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Hardboard output in 2005
Hardboard, also called high-density fiberboard, is a type of fiberboard, which is an engineered wood product. It is similar to particle board and medium-density fiberboard, but is denser and much stronger and harder because it is made out of exploded wood fibers that have been highly compressed. Consequently, the density of hardboard is 31 lb. or more per cubic foot (500 kg/m³) and is usually about 50-65 lbs. per cubic foot (800-1040 kg/m³). It differs from particle board in that the bonding of the wood fibers requires no additional materials, although resin is often added. Unlike particle board, it will not split or crack. It is used in construction and furniture. Hardboard is produced in either a wet or dry process. The wet process leaves only one smooth side and dry processed hardboard is smooth on both sides.

History and uses

A product resembling hardboard was first made in Englandmarker in 1898 by hot pressing waste paper. In the 1900s, fiber building board of relatively low density was manufactured in Canadamarker. In the early 1920s, improved methods of compressing wet wood pulp at high temperatures resulted in a higher density product.

Unlike solid wood, hardboard is very homogeneous with no grain. A wood veneer can be glued onto it to give the appearance of solid wood. Other overlays include formica, laminated papers and vinyl. It has many uses, such as a substrate. It is used in construction, flooring, furniture, home appliances, automobiles and cabinetry, and is popular among acrylic and oil painters as a painting surface due to its economical price (though it must be coated with gesso or canvas before use). It is also used as the final layer in many skateboard ramps and the half-pipe.

Tempered hardboard is hardboard that has been coated with a thin film of linseed oil and then baked; this gives it more water resistance, impact resistance, hardness, rigidity and tensile strength. An earlier tempering process involved immersing the board in linseed oil or tung oil until it was 5 to 6 percent saturated, and heating to 170° C (340° F). Tempered hardboard is used in construction siding.

Perforated hardboard, also called pegboard, is tempered hardboard that has rows and columns of 1/8" or 1/4" holes in it, into which hooks can be placed for hanging tools.

See also


  1. Frane, 1994, p. 156
  2. Akers, 1966, p. 125
  3. Akers, 1966, p. x
  4. Akers, 1966, p. 140


  • Akers, L. E. (1966). Particle Board and Hardboard. Oxford: Pergamon Press
  • Frane, J. T. (1994). Craftsman's Illustrated Dictionary of Construction Terms. Carlsbad, CA: Craftsman Book.
  • Engineered Wood

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