15th Nov 2023 -

While chipboard sheets lack the strength of plywood and oriented strand boards (OSB), proper installation techniques allow them to be used effectively. This article is your go-to resource for navigating chipboard installation.

Understanding best practices for cutting, fastening, finishing and reinforcing chipboard enables it to be worked with efficiently.

What is a chipboard?

Also known as particleboard, a chipboard is crafted from wood particles, such as sawdust, wood chips and shavings. These components are bound together with an adhesive, usually a resin or polymer. The mixture is then pressed and heat is used to create a dense, sturdy sheet material with uniform properties. 

By utilising wood particles that might otherwise go to waste, chipboard aligns with sustainable practices. Its composition also allows for a smooth, flat surface, which makes it ideal for various finishes and treatments.

There are many chipboard uses such as for non-structural building jobs, floor underlayment, as well as crafting shelves and furniture.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of chipboards?

Learning the aspects of chipboard allows you to leverage its benefits while navigating potential challenges. Here, we outline the advantages and disadvantages of chipboard in construction.


  • Cost-effective: Chipboard is an economic choice for construction projects. It is particularly appealing for large-scale jobs where cost considerations are paramount. Chipboard’s affordability does not significantly compromise performance, offering a cost-efficient alternative to solid wood or plywood.
  • Versatility: As outlined above, chipboards come in various types. Their adaptability makes them suitable for diverse construction needs. This includes chipboards for floors, roofing and chipboard loft boards. Their versatility extends to various finish and laminate options, such as paint and veneers, to allow for creative design.
  • Eco-friendly: The eco-friendly nature of chipboard lies in its use of recycled wood particles. By repurposing wood waste, chipboard contributes to sustainable construction practices. It minimises the environmental impact associated with deforestation. Choosing chipboard aligns with the growing emphasis on green building materials.
  • Smooth surface: Chipboard's composition results in a smooth and uniform surface, providing an excellent base for finishes. This quality is particularly advantageous in applications where aesthetics matter, such as insulated chipboard flooring.
  • Consistent properties: It exhibits consistent strength and density throughout its structure. This predictability in material properties is valuable for construction professionals. It ensures that the material upholds its uniformity across different sections of a project. 


  • Moisture sensitivity: A primary drawback of chipboard is its susceptibility to moisture. When exposed to water, chipboards can swell, warp, or even disintegrate. To mitigate this, proper sealing and moisture-resistant treatments are crucial. This is especially true in areas prone to high humidity or water exposure.
  • Limited strength: While chipboard is suitable for many construction projects, it may not possess the same structural strength as solid wood or plywood. This limitation means it might not be the best choice for situations where high load-bearing capacity is critical or within heavy-duty construction.
  • Formaldehyde emissions: Some types of chipboards may emit formaldehyde, a known indoor air pollutant. This can be a concern for indoor air quality, especially in commercial or residential spaces like a loft. Choosing chipboards with low-emission or formaldehyde-free options supports healthier indoor environments.
  • Limited repairability: Unlike solid wood, chipboards are often challenging to repair once damaged. In cases of damage, replacement might be a more practical solution. This limitation highlights the importance of careful handling and installation. It helps to avoid potential issues that might necessitate extensive repairs.

9 top tips for a seamless chipboard installation

Mastering the installation of chipboard is paramount to avoid costly mistakes. In this section, we unveil 9 practical tips to achieve a seamless installation without any problems. 

1. Precision in measurement

Begin the installation with meticulous measurements, ensuring accuracy down to the finest detail. The "measure twice, cut once" rule is particularly true when working with chipboard sheets. Taking the time to establish precise measurements lays the foundation for a seamless fit. 

2. Mindful handling of chipboard

Treat each board with the care it deserves. Mindful handling minimises the risk of edge damage and surface imperfections, preserving its condition. By prioritising careful handling, you ensure that the chipboard is in optimal shape. 

3. Prevent moisture ingress

You must proactively shield the chipboard from potential water exposure. Opt for moisture-resistant chipboard sheets in areas prone to dampness. Also, apply sealants generously to create a protective barrier. This guards against the swelling and warping that moisture can induce.

4. Strategic fastening

The fastening of chipboards is an art that demands precision and strategy. Pre-drilling holes prevent the chipboard from splitting. Also, choosing the right screw or nail fixings ensures a secure and stable connection to reinforce the structure’s reliability.

5. Consider load-bearing requirements

Before you lay the chipboard, assess the load-bearing requirements of the intended structure. Make sure to choose the appropriate thickness and density of chipboard sheets. You should reinforce areas subjected to heavy loads with additional supports. This ensures the longevity and durability of the installation.

6. Optimise adhesive application

Ensuring proper surface preparation is crucial to providing a pristine canvas for artistic endeavours. Following manufacturer guidelines for adhesion not only prevents delamination or separation but also fosters a robust bond. It enhances the overall stability of the construction.

