Any thoughts on revamping or redecorating a house means either to replace or remake furniture. Other accessories such as upholstery, curtains, decorative items, wall papers etc. only get a secondary consideration. Furniture today, come in all shapes and innovative designs.

Earlier, hard wood was the only option to make furniture but today technology has brought before us so many options in furniture that are not confined to wood. Forests are getting lesser worldwide and since ecology conservation has become a matter of concern, alternatives to hard wood are necessary at least in some areas. Plywood, MDF or Medium Density Fibre Board and Particle board are used in making furniture today.


Though the basic component of each of these products is wood, it is interesting to note how differently wood is used for making them.

Particle board – Best out of waste

Particle board is an apt example of how to make a great product of waste. At a time, when greenery is fast disappearing from the surface of the earth, due to rampant deforestation, it is only wise that we make use of each and every particle of wood cut. Particle board is produced from remnants of wood such as saw dust, wood mill shavings, or wood chips. These particles are then bound together with any suitable binder.

Particle board is cheaper when compared to hard wood or plywood. It can be painted or even wood veneers can be glued on its surface to give it an attractive look. Today, particle board is used in various applications.

Today different particle boards are available in the market, one of them is the three-layer particle board. It is made by using chips from trees such as pine, alder, spruce or birch.

These constitute the outer section of the board while the central portion is made of cheaper chops. In recent times, even graded density particle board has also been developed.

The making of particle board

Though in simple terms, it can be said that particle board, is made just by collecting wood chips and then binding them together by resin, let us look a little in detail at the manufacturing process of particle board. The wood chips collected are dried and their moisture content removed completely.

Only then the resin would be able to bind the particles well. The dried particles are then sorted size wise, using airflow separation. Airflow helps to identify the weight of the particles. The next step is using resin. This is an important step because only careful mixing of resin will yield a good particle board.

Usually, the wood particles are stirred in a blender and then liquid resin is sprayed carefully over them. Next is the making of panel mattress. It is done by laying the particles on a conveyor. First, a layer of fine particles is laid, then a layer of coarse particles is made over it and thirdly, again a layer of fine particles is laid on the second layer.

Particle boards productionSource

By putting coarse particles in the middle and covering it with fine particles imparts a uniform weight to the board across the length and width. These mattresses are then pressed by subjecting it to heat and pressure. This binds the mattress evenly and gives the thickness as required. Finishing is done by just sanding both the surfaces. The particle board is now ready to take on its various roles!

You will find particle board in these utilities

Particle board is widely used in making wall units, TV cabinets, toys, wall linings, cupboards and even in wardrobes and shelving. Since particle board is not very expensive and is convenient to work with, it is used for making many types of furniture, such as dresser.

People who are looking for cheaper cabinets, can opt for the ones made from particle board as they will be available in attractive rates. Another advantage of particle board is that you can easily use it to make accents around doors, floor, windows and even ceiling.

Particle board can be easily installed and even painted as per your choice.

Another area where particle board can be used is for flooring, not the main one but particle board can be used to cover hard wood floor surfaces. A carpet or some other covering can be put over it to give it a more decorative look. Particle board is also used as an insulating material may a time. It is not over yet.

Look at the speakers in your home…!! Particle board is increasingly used to make speakers because of its sound absorbing feature. Thus particle board is also used in the walls and floors of concert halls, theatre halls and recording studios.

Particle board is an asset to environment

First, as I mentioned earlier, particle board is generally made from the leftovers of wood, such as wood blocks or chips or saw dust. Thus it is ensured that each and every part of the cut wood is utilized. This definitely lessens the number of trees cut.

Now isn’t that incredible? Another great feature of particle board is that furniture and other products made from the board can be recycled to make newer products.

Ply, Particle board and MDF – the next generation wood:

By next generation, I did not mean that these are going to completely take over hard wood. I just used the term as it is used in the IT sector like next generation computer etc. It means that ply, MDF and particle board are the bright products that have come as replacement of wood in many areas.

For Wooden corner shelves, plywood is the best. Price of hardwood and plywood are relatively low when compared to the particle board

Let us take a look at these wood products at one go:

Ply MDF Particle board
Ply wood is made by binding together thin wooden sheets. MDF or Medium Density Fibre boards are made using fine wood fibres. Particle board is made by binding together wood chips or saw dust.
Ply wood is expensive. Cost less when compared to ply wood and more than particle board It is less expensive.
It is used to mainly to make custom made furniture MDF is generally used in making readymade furniture but is used in custom made furniture also Particle board is in high demand in readymade furniture manufacturing sector
Ply wood are heavier than the other two MDF is also heavier considering its density Particle boards are light in weight
Ply wood comes plain, so extra cost have to be borne to laminate it MDF comes with lamination but you can also paint it further if you so desire Particle boards are usually available as plain and even pre laminated boards are also available.
Moisture and water resistant ply are available MDF is not resistant to water or moisture Particle board cannot resist moisture content
Ply wood is very strong and durable. It can last for around 15-20 years. MDF is stronger that particle board and durable but not as durable as ply Particle board does not have a long durability but its life can be increased to 2 to 3 years with proper care and maintenance
Ply furniture cannot be recycled MDF furniture is also not recycled Particle board furniture can be recycled in course of time
Particular type of nails and screws can be used on ply Nails and screws don’t work well on MDF Nails and screws don’t work well on particle board
Ply furniture can hold good weight MDF furniture are unable to hold much weight Particle board also cannot hold much weight
Ply don’t have bending nature MDF do not have a bending nature Particle board also does not have bending nature
Plies are very expensive and suitable for those who are looking at making unique, designer furniture to last for a long time. Yes, they are stronger than the rest. MDF is not as expensive as ply but it is strong and durable and is apt for those who are looking at affordable furniture. Particle board is neither strong nor durable as ply or MDF but it can be used for accents and side work. And also those who are looking at cheap furniture can opt for particle board

On the concept of catching fire, particle board and ply wood will catch fire easily. In this case MDF is the best as it has possess high resin. Hope you found this article informative. If you know any additional points about MDF, Particle board and Plywood. Do comment, we’ll add them in the article.