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Chipboard vs. Hardboard: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 11, 2023
Chipboard is a type of engineered wood product made from wood chips and resin, while hardboard is a dense board made from compressed wood fibers.

Key Differences

Chipboard, also known as particle board, is made from wood chips, shavings, and sawdust bonded together with resin. Hardboard, on the other hand, is made by compressing wood fibers in a hot press to create a dense, rigid board.
Chipboard is generally lighter and less expensive but less durable than hardboard. While, hardboard is denser, offering more strength and resistance to wear and tear compared to chipboard.
The surface of chipboard is typically rough and not as smooth as hardboard, making it less ideal for painting or finishing. However, hardboard has a smooth surface, which can be easily painted or used for veneers.
Chipboard is often used for furniture, cabinetry, and as a substrate for countertops due to its low cost. Conversely, hardboard is preferred for more demanding applications like flooring underlayment, paneling, and backing for furniture and cabinets.
In terms of environmental impact, chipboard often utilizes recycled wood materials, while hardboard manufacturing involves a higher consumption of wood fibers but often avoids the use of additional binders or resins.

Comparison Chart

Material Composition

Wood chips and resin
Compressed wood fibers


Less dense
More dense

Surface Texture

Rougher surface
Smoother surface

Strength and Durability

Less strong and durable
More strong and durable

Common Uses

Furniture, cabinetry, substrates
Flooring underlayment, paneling, backing

Chipboard and Hardboard Definitions


A board made from compressed wood chips and resin.
The bookshelf is made of chipboard.


A dense board made from compressed wood fibers.
The drawer's bottom is made of hardboard.


Has a rough surface, not ideal for finishing.
The chipboard's texture was visible through the paint.


Has a smooth surface suitable for painting.
The artist used hardboard as a canvas for the painting.


Used in budget-friendly furniture and cabinetry.
They chose chipboard for the kitchen cabinets due to its cost.


More durable compared to chipboard.
The hardboard shelves are more resistant to wear.


A less durable but affordable wood product.
The chipboard desk is lightweight but less sturdy.


Ideal for applications needing strength and smoothness.
They used hardboard for the interior paneling.


Often incorporates recycled wood materials.
The chipboard used in this project is eco-friendly.


Often used in flooring underlayment and furniture backing.
The hardboard provided a sturdy base for the laminate flooring.


A pasteboard made from discarded paper.


A construction board made by compressing fibers of wood chips usually with a binder at a high temperature.


A building material made from wood chips compressed and bound with synthetic resin.


A high-density chipboard.


A cheap hard material made from wood chips that are pressed together and bound with synthetic resin.


A cheap hard material made from wood chips that are pressed together and bound with synthetic resin to form sheets, used in construction and various other purposes; - called also particle board and chipboard.


A cheap hard material made from wood chips that are pressed together and bound with synthetic resin


A cheap hard material made from wood chips that are pressed together and bound with synthetic resin


Is chipboard waterproof?

No, it's susceptible to moisture damage.

What is hardboard used for?

Flooring underlayment, paneling, and furniture backing.

Can chipboard be painted?

Yes, but it requires preparation due to its rough surface.

Is hardboard expensive?

It's relatively inexpensive but costlier than chipboard.

What's the lifespan of chipboard furniture?

It varies but is generally shorter due to less durability.

What is chipboard?

An engineered wood product made from wood chips and resin.

Can hardboard be used outdoors?

Not recommended, as it's not moisture-resistant.

Is chipboard eco-friendly?

It can be, especially when made with recycled wood.

Is hardboard stronger than chipboard?

Yes, hardboard is generally denser and more durable.

Does hardboard warp easily?

It's more resistant to warping compared to chipboard.

Can you nail into hardboard?

Yes, but it requires care to avoid splitting.

Is hardboard safe for indoor use?

Generally, yes, especially if it's low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Can hardboard be recycled?

Recycling options are limited due to its density and binding agents.

Does chipboard have a smooth surface?

No, its surface is typically rougher.

Are chipboard and hardboard resistant to pests?

Both are susceptible to pests like termites.

What's the weight difference between chipboard and hardboard?

Chipboard is lighter than hardboard.

Is chipboard good for shelving?

For light use, yes, but it's not as sturdy as hardboard.

Is hardboard suitable for crafting?

Yes, its smooth surface makes it good for painting and crafts.

How is hardboard made?

By compressing wood fibers in a hot press.

Can chipboard support heavy loads?

It's less suitable for heavy loads due to its lower density.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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