In part one of this article, we discussed with the pros and cons to using plywood in your kitchen cabinets instead of particle board. In this article, we will visit the side of particle board.
Particle board is a composite material, an engineered wood product made from wood chips or shavings that have been compressed together with glue. Before we get into the skinny, put your guard down – particle board has come a long way! So much in fact, that it has a new name. We now have particle board on steroids – or what is called furniture board.
This is not your grandmother’s side table made from 16 psi particle board. The new product is made from much stronger glue (think airplane glue vs. Elmer’s) and made with much higher pressure. It has graduated from the typical kitchen cabinet particle board of years past, which was pressed at around a grade of 20-30 psi, to now a range of 45 psi. It now is more water resistant, stronger and heavier.
- If cost is your main factor on choosing a material, then particle board is your winner. You will see a savings of up to 20 percent. Particle board is made with scrap materials and costs less to manufacture.
- Particle board is precisely machined and cut to spec which gives it a consistent uniform texture, each and every time. You will not see the gaps and holes that you can sometimes find in plywood. This makes installation much easier with fewer flaws.
- Particle board will not expand and contract the way plywood does in humid climates, making this a viable option if you live in an area prone to higher moisture levels.
- Water resistance will always be the biggest downfall of particle board. You can seal it well, but the fact is, particle board does not mesh with water.
- Particle board is not quite as strong as plywood. It cannot hold as much weight without sagging, and it scratches more easily.
- If looks are what you are going for, particle board may not be quite what you’re looking for. It can be dressed up by adding laminate, or a sheet of veneer, but still does not give the same real-wood look and feel that plywood does.
Overall, the decision on whether to opt for plywood or particle board is a personal one. There are numerous arguments out there supporting each side, so do your research and talk with a professional to make an educated decision on which is best for your needs.