7. Plan for expansion gaps

Accounting for expansion and contraction is a strategic move. Leaving small gaps between each chipboard panel allows for the ebb and flow of temperature and humidity changes. It is particularly beneficial for flooring installations. This thoughtful consideration prevents buckling or warping, maintaining structural integrity. 

8. Thorough surface preparation

Before the symphony of installation begins, the stage must be set meticulously. Thorough surface preparation involves cleaning and levelling. You should also ensure the substrate is free from debris. This step not only enhances adhesion but also contributes to a smoother installation process. 

9. Strategic joint placement

Planning the placement of joints, especially in larger installations, avoids clustering in high-traffic areas. The strategic distribution of joints promotes even stress distribution. As a result, it contributes to the construction’s overall stability and longevity. 

How to install chipboard flooring: A step-by-step guide

The process of laying a chipboard floor requires the perfect blend of precision and craftsmanship. In this step-by-step guide, we detail the essential steps of chipboard flooring installation. 

Step 1: Preparation

  • Begin the process by carefully assessing the condition of the existing subfloor. It should be clean, dry, level, and devoid of any debris or irregularities. Address any issues with the underfloor before proceeding. 
  • Next, select chipboard sheets that are specifically designed for flooring applications. Take into consideration factors such as their thick and dense properties. 
  • Allow the chipboard sheets to acclimatise to the environment. Store them in the installation area for at least 48 hours to prevent post-installation expansion or contraction.

Step 2: Layout and measurement

  • With the subfloor ready, plan the layout of the chipboard sheets. Keep in mind the direction of the joists and the positioning of the seams. It is crucial to avoid aligning joints with those in the subfloor for added stability. 
  • Measure the installation area precisely, marking the dimensions on the chipboard sheets. Use a straight edge and a circular saw for accurate cuts. Pay particular attention to doorways and corners.

Step 3: Installation

  • Continue the installation process by laying the chipboard in one corner of the room. Place the first sheet with the tongue facing the centre of the room, allowing for proper expansion along the walls. 
  • Utilise the tongue and groove chipboard system to connect sheets. Apply wood glue to the joints for enhanced stability. Pre-drill holes to prevent splitting and stagger joints to protect the overall strength of the floor. 
  • Leave small expansion gaps (around 10mm) between sheets and at the perimeter of the room. This is to accommodate potential expansion due to temperature and humidity changes.

Step 4: Finishing touches

  • Once the chipboard is installed, address any gaps or imperfections between sheets by filling them with wood filler. Sand the chipboard face to achieve a smooth and even finish.
  • Subsequently, apply desired finishes such as staining, varnishing, or sealing to enhance durability and aesthetics.

Step 5: Quality check and post-installation

  • Make sure to conduct a meticulous inspection of the installed chipboard flooring. You should identify any protruding chipboard screws, uneven surfaces, or other issues that may require correction. 
  • If finishes or adhesives were applied during the installation, allow the chipboard flooring to dry completely before subjecting it to heavy traffic.

Can you use tiles on chipboard sheets?

Yes, tiling on chipboard sheets is possible. However, it requires careful consideration and proper preparation. Chipboard is not as waterproof as some other materials. With this in mind, you should take the necessary steps such as utilising waterproof chipboard flooring methods to prevent damage.

Below are the key points to consider.

Tile-type and sizeConsider the type and size of the tiles. Larger and heavier tiles may require additional support to prevent sagging or flexing of the chipboard.
Subfloor conditionAssess the condition of the chipboard subfloor. It should be clean, dry, and free from any damage or irregularities. Address any issues with the subfloor before proceeding with the tile installation.
GroutingUse a flexible grout that accommodates any slight movements on the floor. Flexible grout helps prevent cracks and ensures a long-lasting and resilient tile installation.
Moisture protectionBecause the chipboard is susceptible to moisture and water damage, be sure to apply a suitable moisture-resistant sealant to the chipboard. This will help to create a barrier against moisture.
Testing adhesionBefore applying tiles across the entire surface, perform a small test area to ensure proper adhesion of the tiles to the chipboard. This can help identify any issues early in the process.
Sealing joints and edgesMake sure you seal the joints and edges of the chipboard to prevent water infiltration. Pay special attention to areas around sinks, showers, and other water-prone spaces.

Superb chipboard sheets for all construction jobs

Discover the versatility and affordability of chipboard sheets. Our extensive selection offers a reliable choice for various jobs, from sturdy flooring to robust furniture. Chipboard's compressed wood particle composition makes it an economical yet durable option.

It is a perfect solution if you are seeking high-performance sheet materials. Explore our range and unlock the potential of chipboard for your construction projects.

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