What is the difference between Plywood and Particle Board?

What is the difference between Plywood and Particle Board?

Snaffles’ builders’ advice team give a basic overview of Plywood and Particle Board to ensure you make the right choice for your project!

Particle BoardPlywood


What is Plywood?

Plywood is made up from layers of timber veneer glued together (under high pressure and heat), the grain direction is alternated to provide greater strength and stability.

What is Plywood used for?

Although plywood wins on stability and durability, and therefore is often used on higher end projects where cost is not an issue. It is not so suitable for furniture and veneer work as features a rougher cross grain external finish. However, it is used widely in construction work where greater load bearing and strength is required, also plywood is more durable and more resistant to damp and water. A marine grade is also available for external cladding and construction work.

Advantages of Plywood

Plywood is considerably lighter than particle board so easier to carry and transport. It also has greater strength due to its cross-grain pattern and strong adhesives used in its manufacturing process. This and the density of material ensures better holding power for screws and nails compared to the softer and less dense composition of particle board, which can fall apart! Plywood has a greater moisture resistance than Particle Board, especially marine grade.

Limitations of Plywood

Plywood has a rougher surface texture meaning it is not so suitable for decorative or laminate finishes. It is also less sustainable/environment friendly as it does require fresh timber veneer in its manufacture.


What is Particle Board?

Particle board is often known as chipboard or furniture board, this is manufactured from waste wood shavings and fibres which are glued and pressed together under heat sometimes using a mould.

What is Particle Board used for?

Due to the being manufactured from waste wood, Particle Board is almost half the cost compared to Plywood. It has a very smooth surface making it suitable for the production of good looking furniture with a veneered finish at a low price. A thicker flooring grade is also produced and is a good choice for internal wall finishing etc. where strength is not required, the smooth surface making it suitable for painting/papering over.

Advantages of Particle Board

Particle board costs considerably less than plywood. Therefore if a tradesman can get away with using this, it will mean a saving, particularly on internal flooring, sheathing and building work. It also provides a smoother surface for papering, painting or laminating, which can provide a very pleasing finish. Particle Board is also considerably more environmentally friendly due to being made from scraps and waste wood, no extra tree felling being required.

Limitations of Particle board

Due to the resins used in its manufacture Particle Board is heavier than plywood, which can mean cabinets or wheeled furniture can collapse under their own weight. Also, due to the low-density composition of waste wood and chips of varying sizes, it has less strength. It is more susceptible to damp and swelling than plywood, due to easily absorbing moisture which could cause eventual collapse.

Selecting the right product for your job

When selecting either particle board or plywood, it is important to consider the properties you require for the task at hand. The team of experts at Snaffle Building Supplies will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your project. Call us at 020 3475 9701

10th Jan 2022 Snaffle Building Supplies

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