Hardboard and particle board are both engineered wood products that are used in a wide variety of applications. These products have several differences, ranging from the process of manufacturing to the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Hardboard is a wood product that is made from wood fibers, which are obtained from wood chips. The wood chips are steamed, which makes them soft and pliable. These soft chips are then ground into a pulp like consistency, from which the wood fibers are obtained. The fibers are then treated under extremely high pressure and heat. This treatment removes all the moisture from the fibers and a compact, dense sheet of hardboard is produced.
Different types of manufacturing methods exist, such as the wet process, the wet-dry process and the dry process, all of which use varying amounts of moisture. Hardboard that is manufactured using the wet process is smooth on one side and bears the mark of a filtering screen on the other. On the other hand, hardboard that is made using the dry process is smooth on both sides. What makes hardboard unique is the fact that the manufacturing process uses the natural binders in wood, thereby reducing the need for synthetic resins. The use of additional chemicals or binders is minimal.
Particle board is made from waste wood material from factories and furniture manufacturing warehouses. Sawdust, chips and shavings of wood are accumulated and combined with resins or binders. This wood and binder mixture is then blended to a paste, which is laid out in sheets and treated under high temperature and pressure. At the end of the process, particle board is produced. It is used in sub-floors in its original state. It is also used in furniture, wherein it may be covered with sheets of real wood, to enhance the appearance.
Pros and Cons of Hardboard
Hardboard is quite tough and durable. It is much more long lasting that particle board. It is used in many construction projects. Tempered hardboard is the most expensive and durable type of hardboard, which has a great degree of tensile strength and moisture resistance. Tempered hardboard is coated with linseed oil, which gives it these advantageous properties. Hardboard also has some disadvantages, such as sensitivity to moisture. Because it is made of wood, it can swell and warp when exposed to environmental conditions. However, high quality hardboard is popular in the construction of sidings for homes and buildings.
Pros and Cons of Particle Board
Particle board is one of the cheapest engineered wood products. It is quite durable if it is used in the right manner and protected from moisture. It also prevents the wasting of scrap wood material, which would otherwise end up in landfills. Particle board is, however, one of the least durable wood products. It is prone to swelling and expanding when it comes in contact with moisture, which is why proper sealing is very important. It also requires the use of special screws and fasteners that will not disintegrate the structure of the board. It is used in cabinet construction and to make affordable furniture.