The objective of this study is to determine the effect of the surface roughness on the tensile strength perpendicular to the surface of medium density fiberboard (MDF) overlaid with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The surfaces of the MDF panels were sanded with four different grit abrasives, 220, 240, 280 and 320-grit, to create different roughness values. The roughness of the panel surfaces were determined in accordance with ISO 4288. The MDF panels were laminated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) using a polyurethane-based adhesive. A total of 70 samples having the dimensions of 50 x 50 mm from the panels were prepared based on EN 326-1. The universal test machine was used for tensile strength. The test results were statistically analyzed and it was found that the sanding process decreases the surface roughness of the MDF and as the grit size of the abrasives increases, the surface roughness decreases. The surface roughness influences the tensile strength perpendicular to the surface of the overlaid samples. The most suitable surfacing type for lower cost and the highest tensile strength is the sanding with the 240-grit abrasive. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.