Particle Board vs Plywood Countertops? Pros & Cons

If you are a DIY enthusiast and love to engage in home renovations, you might consider replacing your current countertops or making new ones. 

You can choose from various building materials. But it can be challenging to choose between them, especially if you’ve never replaced or made countertops before. What should you install?

Particle board and plywood are excellent materials for countertops, which is precisely why professionals use them. Particle board tends to be much cheaper than plywood, but plywood is generally stronger, more water-resistant, and lighter in weight.

This article aims to inform you about these countertop materials so that you can make the best decision for your home.

particle board and plywood

More About Plywood and Particle Board

Although many people think of particle board and plywood as “wood,” they really aren’t. These materials are called manufactured wood products because they are not pieces of trees but are instead made using unique processes and wood materials.

Manufacturers take wood fibers, chips, and sawdust to make particle boards and use glue to hold them together. All of it is heated and pressed to make the boards you find at the hardware store.

When making plywood, manufacturers use various layers of wood veneer (thin panels of wood). Depending on what kind of plywood is being manufactured, they will utilize anywhere from 3 to 21 layers of wood veneer. Special glue is applied to keep the layers together and increase the final product’s strength.

Can You Use Particle Board for a Countertop?

particle board for a countertop covered with laminates

You probably already know that this type of board is used around homes to build floors and furniture, but does that mean it is ideal for countertops?

Particle board is a good choice for countertops since it has a smooth surface and is inexpensive. Plus, this material is more environmentally friendly because it is made using recycled wood scraps. 

However, it is worth pointing out that some people believe this material to be detrimental to the health of young children.

Although it is not as strong as natural wood or plywood, it will work just fine for countertops and save you some money. Countertops made from this material are usually covered with laminates to make them look their finest.

Plywood vs Particle Board for Countertops

Even though both materials are manufactured wood, they are constructed differently and with distinct materials. Here is a closer look at the key differences between these two building materials:


The two materials differ considerably in strength. One of the biggest advantages of plywood is that it is much more robust thanks to its multi-layer design. You can even bend plywood slightly without cracking it.

Particle board comes far behind plywood when it comes to strength, but it should be noted that countertops do not necessarily have to be very strong. In most cases, both of these materials will be strong enough to handle anything you use your countertop for.

Surface Texture

countertop surface texture

Of the areas where particle board comes out on top of plywood, the smoothness of the surface stands out. It is perfectly smooth, making it ideal for aesthetic countertops. In contrast, regular plywood is rough because of the way it is cut.

You can sand most types of plywood with 180 grit sandpaper, but it will still not be as smooth in most cases.


Plywood is generally easier to work with than particle board. You can use screws and nails with plywood without having to worry about breaking or cracking it.

On the other hand, particle board tends to be brittle since it is made up of wood bits. However, if you are going to saw sections off for your countertop, it is easier to work with.


Particle board is surprisingly heavy. Making furniture or countertops out of this material will make them difficult to move around. If you expect to have to move your countertop at some point, making it out of a piece of plywood would be a better idea.

Moisture Resistance

By far, the biggest issue with using a particle board surface for countertops, flooring, or furniture is that it is not moisture resistant and does not stand up well to moisture.

Plywood is not perfectly waterproof, but it is moisture resistant and does not fall apart from moisture or water. If you use particle board for your kitchen counter, you’ll need to seal it with a waterproof coat to protect it from water and other frequent spills.


As we have seen so far, particle board does not stack up well against plywood when it comes to countertops. But one huge advantage is its lower cost at half the price (or even less) of plywood. So if you’re on a budget, it may be a better option than plywood or solid wood.

Conclusion – Plywood vs Particle Board

It seems that plywood is often a much better choice for countertops. This holds true unless your remodeling budget is constrained, in which case, choosing particle board will help you stay within budget. 

Either way, it’s all up to your budget and preferences.