Design Portfolio: Producing products with particleboard
Design Portfolio

Particleboard is a composite panel product consisting of cellulosic particles of various sizes that are bonded together with a synthetic resin or binder under heat and pressure widely used in manufacturing office and residential furniture, countertops, kitchen cabinets, shelving, store fixtures, underlayment, door core and stair treads.

Advancements in the manufacture of particleboard give industrial users the consistent quality and design flexibility needed for fast, efficient production lines and quality consumer products. This is accomplished in various ways, including particle geometry, resin levels, board density and manufacturing processes. Additionally, additives can be incorporated during manufacturing to impart specific performance enhancements, including greater dimensional stability, increased fire retardancy and moisture resistance.

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Inspirations: Particleboard has excellent machining characteristics, an important factor when postforming high pressure laminate countertops. Other popular uses include cabinetry, furniture, store fixtures, shelving, door core, flooring underlayment, stair treads, and manufacturing home decking.



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Composite Panel Association: Design Portfolio 2023

Product Standards, Certification, and Environmental Specifications
ANSI A208.1 Particleboard is the North American industry voluntary standard for use and specification. The standard classifies particleboard by density and strength; covers physical, dimensional, and mechanical characteristics; and addresses formaldehyde emission levels. ANSI A208.1 is sponsored by the Composite Panel Association (CPA) and is developed in conjunction with industry stakeholders including producers, users and other interested groups. 

A summary of the Particleboard Property Requirements is shown below and copies of ANSI A208.1 are available on the CPA website,

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Third-party certification to ANSI 208.1 is required for many applications of composite panels. For example, many building code jurisdictions require the physical properties of particleboard underlayment and stair treads to be third-party certified. All manufacturers of particleboard sold in the U.S. and Canada must meet the third-party certification and formaldehyde emissions testing requirements under EPA’s TSCA Title VI and CARB ATCM 93120 or the Canadian regulations (CANFER, DORS / 2021-148).

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are the widely accepted standardized specification format for communicating a product’s environmental footprint and performance. EPDs are the definitive source of technical, environmental data scientifically based on life cycle analysis (LCA) and can be used to compare alternative product materials directly.  The existing industry-wide EPD for North American particleboard was recently updated and is now available.

Read the article “Selecting Composite Wood Panels” in Design Portfolio for additional information.

Formaldehyde Emission Limits
Compliance with EPA TSCA Title VI and CARB ATCM 93120, ANSI A208.1 allows for a maximum of 0.09 ppm emission level for particleboard. 

Many particleboard manufacturers offer ultra low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) and no-added formaldehyde (NAF) products to meet the market’s needs. Those companies currently producing ULEF and NAF products are identified in the product listings in this issue of Design Portfolio.

In addition, CPA’s Eco-Certified Composite (ECC) Sustainability Certification Program requires that certified participants meet the stringent emission limits in the EPA TSCA Title VI and CARB ATCM 93120 regulations for 100% of the facility’s manufactured panels.

Finally, various overlays and surface treatments have significantly reduced product emissions. For additional information about emissions, see the CPA Technical Bulletin “VOC Emission Barrier Effects.”

View a spec chart of Composite Panel Association members that produce particleboard.


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