If you’re wondering if particleboard makes a good material for a countertop, you’ve come to the right place.
Particleboards are mostly used for the core substrate of a countertop; you can’t really tell this because they are often shielded by veneers that resemble actual wood or laminate.
These factory-made wood products are perfect for countertops because they are super light, cheap, and stable.
In this article, we’d be taking you through what particle boards are, their various types, other materials that can be used as an alternative, and how exactly you can use them for countertops.
What Is Particle Board?
Particleboard is an eco-friendly artificial wood product made by mixing destroyed and grounded wood shavings into a consistency that consists of wood pulp and adhesives.
You can use particle boards in various types of construction projects. They are sometimes used as an alternative to plywood because they are more affordable and possess some qualities that the latter doesn’t.
Particleboards are used for making cabinets and other pieces of furniture; they can be used to cover hard floors, roofing, and so much more.
There are different types of particle boards, and they are as follows,
- Single-layer particleboard
- Three-layer particleboard
- Graded density particleboard
- Cement bonded particleboard
- Melamine particleboard
- Laminated particleboard
- Veneered particleboard
Plywood or Particleboard for a Countertop?
Both particleboard and plywood can be used underneath a laminate countertop, but the first is preferred to the latter because it’s more straightforward to use and has neat and consistent edges.
Materials like MDF and HDF can be used underneath a laminate countertop as well.
In the below points, we’d be taking a look at all the substrates there are and analyzing which is best for a countertop.
Particleboards are ideal substrates for a laminate countertop. They are smoother than plywood or solid wood and don’t cost so much.
When it comes to malleability, particleboards take the crown. These wood products are quite strong and can hold screws without cracking or giving way.
The downside to using particleboards as a substrate or base of a countertop is that they are susceptible to water damage over time. They also cannot withstand a lot of weight.
With their neat and even edges, particleboard substrates will give your countertop a smooth and nice finish.
If the laminate you’re planning to use on your countertop is a bit glossy or super glossy, you might want to consider using a medium or high-density fiberboard as the substrate.
This wood product has an evenly textured surface. It is made of fine wood fibers and can withstand high humidity; this makes it perfect for areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
Medium or high-density fiberboards are especially popular amongst interior decorators and builders because they are environmentally friendly.
You won’t ever have to worry about warping with this substrate, they possess dimensional characteristics similar to laminate, and they are super durable.
Plywood can be used for a laminate countertop, but you should keep in mind that any irregularity or unevenness in its core layer will be telegraphed onto the finished surface of your countertop.
This type of substrate is super strong and durable. Its width or thickness determines how resistant it’d be to cracking, shrinking, and warping.
If you decide to go with plywood for your countertop, make sure you look through its various types and go with one that matches the design flow of your kitchen.
Compared to particleboard and MDF/ HDF, plywood is quite expensive. The bonding agents used to make them determine their cost to an extent.
- Steel/ Aluminum
Laminate countertops will not last very long with a steel or aluminum base or substrate, and this is because their dimensional changes are not relative to the same conditions.
This type of substrate is best suited for heavy-duty projects. It is naturally non-porous, which makes it hard for adhesives that must undergo evaporation to work on its surface.
When choosing a substrate for a laminate countertop, steer clear of materials like steel, aluminum, fiber-reinforced plastic, gypsum board or sheetrock, concrete, and plaster.
These types of substrates are not compatible with laminate and will not last very long.
Issues like warpage, delamination, stress cracking, and telegraphing should be expected when any of these substrates are used underneath the wrong material.
How to Attach the Laminate to Particle Board?
Attaching laminate to particleboard isn’t so difficult. You can either attach it yourself or get a professional to do it for you. See the guide below to have an idea of what exactly you have to do to successfully attach the laminate.
The following tools will be needed for the job,
- Utility knife
- Flush trim bit
Follow the steps below to ensure that you properly attach the laminate to the particleboard.
Step #1: Cut the Particle Board
When cutting your particleboard, ensure you cut it 2 inches wider than the perimeter of the countertop you plan to work on.
Take some bonding agent or glue and apply it to the tone of the particleboard using a trowel and place the piece covered with glue on the other piece.
Firmly hold down on both of the boards so they can stick firmly together.
Step #2: Drill Holes Into the Board
To make it super easy to insert your screws drill some holes into your particleboard. Please note that the size of the holes made should be 1/16 of an inch smaller than the screws you will use.
Drill through the boards with about a 2 inches distance between the holes and a 3 inches gap from the edge of the board.
Step #3: Install the Screws
After drilling through the particleboards, insert the screws through the holes made in the wood and fill each head with putty.
Leave it to dry for some time and avoid touching it to keep it from smudging. When it has dried, use some sandpaper to smoothen out the surface of the putty, be very gentle when you do this.
Step #4: Cut the Joined Particle Boards
Before cutting your joined particleboards, make sure that it is an inch smaller than the countertop you want to work on.
Once you are done cutting the joined particleboard to the right size, use a piece of sandpaper to smoothen out the edges and wipe up the fine particles when you’re done.
Step #5: Laminate the Particle Board
Measure your laminate material. Make sure your measurements are an inch larger than your countertop. Take your utility knife and straight edge or ruler and mark the needful places on the wood.
Ensure that the laminate is well placed and supported as it tends to break easily. After marking with your knife, snap on the cut lines.
Take a portion of the contact cement and apply it to one side of the particleboard, then center the laminate over it.
Firmly hold down on the laminate so that it can adhere to the board properly.
Connect a flush-trim bit to your router to trim the laminate neatly as it is attached to your particleboard.
Particleboard is a very good substrate for a countertop, followed by MDF, HDF, and plywood, it is compatible with laminate, and it’s super easy to work with.
Choosing the right substrate for any countertop you’re planning to work on is undeniably important.
We hope we’ve been able to provide you with a useful guide and know without a doubt that your countertop will come out amazing.