Chipboard in the Home

WHAT IS CHIPBOARD:

Chipboard is one of the cheapest ‘wood’ products you can buy. Often called particle board, it is made from a mix of wood chip, shavings and even sawdust. All bound together using a synthetic resin binder and produced in sheets.Available in various types it comes as standard, melamine, wood or plastic veneered, flooring grade and flame-retardant. Standard is obviously the cheapest, but no matter what the type, chipboard has one major drawback.

CHIPBOARD USES:

People moving into properties with old wooden floorboards, which have seen better days, often decide to put a layer of something over them. More often than not, that layer will be 20-25ml chipboard sheets. Nobody will see them under the wall to wall carpet right.

The biggest problem with chipboard is it absorbs moisture. Once that has started, the board will begin to swell. Cutting to length, round fireplaces and vertical pillars gives moisture plenty of places to gain entry. With almost continuous damp moist air between footings and foundations on a ground floor, the moisture will almost immediately begin to do its work.

First floor, floors; or apartment floors from the first floor up should fare better, unless of course you happen to be living over a Turkish Bath.

Apart from that, chipboard has a myriad of uses around the home. When a partition wall requires that bit extra strength and insulation, chipboard can be used, with the plasterboard fixed to the chipboard.

In cupboards or wardrobes where extra shelving is required chipboard may be the ideal material. Painted in the shelf colours with a matching trim fitted and job done.

DOWNSIDE OF CHIPBOARD:

Chipboard is what it is. Its main drawback has already been mentioned. Unless you are a good do-it-yourself hobbyist, no matter whether standard or melamine coated, chipboard is better used out of sight. Using it for the top, or facings, of built in front room units will mean a lot of preparation, sanding, sealing and painting to hide its true origins.

Never use chipboard in a bathroom environment, whether flooring or just shelving. The moisture produced from showers, sinks and baths, will soon begin to make inroads into the board.

Finally, prepare to blunt a few saws, especially if you are cutting big sheets. Cutting through all that binding resin is the fastest way I know of blunting your favourite saw.