We have all been in an awkward situation regarding particle boards and screws. Just because they were probably given to us or because we found them on the street and decided to make up something totally renewed.
But shortly after, using screws against this special type of wood came and it all went to hell.
In this article, we are going to be discussing the nature of this man-made type of wood and how it is best handled. Sounds promising, right?
I can assure you that by the end of this article, you will be giving tips to all of your friends with their recently-purchased Ikea items, luckily now installed and in place.
What are particle boards precisely?
It is well know that wood comes from trees but not all wood pieces suffer the same kind of treatment once the tree has seen the saw for the first time. Actually, there are subtler classifications of woods, and many of these are meant to play by the rules of different roles within construction.
The first classification that is concerned when addressing particle boards is that of density. Particle boards pertain to soft wood, as opposed to hard wood. The tag already gives us a hint as to what it means but the differences lays on the fact that they are used distinctively.
Also known as chipboard, particle boards are made with wood chips, sawmill shavings and wood dust, all combined with the glue power of almighty and centuries-old resin (or other 21st century binders).
Once these elements have been combined, they are pressed and extruded before combining on top and for the last time with a thin layer of cover.
The cover, in fact, is an essential part of any chipboard. Why? Well, at first sight we cannot differentiate a solid wood-made piece of furniture from one made with only particle boards, precisely because of the cover.
It provides any piece of furniture with the most professional outlook while relieving the stress of the floor, which sustains a very different kind of weight.
Yes, both types of furniture may look the same on the exterior but actually, the variance remains inside. The mixture of wood-derived elements found on the inside of particle boards confers a light-weight feature.
Probably, the first step for telling apart one wood-solid piece of furniture from one that is made with chipboard is addressing their respective weights. Try lifting them both and, as for their size, see how many arms you need to pull them up, or rather, through.
Why particle boards?
By this point, you probably understood that particle boards aren’t as structurally sound as plywood or medium-density fiberboard, to name some. Also, you must have grasped that thanks to their ease and nature, particle boards are considerably cheaper.
But not everything is money, right? A definite no. If you are now starting to handle wood and you are about to take on your first assembling project, you may have hit the wrong kind of wood.
This type of wood is outstandingly brittle in many ways and working with it can end up in complete mayhem if not handled duly, most likely by the hands of an inexperienced user.
Don’t worry. We have the answers to any of your chipboard-related issues.
How to use screws for particle board or chipboard
- When you want to screw particle boards together, make sure you do it slowly and steadily. This type of wood seems to appreciate kindness at all times. Really, it falls apart when pressed too heavily.
- Do not by any means rush a screw near to the edges. Vital for keeping the piece together.
- Use pilot holes beforehand.
- Once the pilot hole has been set, use some glue. This is meant to create better gripping conditions inside the hole once the screw has been inserted.
- Calculate around 80% less diameter of the pilot hole in comparison to that of the screw.
- Make sure pilot holes were drilled deeper than the length of the screw.
- Once you are screwing, ascertain that you do not go beyond the head of the screw. Over-tightening often results in weakening of the piece, rather than actual binding.
- If you are using a very large screw, it is safer to drill in advance the particle board and then continue with the actual use of the screw. Since big screws are harder to handle, so is for the wood to let it bite in.
- Take advantage of tape. Place on the drill bit to signal when to stop screwing in.
- If you are overwhelmed by the vast variety of glues at the shop, don’t worry. You are safe choosing either wood glue –most common type – or else, Gorilla wood.
- If the chipboard to be screwed is old or by the same token, it has been weakened over time, it is safer to use a screw that is a tiny bit wider than the hole. This is to say that if you do not trust in the overall condition of the particle board or there used to be other screws inserted instead, you should choose a bigger screw than the one previously placed. This is aimed at biting more wood on the edges and therefore, obtaining more grip after installation.
What type of screws should I buy?
Now, of all available screws for particle board in the market, which is the most appropriate one for the job? We’d be on the safe side picking out either Spax or GRK. If you have a problem using these, it is not the clipboard in question: forewarned. Click here to discover which screw is the most suitable for particle boards!
The screw pulled out: what do I do?
If despite all previous tips, the process to screw these did not work out for you, follow these simple steps and let the repairing process begin.
- Using a cleaning tool, like a chisel or a screwdriver, try to clean the inside of the hole.
- Combine hardener (as recommended by the manufacturer) and epoxy wood filler or polyester resin. This will make the pieces come together again.
- With the help of wooden toothpicks, fill the holes using the mixture of binder. Use as many wooden toothpicks as necessary to recreate initial conditions. The wood in combination with the glue will bind strongly together in an hour approximately. When completely dried, cut the toothpicks coming out of the surface.
- Sand the surface of the repaired area if this face of the board is visible or needs further amendment.
Remember: particle boards are convenient mainly for indoors use. If placed outdoors, in combination with humidity, chipboards decay in a matter of days.
Make sure that the piece of furniture is covered with paint or another sealer in these cases so as to take the greatest advantage of this cheap, stable and most convenient type of wooden material.
Hi! I’m Kevin, voice of LuxuryHomeStuff.com, blog author, and passionate manufacturing engineer. This space is where I share D.I.Y tips, smart home appliances, stories of home-improvement and home-decor, and resources to help you explore an informed and compassionate relationship with luxury home stuffs.