm thick.

You must treat both sides of the doors the same to avoid warping and if you do get problems Hafelle sel braces to fit to the back of the doors.

I would go with 2 doors as it looks less cluttered and the wider the door the less likely it is to jam.

You could use 18mm MFC (melamine faced chipboard) for the internals as it won't need decoration, either plain white or wood grain.

your the expert jason and you standards are better than mine lol :D :D

3 ft wide to me just seems to wide :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
ok egnore me
i have just worked out whats bugging me lol :D :D :D
the last wardrobe i built was 8ft high with 6 ft high sliding doors and 18" top doors
the width was 2.2m with 3 doors they wanted 2 but talked them out off it as it would look odd and because the top doors where hinged they would be more than twice the length to height
so although the door here are 8ft plus i was reading 6ft :oops: :oops:

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