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Home Improvement

Particle Board vs Plywood: What Are the Differences?

Are you replacing some of your home’s subfloors?

If so, you might want to consider using a plywood or particle board alternative instead. Both types of engineered wood provide a moisture-resistant layer. But they also come with several distinct differences.

Are you confused about particle board vs plywood?

If so, we’ve prepared this brief guide for you to take advantage of. This way, you’ll know what to look for on a subfloor. Let’s explore both to determine which ones may be right for your home!

What Are Particle Boards

Particle board is also known as chipboard or medium-density fiberboard. It is a manufactured wood product composed of wood chips, wood shavings, or sawdust. They are mechanically bound together using adhesives and resins.

It has a variety of building applications. It is especially well-suited to furniture manufacture and cabinetry.

Particle board has many advantages over solid wood and is often used as an alternative to it. Due to its uniform shape, particle board is much more cost-effective than solid timber.

It takes less time to manufacture and enforces a consistent look with no visible flaws. Particle board is also environmentally friendly as it makes use of wood waste. These would otherwise get disposed of.

Its distinct composition also makes it resistant to warping. It also resists shrinking and splitting over time. All in all, particle board is a great choice when aiming for custom furniture items.

It is not as sturdy as solid wood. But, it holds up well with proper care. This makes it a preferred material for many DIYers.

Types of Particle Boards

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and oriented strand board (OSB) are two common types of particle boards. MDF gets made from wood fibers and resin adhesive.

These get fused and heated. Its dense composition makes it highly durable. It is suitable for furniture, cabinetry, shelving, and wallpaper backing.

OSB is a type of particle board that consists of an insulating layer of wood strands bonded together with a resin adhesive. It has a pressed-wood-chip surface and is commonly used for walls and roof sheathing.

Particle boards are affordable, versatile, and strong options. You can use them in many woodworking and construction applications.

They are also resistant to water and decay. They can affect indoor air quality much less than natural wood products do. Be sure to refer to a particle board guide if you are looking into buying them.

What Is Plywood

Plywood is a manufactured wood panel made from thin layers of wood veneers or plies. They are typically glued together to form a composite material.

It is one of the most popular and versatile building materials available. Plywood sheets also have many applications. These range from structural support to cabinetry, furniture, and other decorative elements.

The layers of plywood get glued together at right angles. This gives the panel superior strength and makes it very resistant to warping. It is also highly water resistant and durable and can get used both indoors and outdoors.

Understanding the basic construction of plywood is important. By doing so, you can select the right product for your project.

There are certain factors to consider. These include the type of wood veneer and adhesive used and the number of layers.

The wood grade and the amount of veneer coverage are also key factors. The thickness of the plywood will also vary depending on the application.

Different Types of Plywood

There are several different types of plywood available. Each of them is suited to a specific purpose.

Softwood plywood is made from softer woods such as pine, fir, or spruce. It is most commonly used where strength is not a primary consideration.

Hardwood plywood is suitable for use in furniture applications. It is typically made from a mixture of hardwood and softwood veneers in alternating layers.

Exterior plywood is more resistant to moisture and damage than ordinary plywood. It is usually made from Douglas fir or pressure-treated wood.

Particle Board vs Plywood: Differences

Particle boards have many advantages over plywood in a variety of applications. Particle board is much less expensive than plywood. This makes it a great choice for budget-conscious projects.

It is also much lighter than plywood, making it easier to move and manipulate. It also comes pre-finished and pre-cut, which eliminates the need for extra work. Furthermore, particle board is much more durable and resistant to damage from moisture.

Meanwhile, plywood has its benefits as well. It has a greater tensile strength than particle boards. This means that it is more suitable for structural building projects and construction.

Plywood also has a more natural look and is available in a variety of woods and finishes. As such, it may be the better choice when aesthetics are important.

Environmental Impact of Particle Board vs. Plywood

Particle boards and plywood come with different levels of environmental impact. Many think that plywood is more sustainable due to its natural origin.

Particle boards are less eco-friendly. It contains more manmade components, such as glue and resins.

These are often petroleum-based and contain formaldehyde. These components can off-gas into the air, posing a health and environmental risk.

Plywood is also easier to disassemble for reuse or recycling. This means that it is a more sustainable alternative. This is because it contains fewer toxic materials and is biodegradable.

Difference in Cost

Particle boards are significantly less expensive than plywood. Sheeting particle board costs 30 to 50 percent less than plywood. This can depend on the size.

Meanwhile, plywood is a stronger, more durable material that usually lasts longer. It is important to consider your particular needs when deciding which material to use. Be sure to consider the budget and expected use.

Knowing the Difference Between Particle Board and Plywood

We can use particle boards and plywood in a variety of projects. But, you should consider the particle board vs plywood differences when making a decision.

Particle board is better in some cases, while plywood is better in others. Take the time to research and decide which is better for your project.

Visit our various woodworking blogs for even more woodworking tips you’ll love.

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