Floorboard vs Chipboard

When installing new flooring, there are various options for structural underfloor. There are two standard choices available, wooden floorboards and chipboards, and which one you choose will depend on your budget and needs. 

Floorboard vs Chipboard

Floorboards are considered a better option for most floors as they provide much more support and are less prone to damage than chipboard. However, chipboard is a cheaper option that can suit tighter budgets. 

In this article, we’ll be discussing all the primary differences between floorboard and chipboard, whether they’re interchangeable, and which is considered better.

Chipboard Flooring vs Floorboards

Chipboard flooring, also known as particleboard or low-density fibreboard (LDF), is created using wooden chips and resin. Since it’s made from industrial by-products, chipboard is relatively cheap to produce and use, making it a budget-friendly option as a subfloor layer. 

On the other hand, floorboards are wooden planks used as a solid subfloor layer. These can range from plywood to solid woods such as oak and cherry. These can be placed across joists and used without the need for any extra layers.


Can You Use Chipboard Instead of Floorboards?

You can use chipboard instead of a floorboards. Chipboard is a solid flooring material and can be a cheap alternative. Although it is less durable than other flooring options, it can be just as good in some situations. 

It may be less durable than floorboard, but chipboard is still load-bearing and can be placed beneath tiles, furniture, and appliances. However, be wary of appliances such as washers, as they can leak and damage the chipboard. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using chipboard in places like bathrooms and laundry rooms.

The primary benefit of chipboard is how easy it is to install and add layers, so you can disguise the underlay with carpeting, veneer, or other floorings. . 

Is Chipboard Better Than Floorboards?

Chipboard isn’t better than floorboards. Although it’s an excellent alternative for limited budgets and is quicker to install, floorboards tend to give support for longer. Chipboard is inferior to other floorboards due to the risk of moisture damage or uneven support joists. 

Chipboard is cheaper than floorboards for a reason, and that is reflected in their quality. The material used to create the chipboard leaves it open to moisture damage and does not have the substantiality of solid wooden floorboards. 


Despite the difference in structural quality, choosing chipboard over other floorboards depends on the work being done. Low moisture exposure and solid beams can make chipboard a fine flooring choice with little to worry about. 

Most chipboard sheets come with a tongue and groove, which allows them to slot together. This is an easy, quick process and is sometimes a better option than floorboards in projects with short time frames. 

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What Are the Disadvantages of Using Chipboard Flooring?

  • Exposing your chipboard flooring to moisture is risky. Most buildings will experience moisture exposure at some point, even in dry climates, meaning that the installed chipboard will have to be replaced after a couple of years. 
  • As it is soft, chipboard is hard to fully screw or nail into support beams. Even with a solid beam to attach it to, chipboard isn’t as stable as floorboards. This means there’s a chance that chipboard can come away from joists over time, create a creaking noise, and affect the layers above it. 

What Are the Different Forms of Chipboard?

Chipboard is used for various tasks, such as furniture, countertops, and flooring. Floor chipboard is often called ‘load-bearing’ and is strong enough to be walked on and added to. 

Flooring chipboard typically comes in large sheets, which are the easiest to fit. If you’re considering this for your home, it’s better to buy sheets that cover 2-3 beams at a time rather than purchasing large sheets and cutting them up. This makes the whole installation process much quicker. 


Load-bearing chipboard is further divided into two grades 

  • P4: Standard flooring chipboard.
  • P5: Moisture-resistant flooring.

The latter is slightly more expensive but will be more durable in the long run. 

Should I Buy Moisture-Resistant Chipboard?

Moisture-resistant, P5 chipboard will always be a better option than the alternative, P4 grade. This will give you more peace of mind, reduce the likelihood of moisture damage, and still allow you to reduce costs and install your flooring quickly. 

Despite this, P5 chipboard is slightly more expensive. In these cases, it is worth looking at other floorboard options that will be significantly better yet only cost marginally more than P5 chipboard. 

It’s best to use P5 chipboard when under deadlines in which other wood floorings can’t be installed in time. 

Which Floorboard Material Is Best?

Floorboards come in many forms, ranging from solid wood to manufactured wood. 

  • Solid wood flooring is the best material for flooring. It can be used as a base layer for additional flooring, or it can be left on its own and still look fantastic. Oak, cherry, and maple are the best options here, they will last for decades in the right conditions and look amazing. 
  • Plywood is the most common form of manufactured wood and is similar to chipboard since both are composed of mixed wood. Plywood is significantly more durable than chipboard and slightly more expensive but provides better quality overall. 

Picking the best material depends on budget, time, and the desired finish. A simple veneer or carpeted finish can easily be done with a plywood base while still being strong enough to last. 

Both plywood and solid wood can also be painted, which is handy if a quick touch-up is needed. This can be done with rollers, brushes, or a decent spray gun to give a unique finish. 

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to compare chipboard and floorboard since their effectiveness depends on the project involved. Floorboards provide the most stable, durable, and aesthetically pleasing results but require more money and time. 

On the other hand, chipboard is a lower-grade material but can be a better option in some situations and still provide satisfactory results.