Plywood Vs. Particle Board

Plywood Vs. Particle Boardthumbnail

When building shelves or choosing cabinet materials, the construction material choices for the project frequently include plywood and particle board. Both materials have pros and cons regarding strength, maneuverability, durability and cost. The best material of the two largely depends on the type of project at hand and personal preference.

  1. Composition

    • Plywood is made by compressing and gluing layers of wood together and is sometimes topped with an attractive veneer. Particle board is formed from very tiny pieces of wood mixed with adhesives and cut into sheets of various lengths and thicknesses. Since raw particle board has a dull, granular appearance, it is often covered with a plastic coating to make it more aesthetically appealing and easy to maintain and clean.

    Strength and Appearance

    • While plywood sheets are more bendable and lighter than particle board, particle board is frequently stronger in regards to compression, the capability to support a lot of concentrated weight over a long period. This attribute is particularly important when the structure has to support heavy granite or stone countertops, the weight of a full sink of water or stacks of heavy books, cast iron pans or stoneware. Plywood can be stained to highlight the grain patterns in the wood or varnished for a high gloss finish. If particle board is untreated, it can be sealed and painted with oil-based or latex paint.

    Cutting and Assembly

    • Plywood is prone to splitting and splintering when sawed while particle board remains intact based on the fineness of its texture. However, it may crumble if the saw is not razor sharp and drags through the board. Nailing and screwing plywood is easier than using the fasteners to connect particle board as its interior may be too soft to securely hold the closures. Attachments hold better in plywood, but the angles created by connecting particle boards are sharper and longer lasting based on the stability of its composition.

    Water Resistance

    • Particle board with treated surfaces is resistant to water but will quickly disintegrate if water seeps into the interior through scratches or nicks. Plywood can be treated with a wood waterproofing solution to increase its water resistance. In humid atmospheres, plywood may buckle or warp while particle board retains its shape in moist environments.


    • The cost of particle board is generally about 20 percent less than plywood. The price fluctuation depends on the quality and thickness of the materials as well as if the boards have been treated with moisture-resistant substances.


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