Particle Board Subflooring: Good Or Bad Idea? [Answered]

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You’re renovating your house. While doing so you come across a material called particle boards. This goes very well with the entire pattern of your house. So you’re now wondering if they are good to use or not. 

So, is it good to try particle board subflooring?

The short answer would be, no! Particle boards have some good benefits in a building. It’s cost-effective and great to carpet on. But it is a poor material to be used as a subfloor. Its composition is vulnerable to many types of problems. Both environmental and physical. Also, it might chip easily.

Interested to learn more about it? That’s just the preview. Let’s get into the article to go through the details!

What Is A Particle Board?

Before talking about particle board subflooring, we need to know what it is. A particle board is made from various wood particles that are bonded together with resin. These are usually made as 4×8 sheet panels by using heat and pressure.

Here the wood particles are made of wood such as sawdust, trimmings, shavings, etc. These can be found from plywood and wood product waste. That’s why it’s also called wafer board, chipboard, flakeboard as well.

What Is The Purpose Of The Subfloor?

Well, it’s one of the essential parts of the house structure that supports your floors. Underlayment is also considered a subfloor. But the thick hardwood layer is the real subfloor that is screwed into the floor joists.

As this is the backbone of your flooring it needs to be sturdy and damage-resistant. Otherwise, it won’t hold on to the weight and cave in. That is why choosing the best material for the subfloor is paramount.

Can You Use Particle Board To Subfloor?

In some house buildings, particle boards are used in subflooring. It is an option professionals use if required. 

However, it’s not something that is recommended. These particle boards are useful for construction works. The bonded wood fragments are covered by a solid smooth surface. This gives them extra integrity and durability for building works.

Nonetheless, there are quite a few drawbacks as well. We have these listed down below!

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Subflooring

Now we can say that there are benefits of using particle boards as subfloors. But the disadvantages outweigh them. We’ve discussed both of them below

Benefits Using Particle Board

The benefits of using particle boards as subfloors are quite substantial. This is why many projects use it well. 

Firstly they are quite cost-effective. A 4×8 size board costs about 10$ while compared to the whopping price of $35 for plywood. Moreover, this smooth, soft-touch surface is great for direct carpeting or vinyl flooring. Plus it provides quite a thick base. 

Furthermore, it can also help to raise height between different structures. These boards can be flexed if given heat, this ensures a smooth transition between spaces.

However, these benefits are quite insignificant compared to the disadvantages.

Disadvantages For Using Particle Board

Well as previously mentioned there are quite a few drawbacks. Now, you can carpet over laminate floors. But with subflooring, there are problems of mold and bacteria growth from moisture damage.

Moisture Damage

This is one of the most obvious and frequent problems of particle boards. As it is made out of wood the risk of moisture exposure is high. 

These boards crack, warps, swells, and gradually disintegrates the particle board. This makes the floor unstable and risks caving. Most particle boards start to rot which gives a disgusting smell all over your house. 

Mold And Bacteria Growth

Particle boards absorb moisture and invite molds and bacteria to grow. These gradually spread throughout the whole subfloor and start rotting your house slowly. It leaves a musty smell under the floorboards and might be dangerous to your health. 

Molds and bacteria growth creates a biohazard for your home’s environment. It also directly violates house building codes. Moreover, it creates more repair work and extra spending just towards maintenance. 

Insect Buildup

Particle boards are made of untreated wood chips thus attracting all kinds of insects. This might include termites, carpenter ants, woodworms, spiders, and so on. 

These insects can invade your house’s structures and lead to more renovation and regular maintenance. Hence, increasing your spending tenfold. 

Problems While Doing Installation Works

Using particle boards in subflooring also comes with installation problems. Particle boards are easy to get damaged in construction. 

These can chip away or a portion might get off of the board. Thus it’ll be unusable for subflooring. Moreover, subflooring with particle boards might make it difficult to tile on. Because it’ll make an uneven surface for tiling

This will also increase the cost of subflooring and the time of work. In turn, delaying your deadlines for finishing the job.

Overall, particle boards create a lot of unnecessary problems and extra spendings. So it’s better not to use them in subflooring.

What’s Best Material For Subflooring?

Well for subflooring we’d suggest you go for a material that is durable and stronger. That’s why we recommend you not use plywood.

Here the best option might be to use plywood. It is the go-to material for subflooring and it’s far better than particle boards.

Plywood is made from sheets of wood compressed into a single material. This makes it stronger compared to particle boards and much more durable too. Moreover, plywood lasts longer and can sustain humidity. Hence providing a much stronger base. 

Also, you can cut and readjust it in any way possible without creating a big mess. 

However, it’s better to not run ductwork from room to room using plywood. It might work for now, but you’ll have to change it eventually. 

But obviously, you’ll have to use good-quality plywood panels to get these benefits. The market is saturated with lots of plywood options. We recommend these plywoods for the best experience:

Product 1
Product 2

These brands make good-quality plywood panels. So, you can use these without any doubt. 

How To Install Subfloor Using Particle Board 

If you’re still interested in using particle board as a subfloor, we’ve got your back! Installing a subfloor is a process that’s the same for any material that you’ll use. 

However, it might be a bit of work for you. But following the steps accordingly will help you do this work smoothly. 

Firstly, start by taking the subfloor panels and lay them down over your floor structure. 

Make sure the panel ends lay over the floor beams. That will maintain the sturdiness of your subfloor. If any boards need trimming for perfect fitting, cut them using a saw.

Now, apply subfloor construction adhesive to the floor structure. Then, carefully set your particle boards over the floor. Finally, nail the particle boards to the floor structure. 

Use a nail gun for easier work. After that, check for any uneven panels. You might need a mullet to even down the nailed points. Then, you’re done with installing your subfloor.

That’s everything you need to know on how to use particle boards in the subfloor. Also, we’ve detailed all the reasons you shouldn’t use this for subflooring. We urge you to go for plywood for good construction and better build quality.

FAQs

Question: Is it hard to replace the subfloor?

Answer: Subfloor replacement is a hard process. The subfloor usually runs in a continuous sheet. Thus, replacing it means replacing the underlayment, flooring, and sealant altogether. This is a tedious and expensive process.

Question: How do you calculate subfloor?

Answer: Calculating the area of the subfloor is very simple. Just divide the total sq ft. of your floor with the sq ft of your plywood panel sheet. The answer will be the amount of plywood subfloor you’ll need.

Question: What do you seal a subfloor with?

Answer: You can seal your subfloor using dry concrete or sealant mixture. Sealing the subfloor will ensure your house has a long-lasting, durable floor. It also will protect the subfloor from rotting and degradation.

Conclusion

This brings us to the last section of this article. Undertaking a flooring project might be a very complicated job. That’s why it’s better to not use particle board subflooring. We hope that we have clarified all your queries about using particle boards. 

Have a great day!

Scott Kelly