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How to Waterproof Particle Board? Easy Guide

How to Waterproof Particle Board

Particleboard is a great material for building shelving and other furniture, but the downside to it is that it isn’t waterproof. If you want to use a particle board in an outdoor setting or in a humid environment, then there are several steps you can take to make sure your particleboard doesn’t get ruined by water. Besides, you know how to waterproof MDF, plywood, and wood for bathrooms. In this article, experts will examine how you can protect your particleboard from water damage.

Why Should You Waterproof a Particleboard?

Particleboard is a type of engineered wood that’s made by breaking down ground-up wood chips into strands and then putting them together with resin to form boards. Particleboards are an inexpensive alternative to solid hardwood because they take less time and money to create. 

However, particleboards aren’t as durable or strong as real woods like teak or mahogany, which means your furniture will need protection if you want it to last through the years without cracking or warping. 

Why Should You Waterproof a Particleboard

That is why you should waterproof particleboard:

  • Waterproof particle board will ensure your furniture lasts through the years without cracking or warping;
  • It will make the wood more durable and strong;
  • It will make the wood stronger against spilled liquids or swelling in humid places;

Particle Board Sealer Types

There are 2 types of sealer that can be used on particle board:

  • Polyurethane, which comes in either oil-based or water-based variants; 
  • Epoxy resin, typically applied by brush;

Oil-based polyurethanes tend to offer greater protection than water-based variants. The one downside is their tendency to yellow after exposure to light – but doesn’t work well with some surfaces such as wood. 

Water-based polyurethanes do not cause this problem and also dry faster. However, they may end up looking dull over time due to oxidation (this varies depending upon the manufacturer). Basing your choice off the intended use will generally point you toward an appropriate type: if indoors then a fast drying variant should suffice whereas outside applications will require more long-term protection. 

Particle Board Sealer Types

Water-based sealers should be applied to particleboards in a thin, even coat by brush or roller. Oil-based polyurethanes will need to have their thinner mixed into the coating before being applied using spray equipment – this isn’t difficult though as long as you follow instructions carefully! 

Some epoxy resins are ready for use straight out of the container, whereas others must first be diluted with a solvent (check with manufacturer). 

Whichever type is used they all dry via evaporation so there’s no waiting around after application if working outdoors. It’s important that your surface remains completely free from dust and dirt until it has dried. Otherwise, these contaminants may lead to problems over time.

Also, waterproofing particle boards depends on what the finished product is going to be used for. If you are building furniture, it has been advised that you use products with low VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) [1] such as cetol or urethane in order not to emit potentially harmful fumes while drying after application. 

If your project requires waterproofed plywood or solid lumber then experts suggest using an oil-based product like linseed, tung or even raw wood oils applied several times over several days until the desired color and protection level have been reached.

This will prevent moisture from getting into the particles’ fasteners and nails underneath the surface which could lead to rotting.

Procedure to Waterproof Particle Board

Cut particle board as per project specifications

Make sure you have a sharp blade and adjust your saw accordingly to achieve smooth, straight cuts without any splinters or rough edges that will become exposed after the wood staining procedure. 

After cutting the sheets of particleboard with a circular saw, make sure all particles are removed from board surfaces by brushing them off or using 60-grit sandpaper

Procedure to Waterproof Particle Board

By removing any debris from the surface, there’s less chance for water to seep into cracks between boards during the sealing process. Sealing won’t work if pores on boards aren’t free of dust and fine particles present inside cracks & gaps of wooden material used in a project.

Apply clear acrylic sealant

After you’re satisfied with the cutting board’s dimensions and cleaned off debris from particles’ surface, apply a coat of sealer that will penetrate into pores but won’t be sticky when dry completely during curing time. It means your wooden material becomes more resistant against liquids like water seeping through its pores, fibers, and cross-grain layers under heavy pressure. 

Let the sealant dry

Even after you’ve applied a coat of sealer, wait for the material to dry completely before continuing with your project. Don’t hurry by applying another layer or two coats because it won’t work that way if wood pores are still moist and will never become waterproofed as well as if the viscosity level isn’t right during the sealing procedure. It can be done only once so make sure all surfaces are 100% dried off before coating them again with acrylic emulsion paint or any other type of water-resistant product used in projects where boards are attached together vertically or horizontally face down along their edges.


Can you waterproof particle board cabinets?

Particleboard is a composite wood product made up of sawdust and resin. It does not absorb any moisture or water whatsoever. The only way to waterproof particleboards would be to seal the surface using something like shellac paint or polyurethane varnish. You can’t glue anything on top because it’s porous – you will need panels custom cut for your furniture project that is also sealed with the same substances used in this process. 

How can you waterproof particle board properly?

Particleboard is cheap and useful, but it isn’t the most durable material. The water-resistance of particleboard depends on many factors like humidity level, location of installation, type of product (flooring or countertop), etc

To waterproof particle board properly you should choose a high-quality sealant for wood floors that will make your floor resistant to moisture by preventing absorption in the core layers of the board’s surface. 

If you want to get rid of any dirt on the top layer use sandpaper with 220 grits before applying new coatings. Once you’re done with the first two steps check if your floor is flat and even. If it’s not, use a spirit level to straighten its surface. Finally, apply sealant using a brush or roller for better results.

When applying decorative coatings on particleboard surfaces remember that they should be applied in thin layers as thick ones might cause cracks and bubbles to appear which will lower the quality of your product significantly. 

