manufactured wood vs particle board

Manufactured Wood vs Particle Board – What’s the Difference

Among the most common concerns asked by those who are looking for wood, options include knowing the difference between manufactured wood vs particle board. For one, the term manufactured wood can be confusing. Is it not real wood? How about particle board? Is it just a board, and not made out of wood?

In this article, we will discuss the difference between these two. To untrained ears, these two terms can become confusing, and may even be interchanged with each other. Knowing the features of each type will help you make a well-informed purchasing decision.

Manufactured Wood – What It Is

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Manufactured wood, or engineered wood, is composed of a top layer that is made out of real wood, typically called wood veneer. This top wood layer is then covered with a thin coat of melamine that serves as protection to the surface, preventing staining, scratching, or even burning of wood. 

Under the upper layer is pressed board, oftentimes referred to as Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). This material is also made out of wood, though it is often a combination of various wood pieces pressed together. There is a similarity between manufactured wood and plywood in terms of quality and appearance.

Types of Manufactured Wood

The most important and most common types of manufactured wood include the following:

  • Plywood

Plywood is a common type of manufactured wood and is even considered as among the most common type of materials used in furniture. It is a wood structural panel that is made out of several layers of cross-laminated veneers which are bonded through pressure and high heat with waterproof and durable adhesives. 

  • Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

MDF is produced by breaking down softwood or hardwood residuals, turning them into wood fibers. They are then combined with a resin binder and wax at high pressure and temperature. It is much stronger and denser than particle board, making it heavier than plywood. 

Uses of Manufactured Wood

There are many uses of manufactured wood, as seen in both interior and exterior applications, such as furniture, flooring, siding, decking, roofing, fence, and others. Similar to solid wood, manufactured wood may also be used for different purposes. 

  • Furniture

Manufactured wood is a favorite when it comes to making furniture, especially tables and chairs, wardrobes, racks, sofa, and drawers. Even though the grain and color pattern is vital for furniture, manufactured wood offers a wood-like appearance and color. Medium-density fiberboard and plywood are among the most commonly used manufactured wood products. 

  • Decking

Treated manufactured wood is ideal for outdoor and decking applications. This is because untreated engineered wood products are not up to the job for creating deck framing since they tend to rot fast. 

  • Flooring

Solid hardwood is often the first option that comes to mind when it comes to flooring. These days, however, manufactured wood is also seen in flooring projects since solid hardwood comes with a hefty price tag, especially when using them in big areas. Manufactured wood serves the purpose of flooring on a less budget. 

Manufactured wood features high-performance, durable qualities. Since it is made of multi-layers of wood, with every layer assembled in a cross direction, the output becomes stronger. One of the biggest advantages of flooring that is made out of manufactured wood is that it needs less care, with appearance and color that last longer. 

Particle Board – What is It?

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Simply put, particle board is a type of manufactured wood that is made out of jute-stick chips or wood chips, combined with a strong binder. These chips are waste products of wood after a lumbering process. Resin or binder is then added with chemicals to make it fire-resistant or waterproof. Among the most common uses of particle board are for walls, cupboards, and floor panels. 

Particle Board – Advantages 

Particle board is cheaper than both MDF and plywood. This is because they are basically waste products of wood. As it is made of chips, it is lightweight but does not distort easily. It also requires minimum maintenance. 

Particle Board – Disadvantages 

While the advantages of using manufactured wood are obvious, there are also some disadvantages to take into consideration. For one, it does not hold nails and screws quite well. Its finishing on the surface is not as smooth and good as MDF and plywood. This means a low-strength offer and no capacity to support heavy loads. Since particle board uses chemicals, it is not as eco-friendly as others. The chemicals added to the resin can cause harm. 

Conclusion

Manufactured wood and particle board are often interchanged, with no wonder. After all, particle board is a sub-category of manufactured wood. Knowing the differences between manufactured wood vs particle board will allow you to choose the right type of material that you need for your woodworking project. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below! Share this article if you like!

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