Most people in Vallarta Nayarit will tell you to get your dining room and bedroom furniture made with parota wood and stay clear of fibreboards.The rationale is that this wood, spoken of in almost legendary terms, is termite-proof.And, that fibreboards will never hold up in humid areas.But is this true?You might be surprised!
PAROTA OR MDF?
Parota wood can be toxic
Parota wood is indigenous to Central America and abundant in Mexico.In Spanish, the word parota translates to huanacaxtle.Fun fact - La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is supposedly named after a cross that stood in the town, made from this decorative wood.
Parota trees grow rapidly and have large trunks – which means they work well for large furniture pieces (think large dining room table tops made from slabs).This wood is lighter in weight than many other woods and water resistant.Parota is, however, a softer wood.This can be problematic if you have a dining table or dresser that needs to withstand some serious weight.
PAROTA CAN BE TOXIC
What most people do not know about parota is that it can be quite toxic.Some carpenters will no longer work with this wood because it can cause severe eye and respiratory infection.For those with allergies, this may not be the best option.
Although subterranean termites prefer softwoods, they will invade most species of wood.Drywood termites require little moisture in the wood they eat.
Parota has a beautiful wood grain.There is no need to paint it – the beauty lies in its rich grains and golden hues.Although costlier, furniture made from this indigenous wood will make a beautiful statement in your home.
Fibreboards can withstand moisture
Fibreboards are an engineered product made from wood fibres that are bonded together with a strong adhesive under significant heat and pressure.Fibreboard has been around since the early 1900’s.It is also used in construction, flooring, home appliances, automobile manufacturing and cabinetry.
FIBREBOARDS ARE AVAILABLE IN MANY COLORS
There are three main categories of fibreboard based on their density – low, medium and high.The density refers to the amount of wood compressed in to one panel.The higher the density, the stronger and harder it is.There are different applications depending on its properties.Low-density fibreboards often referred to as particle boards, are used frequently in construction for sub-floors.High density fibreboards are used primarily in laminate flooring.Medium density fibreboards are highly recommended for furniture.
Fibreboards are also sub-categorized into different classes, based on their properties to withstand stress and moisture.Medium (MDF) and high density (hardboard) have a much higher resistance to moisture and stress than particle board.Some MDFs and hardboards are even treated to be moisture resistant.Unlike particle board, these materials will not split or crack.
Today, many manufacturers of fibre boards incorporate fungal and insect resistance.The resin and glue in the fibre boards are a deterrent since termites tend to find them quite distasteful.
Fibreboards can be painted and stained many beautiful colours and look outstanding in your home for a fraction of the price of parota.
BEAUTIFUL PAROTA CHAIR, OR IS IT MDF?
Solid wood furniture will cost more than furniture constructed with fibreboard.In some cases, you will find furniture that is a hybrid of solid wood and fibreboard.Parts of the furniture that are hidden such as the front and the top are constructed using solid wood.The inside and back which are generally hidden are constructed with fibreboard.This gives the best of both worlds – a beautiful looking piece at a more reasonable price.
Which is better?
Somewhere along the line, people started confusing low performing particle board with water resistant, well wearing fibreboards.They also started giving parota wood mystical furniture powers.To be fair, both options have pros and cons.The bottom line is buy the brand names you know.Buy from manufacturers who stand behind their materials and production.Buy from retailers you trust who know their products and can help you select the right one for your style, needs and budget.
This article was originally published in the Vallarta Tribune, week of December 11, 2017