Another option is laminating over existing top coats but this method isn’t always reliable because laminated products are more expensive than those made from real wood planks so make sure you choose wisely before making final decisions about waterproofing your particle board floors or countertops!

Is the particleboard ruined if it gets wet?

If the particleboard is untreated, it will most likely swell up when water soaks into it. If this happens, you’ll have to sand down the area before applying a new finish coat. 

You can help water bead up on the surface of your particleboard by applying a coat of polyurethane. This will make it much easier to clean off any dirt, debris, or spills that get stuck in the board’s pours. 

How do you fix wet particle board?

Particleboard can become wet, but some simple steps can take to help prevent the problem:

  • Remove all the screws and nails that will let in the airflow by removing them with a drill or screwdriver so they won’t rust fastening the board together again;
  • Then cover any exposed wood edges with exterior grade sealant like paintable caulk for protection against moisture until further measures can be taken – this step helps prevent mold growth on new boards as well as fixing damaged ones;
  • Once this is done allow your board to dry thoroughly before doing anything further (this may take several days);
  • To fix more severe damage due to water exposure use an epoxy designed specifically for sealing porous surfaces such as concrete or wood;
  • Apply a thin layer of the epoxy to cover any affected area and let dry overnight before using again;

If your boards have been wet for more than 24 hours you may need to replace them entirely. This is especially true in cases where they were under constant exposure such as during flooding that damaged other parts of your home at the same time (such as flooring).

Things to do for preventing moisturized particleboard:

  • Storing it in a humid area like the basement or garage can cause moisture buildup and lead to dampness;
  • Leaving wet particle board outside without covering it will allow rainwater to absorb into the surface, so consider keeping your storage space covered and dry at all times;
  • Keeping your home’s heating system on during periods of intensely cold weather can also create high levels of humidity indoors that encourage mold growth, which is basically poison for wood products such as particleboard – this means you’ll want to keep an eye out for any signs of water damage if you use heaters frequently;

How long will particle board cabinets last?

Particleboard is a relatively inexpensive material that has been used for cabinets and other furniture pieces. However, there are some issues with this type of wood such as warping, termite infestation and it’s not waterproof which can lead to water damage during storms or floods. It may last up to 5 years if it’s used for non-prone purposes [2]

The longer the particleboard is exposed to humidity, the more likely it is that you will have problems with the warping and splitting of your cabinets.

Can you fix the swollen particleboard?

Particleboards consist of tiny pieces of wood mixed together with resins and pressed into sheets at high temperatures under pressure which makes them more durable than natural woods although not nearly as strong as plywood or solid lumber like cedar for example. The main reason why it swells up after getting wet has everything to do with its composition. Particleboards are a mix of wood fibers and resins that absorb water very easily.

Here is how you can fix swollen particle board:

  • You need epoxy glue for this particular job and some tools like a screwdriver or drill with the appropriate bit size;
  • Open up your cupboards and other storage areas where particle board was used in order to check what needs fixing before it gets worse due to moisture damage leading towards rotting;
  • After assessing how much work you have ahead of you, grab your rubber gloves, put on safety goggles (to protect yourself from flying particles while drilling), and get started;
  • If possible, remove anything made out of steel like screws which will rust if they are placed in contact with water for too long especially since drilled holes are usually not waterproof;
  • Holes should be drilled in a grid pattern on the swollen particle board where they meet at 90 degrees angles;
  • Drill only down to the level of your screws but do not drill all the way through since you need space for sealing glue under it later on;
  • After drilling, apply the epoxy resin with a putty knife and let it dry completely before inserting any screws or nails making sure that there is no paper or other flammable materials left inside so particles don’t catch fire while drying applying water-resistant sealant;
  • Place everything back into place once dried out! If you are worried about moisture damage leading up to rotting taking place again then consider using metal brackets instead;

Can you use particleboard flooring?

It depends. Particleboard is manufactured from wood fibers and wax or synthetic resin binder. It is not as water-resistant as plywood, but it can be used for outdoor projects such as garden planters and decking.

Particleboard is often used under tile in the bathroom because of its moisture resistance. However, if you are going to use particleboard flooring outdoors then you will need to seal it with an exterior waterproof product like polyurethane varnish or paint that has been specially designed for this purpose. 

What happens when the chipboard gets wet?

When it gets wet, the wood fibers swell and the chipboard begins to rot. When the chipboard is not treated with a waterproofing agent, all of your efforts are wasted on building an object that will soon break apart. 

How do you finish the particleboard?

Particleboard differs from hardwood in that it has a laminated wood core. This means you can’t glue on top of it like you can with solid wood boards, and because the outer layer of particleboard is so thin (typically only 0.75 mm with 16mm for the whole particle board sheet) [3], water will get through to the interior very quickly if not sealed off properly during finishing. 

Typically, experts recommend using an oil-based finish such as polyurethane or Danish oil for this purpose

Can you use polyurethane on MDF?

MDF may also be coated with polyurethane to seal it. MDF, which stands for medium fiberboard, is utilized in a variety of home decor items such as shelves and speaker boxes. It’s easier to work with than other types of plywood or particleboard. Water damage can be prevented by applying polyurethane to MDF.


  1. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-are-volatile-organic-compounds-vocs
  2. https://www.cabinetswarehouse.com/do-you-really-want-particle-boards/
  3. https://wilsontimbers.com/media/wysiwyg/Brochures/ewpaa_facts_about_pb_and_mdf.pdf

Useful Video: Particle Board Flooring and Waterproofing