How to Waterproof Particle Board?

Particle board is an affordable and well-known material for all sorts of crafts or DIY projects. But unfortunately, it isn’t the strongest or most water-resistant building material you can find on the market.

Thus, you need to seal it if you plan to use it outside or for activities that require exposure to water. This begs the question: how to waterproof particle board?

how to waterproof particle board

The ideal technique for waterproofing a particle board is to use a sealant after installing the particle board. While this process takes time, it offers long-lasting benefits.

This article will look into waterproofing particle boards and the best sealants for this purpose.

Does Particle Board Need Waterproofing?

Particle board is made up of a mix of wood chip scraps and larger wood shavings. Thus, it’s cheaper. 

In fact, particle board is a softwood. Its nature makes it less sensitive to temperature changes than other softwoods like plywood. However, because it’s a weaker kind of wood, this increases its susceptibility to moisture.

Even though particle board may absorb moisture like a sponge, it’s still possible to waterproof it. 

Just limit yourself to water-based sealants. Additionally, choose a sealant that can penetrate the particle board surface for added coverage.

What Sealant to Use?

Here’s what you need to know about particle board sealants:

Oil-Based Poly Sealant

In woodworking, oil-based poly is renowned for its distinctive odor and lengthy drying times. Oil is denser than water; hence it’s sturdier and has a longer shelf-life than its water-based counterpart. 

To add, oil-based poly is easier to apply, offers a natural look, darkens the wood over time, and can make the surfaces glossier and smoother. 


However, the drawback is that oil-based poly may cake on bristles. As such, you need to use a thinner to clean the brushes after usage.

Water-Based Sealant

Water-based sealants have similar sealing benefits to oil-based ones. However, they dry faster and have a milder odor compared to oil-based poly. 

Since water-based poly contains fewer chemicals, you can recycle its containers. Additionally, you can easily wipe spills and excess with water and soap rather than using a thinner. 

However, water-based poly is more susceptible to heat and might have potential damage from prolonged contact with liquids. 

Also, you may notice brush strokes during application. As such, you need to apply multiple times than its oil-based counterparts. 

To add, water-based poly typically costs more than oil-based ones, given the fact that they’re more natural. This is a factor to keep in mind if you’re on a tight budget.

Epoxy Sealants 

Epoxy sealants are fairly cheaper than oil and water-based sealants. It also provides your finish with a lustrous finish and durability. 

mixing epoxy

It does, however, take a considerable amount of time to cure (up to a whopping 24 hours). This makes it an unfavorable choice for longer projects.

It also can and will cause some bubbling if your surface isn’t completely dry. Also, you mustn’t apply epoxy in multiple layers since its thermosetting qualities can delay the process, leaving a poor finish.

When to Use Polyurethane and Epoxy Sealants

Here’s how to decide your suitable sealant type:

Oil-Based Poly

This coating delivers great water and wear resistance. Therefore, it’s an excellent option for outdoor furniture and wooden floors. However, if you wish to use multiple coatings, you’ll need to give it more time to dry. 

Does Polyurethane Waterproof Wood

Nevertheless, oil-based polyurethane provides great thickness and durability. You should only use oil-based poly in a well-ventilated indoor area.

For uniform, polished finishes, spraying oil-based polyurethane is the best application method.

Water-Based Poly

If you’re allergic to chemicals, you should use water-based polyurethane. Water-based poly coatings are simple to use and easy to clean. 

In addition, water-based polyurethanes may be the best option for you if you want a thinner yet versatile coating. 

Epoxy Sealant

Compared to poly surfaces, epoxy offers more sturdiness. This kind of coating is stiffer and has strong pressure resistance. Epoxy can be the best choice if you plan to use it on heavy equipment.

Furthermore, in terms of material resistance, epoxy outperforms poly. This means that epoxy can be used to waterproof any wood where chemicals are present. 

5 Steps to Make Your Particle Board Waterproof

Here’s how to waterproof your particle board:

1. Safety Measures

Take safety measures before you start the particle board sealing process by putting on gloves, a mask, and safety glasses.

Particle boards are made from wood shavings, sawdust, and adhesive. As you begin, these shavings splinter into the air when cutting or sanding the boards. You wouldn’t want sawdust to irritate your eyes or enter your lungs.

2. Measure the Particle Board

Using a pen, label the spots where you’ll place the particle board. Then, measure the area’s size using a tape measure. Get the length and width, then record the values on scrap paper. 

On the particle boards, draw the same measurements. Ensure that you’re using the right dimensions for each region.

3. Cut the Particle Board

To start, cut the board with a hacksaw or jigsaw. 

cutting particle board

Avoid cutting too fast. Be patient and carefully cut along the line you marked. This guarantees that the boards are cut properly and safely.

4. Apply the Sealant

Seal the particle board’s edges using a clear acrylic sealant. Ensure that the moisture-prone board surfaces have a coating applied to them.

Give the sealant a brisk shake to thoroughly blend the contents before use. With a slight amount of sealant, coat the boards in a uniform layer. You can use a brush or roller for this.

Add a layer of coating onto any surfaces that are likely to be exposed to moisture. Make sure that both sides of the board are evenly coated.

5. Allow It to Dry

After giving the board a thick sealant coating, let it dry completely. Once it’s thoroughly dried, look carefully to see if any remaining gaps must be sealed.

Then, apply a second coating to the gapped areas. Allow them to dry. Alternatively, you can use a hairdryer set to low heat to dry the sealed board.

That’s it!

Make Sure Particle Board Edges Are Properly Sealed

If you’re doubtful whether the edges of your particle board are sealed or not, the water beading test is the fastest and easiest approach.

Grab a small cup of water and start the test. Pour a modest amount of water on the particle board. Ensure that it landed on the edge’s surface and not in the center of the board. 

Allow the water to sit on the board edges for at least five minutes. Then, check back to see if the edges absorbed the water. 

Ultimately, your particle board edges are properly sealed if the water drops are still in the exact state as when you left them.

When Do You Waterproof Particle Board?

You must seal your particle board on these occasions:

  • If the particle board is dented
  • When reusing old particle board
  • To improve the interiors of your room
  • If you’re installing fresh particle board in a moist environment
  • To withstand heavy weights
  • Whenever there’s a risk that it may get too hot

Seal Your Particle Board To Make It Last

Particle board is among the weakest moisture-resistant woods around. When sealed, however, particle board becomes tougher, more resilient, and more durable.

So, how to waterproof particle boards? Simply lay out the board as per your project’s requirements, cut it out, seal the edges, and let it dry. Then, install it. Easy!

This process may take a while, but the moisture resistance level you get will be worth it.

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