How Strong Is Chipboard – Compared To Other Material

Chipboard, also known as low-density fiberboard or particle board, is an engineered wood that is made by pressing together other wood waste products like wood chips and sawdust. It is the cheapest of all man-made wood but it still offers good strength. There are different thicknesses and types available that all have their own strength ratings.

To make the best use of this versatile and affordable material it is important to understand both its advantages and disadvantages so that you can choose the most suitable material for the job.

The rest of this article will take a deeper look at chipboard.

How Strong Is Chipboard

Is Chipboard Very Strong?

Chipboard is fairly strong, but unfortunately not very strong so you will need to choose carefully what you use it for.

It is surprisingly durable if you consider its weight and price but in comparison to other engineered wood like plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), or oriented strand board (OSB), it has the least amount of strength.

Being a low-density wood means that chipboard has a low amount of wood fibers per area. There are plenty of uses where chipboard will be more than strong enough. These uses include a wide range of hobbies, small furniture, and even flooring.

Is Chipboard Strong Enough To Stand On?

Chipboard is indeed strong enough to stand on. It is even strong enough to be used as flooring in some cases, this will be discussed more in the next section.

Although it is strong enough to stand on, it should not constantly be put under high pressure because it will not last.

There are also a few different options when it comes to chipboard, for example, the thickness. The thicker it is the stronger it will be so a thicker piece of chipboard will last much longer when it is stood on.

How Strong Is Chipboard Flooring?

Chipboard flooring is plenty strong enough in most cases, as long as it does not get too wet and as long as it does not get too much traffic.

The chipboard will also not be able to give very strong structural strength to the floor.

High traffic areas like a staircase or a dining room floor are also not ideal for chipboard flooring. You would want to use something that is a bit stronger in these areas because these floors take a lot of weight and they get constant traffic.

In this video, you can see how professional builders use chipboard to install flooring. It shows all you need to know to do your own DIY chipboard flooring.

Is Chipboard Strong Enough For Shelving?

Chipboard is strong enough to use for shelving, but it should not be put under too much load.

It works great for small shelves that carry light things like decorations, small plants, photo frames, etc. Heavier loads like books or big plants might give you some trouble as it could cause sagging.

It is also difficult to get a good finish on plain chipboard shelving, but you could use laminated chipboard for a better result.

Is Laminated Chipboard Stronger?

Laminated chipboard is stronger when compared to plain unfinished chipboard.

The extra strength comes from the plastic laminates or in some cases a wood veneer. Along with increased strength, it is also better looking and easier to clean and maintain.

These properties make it a popular choice for low-cost furniture that gets mass-produced. You still need to be careful though because laminated chipboard might be slightly stronger, but it still cannot carry heavy loads.

Is Chipboard Furniture Strong And Good?

Chipboard is a very popular choice when it comes to furniture, mainly because it is cheap and lightweight.

It is not the strongest material to use due to its low density and it can easily be damaged by water, but it is good and strong enough for many furniture pieces.

According to Simplicity Sofas, chipboard furniture can be expected to last 2 to 3 years or maybe a bit longer if it is not used very frequently.

That makes it a better option if you are looking for something cheap and short-term, but not if you are looking for something that will last.

Does Chipboard Have Different Thicknesses? Does It Affect Its Strength

Chipboard comes in different thicknesses and in most places, it will range from 12mm to 28mm.

The most commonly used thickness is 18mm because it gives a good balance of strength and weight. The thicker the board the stronger it will be, but then it will also be heavier, more difficult to cut, and more expensive.

You can choose the thickness that will work best for your needs. If you need something to be a bit stronger, like bigger furniture or flooring, then you can go for thicker chipboard.

Is Chipboard As Strong As Plywood?

Chipboard vs plywood

Chipboard is not as strong as plywood. Both are man-made or engineered wood but plywood is of better quality.

Plywood is made from sheets of wood veneer that are pressed and bonded together to make one solid sheet. The increased strength comes with increased weight and an increased price.

EZwoodshop describes the different plywood grades in detail. They are graded from high to low according to the type of wood, the thickness, adhesives used, and the manufacturing process.

You can choose the grade of plywood depending on what quality you need for a project.

Is Chipboard Stronger Than MDF?

Chipboard is not stronger than medium-density fiberboard (MDF).

Chipboard is also known as low-density fiberboard (LDF), so compared to MDF it has a lower density of wood particles per area – this means that chipboard is softer and thus not as strong.

MDF is also manufactured by bonding together wood fibers, but it uses higher quality wood and includes both hardwood and softwood.

This composition, as described by Start Woodworking Now, gives it good strength and makes it a good choice as a building material.

The increased density and higher wood quality also make it more expensive than chipboard (but still relatively low cost).

