Particle Board vs Plywood

You are currently planning for a new cabinetry project, but you haven’t decided on the material that you are going to use. Two popular choices for making such furniture are particle board and plywood. In general, most cabinets on the market right now are made of either particle board or plywood. Each of them comes with different characteristics, as well as different pros and cons. So, make sure that you understand the qualities of particle board vs plywood by continue reading below!

When to Choose Particle Board
A fancy way to call the particle board is the furniture board. This is a pressed product made of wood particles. It is usually covered by a melamine layer to seal and protect the core. Particle board is often sold in 4’ x 8’ sheets, and is very popular for the construction of shelves, drawers, and cabinet boxes.

Particle board has a pretty bad reputation because older cabinets made of the material tend to mush if exposed to moisture and wetness, such as from leaky plumbing. However, today’s particle board products have come a long way, and there are now different grades of particle board. The best one is the furniture-grade furniture board, and it usually has better resistance to moisture although it is not completely waterproof. You can add a melamine finish to improve the surface quality and the resistance to moisture.

The advantages offered by particle board are the strength and the resistance to expansion and contraction. Unlike plywood, particle board consists of pressed wood particles, so it is denser. The density makes it strong. It is also less vulnerable to expansion and contraction, which are two problems caused by temperature fluctuations. These are very great benefits for cabinets that have many screws and moving parts.

When to Use Plywood
On the other hand, plywood is a panel material. It is made of thin veneers of wood which are cross-laminated to create a strong panel. Just like particle board, plywood is often sold in 4’ x 8’ sheets, and is very popular for making shelves, drawer boxes, and cabinets. For a strong cabinet, you should choose the 1/2″, 3/4″, or the 5/8″ plywood.

Since plywood is made from real woods, it usually comes with a clear coat finish to showcase the natural colors and patterns. The manufacturers usually use lighter woods to create plywood sheets.

Thanks to the cross lamination, plywood can have high structural stability. It is lighter than particle board. Both the structural stability and lightweight nature make it easier to work with, which is why many local cabinet makers prefer this material. However, plywood is not resistant to water.

When choosing between particle board vs plywood, note that plywood is usually more expensive. But you should check the thickness before making your choice. You can choose plywood if you really fancy the natural look and feel of real wood. It displays real wood grain, mineral streaks, and knots.

Although plywood is easier to work with, particle board is stronger and more resistant to expansion and contraction. You can choose plywood if you really want to get the real, natural look and feel of wood. Otherwise, if you are fine with a melamine finish, you should choose particle board.