Particle boards are most associated with floor panels, wall panels, work surfaces, cupboard interiors, and flat-pack furniture like wardrobes, desks, bookcases, tables, and kitchen cabinets.
Products made from particle boards are meant to provide minimalist and temporary solutions in your household, not necessarily strength, durability, or aesthetics. But you might be surprised by just how much particle boards can actually support when the situation demands it.
A typical particle board desk product can carry about 32lbs with relative ease. In some instances, that can go up to about 45lbs, depending on the product and the manufacturer. It also depends on how much that product has been reinforced.
Being cheaper than wood or any other similar products doesn’t necessarily mean being inferior. It all depends on how and where you use particle board products.
How Much Weight Can Particle Board Support?
To be a little more scientific about it, particle boards have a Modulus of Rupture (MOR) value ranging from 16-22 MPa, which is the equivalent of about 224 kg/cm² at its strongest. As such, it generally can’t support heavy loads.
The MOR value is the measurement of the bending strength that a particle board has, which just happens to be significantly less than plywood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard).
Plywood and MDF are frequently compared to particle boards but definitely do not require the same level of care that particle boards do. Particle boards are not durable and can easily be damaged.
Particle boards become even more vulnerable when you factor things like moisture and humidity into the equation.
Does Particle Board Break Easily?
Yes, particle board breaks easily because it is made from a wood composite of wood chips, sawmill shavings, and sawdust, all of which are held together by a resin that is mixed into the piece of wood.
The biggest flaw with particle boards is that they do not really have a wood grain structure to them, which compromises their integrity.
Even if you haven’t owned them for a particularly long time, particle boards also scratch very easily. The corners and edges of particle board products don’t do very well either and tend to fall apart pretty rapidly once the interior has been exposed to scratches.
Screws and any other fasteners that help hold particle board products together also become vulnerable after a very short time, as the edges and grooves on the board wear away. Cracks frequently form around these edges.
The most significant cause of crumbling wood fibers in particle boards is water damage from exposure to moisture. That can be the byproduct of living in a humid environment or just having particle board furniture in wet places of the house, like the kitchen and the bathroom.
The great difficulty, of course, is that particle board furniture is usually the easiest and cheapest to install in these areas of the home.
How Do You Make Particle Boards Stronger?
You make a particle board stronger by limiting its exposure to moisture and using a suitable sealant for the board’s surface and edges. You can also make particle boards more durable by including strong aluminum framing or bracing.
You can also make particle board furniture stronger by laminating or doubling and stacking it together (to offer some level of reinforcement).
How Long Will Particle Board Last?
A simple particle board table, available at an online vendor like Amazon, will only be guaranteed to last about one year before it starts falling apart. However, there are also many examples of products made from particle boards that last as many as five years.
How long a particle board lasts in your home will also depend on how and where you use it, along with the environment that you live in. Some people online claim that their particle board products have lasted as many as 25 years, but that’s unconfirmed.
What we can confirm is that there is a wide range of particle board products commonly available online that will not be marketed as having any form of warranty at all.
What Is Particle Board Good For?
Depending on who you are listening to, particle boards are much better for the environment because they are made from cuttings and waste from other wood products. So if you want to save a few extra trees, this may be your chance.
Particle boards are outstanding for people who prefer minimalism, which features as little clutter as possible. It’s also fantastic for those on a stricter budget, who need a more versatile material, or who need something lightweight that they can move more effortlessly.
Primarily, you should purchase a particle board for things that you do not want to take up a considerable amount of space in your home, like desks and shelves.
Particle board also has an elegant and tidy finish to it, especially if you have applied a lacquer of some kind to it, which means it can make a very simple household environment look pretty trendy and stylish.
Particle boards are also much more affordable than most similar household materials, which means they are also fantastic for saving on initial household costs in the short term.
However, that does not account for the cost of fixing and replacement. With particle boards, you are invariably leaning a lot more towards replacement, though.
In keeping with the purchasing theme, particle boards are also ideal for people who do not have the resources or the means to move around heavy household items. Because they’re so lightweight, they’re much easier to carry up staircases and around homes when moving.
Particle boards are also much more versatile than other wood-based products because they can be finished off so well and are generally smoother than similar products.