Is Chipboard Stronger Than Cardboard?

Chipboard is much stronger than cardboard. The two materials are not really in the same category, chipboard is mostly used for building, and cardboard is mostly used for packaging.

Each material is great when used for the correct purpose.

Cardboard is a great material as it is extremely lightweight, environmentally friendly, and can support a lot of weight as explained by Bling Bling Packaging.

It is made with a fluting layer of cardboard material that gets sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of linerboard.

In terms of cost, they are difficult to compare because they are so different. For example, one square meter of 2mm cardboard will be much cheaper than one square meter of 12mm chipboard – but then what you can do with each is much different.


Is Chipboard Stronger Than Melamine?

Chipboard is not stronger than melamine, but a melamine layer can be added to the surface of chipboard to make it stronger and to give it more protective properties.

Melamine is a kind of decorative material that can be pasted onto the surface of chipboard, MDF, and other kinds of wooden boards. The material not only gives a better-looking finish without any additional work but also increases the durability of the board.

A melamine surface gives a board heat resistance, water damage protection, wear and tear resistance, and makes it easy to clean.

Which Is Stronger OSB or Chipboard?

Chipboard and oriented strand board (OSB) is easily confused with each other. According to Wikipedia, OSB is also classified as fiberboard, but it is made using machined wood flakes.

The difference in the material used as well as the manufacturing procedure gives OSB more strength than chipboard.

Chipboard is made from smaller materials like sawmill shavings or sawdust. OSB on the other hand is made from larger wood chips, this gives it more structure and strength in comparison. OSB is therefore a good alternative if you want something slightly stronger than chipboard.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Chipboard The Same As Particle Board?

Chipboard and particle board are indeed the same thing. Chipboard is also known as particle board or low-density fiberboard.

These names come from the materials used to make the boards – wood chips or wood particles are compressed and bound to form the boards.

Why Is Chipboard Better Than Solid Wood?

Both chipboard and solid wood have their advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on what you want to accomplish, one might be a better fit than the other. Chipboard will be a better choice because it is much cheaper and much lighter when compared to solid wood.

What Is The Main Advantage Of Using Chipboard?

The main advantage of using chipboard will be its low cost.

Because chipboard is made from wood mill waste products like wood shavings and sawdust, the price is lower than any other wood product.

It is also a low-density board so it uses less wood per area and therefore it is also light in weight.

Is Chipboard Waterproof?

Chipboard does have a level of water resistance, but it is not waterproof.

Chipboard will absorb moisture causing it to expand, warp and discolor. You can give it added protection by painting it or by using other sealants.

It is best to not use chipboard in places where water or high moisture is expected.

Can Chipboard Be Cut With Scissors?

Chipboard normally comes in thicknesses from 12mm to 28mm. These thicknesses make it much too strong to be cut with any scissors.

Normally you would need power tools like a jigsaw or circular saw to cut chipboard effectively. If necessary, you can slow use a hand saw.

Does Chipboard Expand?

Chipboard will not expand when it is treated and protected correctly. However, as soon as it starts absorbing moisture it will start expanding.

Once it has started expanding, there is no way to undo the damage. It is best to keep it from getting any moisture so that it does not expand.

What Tree Does Chipboard Come From?

Chipboard does not come from any one tree specifically, it is produced by using the waste products left over by wood production.

This includes wood chips, jutestick chips, and even sawdust. It is therefore a combination of various types of wood like pine, cedar, wattle, and many more.

Is Chipboard Hard To Cut?

Chipboard is not hard to cut because it is a low-density fiberboard.

The low density means it is softer and thus easier to cut in comparison to medium-density fiberboard or plywood.

Being the lowest density still does not mean it is very easy to cut and it will require the right tools and some skill.

How Do You Cut Heavy Chipboard?

The heavier the chipboard the more difficult it will be to cut.

The heaviness can be because of the thickness or because of harder woods being used in its production.

To cut these heavy chipboards you will need the right tools, a big, sharp, and fast blade will cut through it without problems. We recommend a circular or table saw.

Can Chipboard Be Cut With An Exacto Knife?

Building chipboard can not be cut with an Exacto knife because it is too thick. Normal chipboard starts at about 12mm thickness.

There are also other types of chipboard that are used in arts and crafts that come in 1mm or 2mm thickness – these can be cut with an Exacto knife.


Through this article, we have looked at all the characteristics of chipboard including how strong it is, how you can use it, and how it compares to other types of wood like plywood, OSB, and MDF.

The most important thing is to choose the right wood for the job, if you don’t need as much strength then you can go for something thinner and cheaper, but if you are looking for maximum strength then you need to look at thicker boards.

We urge you to run your plans by local experts to get their ideas of what the right wood for the job is.