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Chipboard flooring is sub-flooring made from coarse sawdust combined with resin. The sawdust and resin mixture is heat processed and pressed to form large sheets. Chipboard is also called particle board; it's easy to see the small bits of sawdust that make up the flooring sheets. Chipboard flooring is made in different thicknesses; each standard thickness is color-coded for easy identification. High density chipboard is used for sub-flooring, or the base for carpet or other flooring surface, because it's inexpensive, yet heavy duty.
Only high density chipboard is usable for flooring. There are three grades or densities of chipboard manufactured today: normal, medium and high density. Normal density chipboard is quite soft, while medium-dense chipboard is firmer. High density chipboard isn't as porous as the other two; it's the most water-resistant of the three types. Water damaged chipboard easily breaks down.
High density chipboard flooring must be clearly marked as such when it's for sale, since the other particle board types aren't suitable for use as floors. The less dense particle board or chipboard types may be used for drawer liners in some furniture pieces such as chests of drawers. High density chipboard is used for some kitchen cabinet frames and desktops as well as sub-flooring.
Chipboard flooring sheets connect together in a tongue and groove method. The high density chipboard sheets must be measured and cut to fit the floor space as well as the home's joist spacing. The boards are nailed or screwed down. One problem with chipboard floors is that they’re susceptible to creaking sounds within a few weeks of installation. Loose boards may also cause a bouncy feeling that a person may notice when walking on the floor.
It's crucial that high density chipboard flooring sheets are tightly attached to form a sub-floor less prone to squeaking. Another common occurrence with chipboard floors is their tendency to bubble. Any bubbling or blistering can usually be sanded down flat. Chipboard floor sheets can be purchased in varieties that are mold- and termite-resistant. Laws may require all chipboard flooring manufactured to be flame-retardant.
High density chipboard flooring is considered long-wearing and tough. It can be used as a base or sub-flooring for all types of floor coverings including carpet, stone, wood and ceramic tile. Chipboard floors are not usually used for main floor coverings; the pressed sawdust and resin effect isn’t the most attractive look. Steel and cement are alternatives to a high density chipboard sub-floor.