MDO (Medium Density Overlay)

We use the term on a daily basis in the sign industry. We all know that this is the standard wood substrate for making quality signs. What most people don’t know is what MDO stands for. For those of you that are super savvy and up to date on your glossary of definitions, don’t laugh! You would be surprised at how many people have said, “You know, I’ve never really known..what does it stand for?” If you are one of those people asking that question, don’t feel bad. I’ve talked to people that have been in the industry for 20 years that didn’t know the answer.

So here it is: MDO is a Medium Density Overlay plywood. In simple terms it is a plywood, without voids in the surface that has been sheeted with a resin treated fiber to create a smooth surface for painting, vinyl application and direct printing.

MDO is a more expensive product than standard plywood due to it’s quality characteristics. It is a smooth surface, paint receptive, chemical, weather and wear resistant wood that will not splinter and crack like typical plywood thanks to the overlay. MDO can be ordered primed, primed two sides, primed one side with the other painted at the factory using a white enamel or enamel painted on both sides. For exceptional durability in all weather conditions, it is highly recommended to prime and paint both sides with an exterior product and finish the edges with caulking to minimize warping due to water damage.

So, when one of your customers reacts to the price of your quality MDO product with a smart remark about being able to buy plywood for $15.00 a sheet at one of the Box Lumber Stores, you are now equipped to explain the value of the product and why it is a longer lasting, easy to decorate product that is worth the price.


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