The difference between floorboards and chipboard

Confusing floorboards for chipboard is an easy and common mistake to make. Generally it’s simply the terms used that are incorrect and not the actual visual image of what people are describing. If you’ve ended up here because you’re on a quest to solve noisy flooring, then it may be helpful to understand the difference. Floorboards and chipboard are two very different animals and can require a unique approach to resolve noise. If you’re just here to find out the difference for another reason, then stick around…

Floorboards

Floorboards are made from whole trees. The tree is cut in a particular way to produce one solid and long length of wood. Typically at dimensions of between 150 to 200 mm wide by 3000 mm long (depending on supplier) 20 to 25 mm in thickness. 

Identifying

 

To give a visual image of what floorboards would look like, you can imagine a ships deck or if you’d like a really simple image, stripes. Relatively narrow boards running next to each other.

If you have a floor covering in place like carpet, you can pull back a corner of the carpet and underlay. If you have floorboards, you’ll see the ship deck appearance. 

If you have a hard floor covering like laminate or real wood, you could either try to find a gap between beading/skirting or perhaps look in another room with different flooring. Sometimes you’ve just got to use investigatory skills.

Chipboard

Chipboard is made from waste wood particles (imagine ‘saw dust’), mixed with adhesive, and compressed into large smooth sheets. Typically at dimension of 2400 mm (2.4 metres) by 600 mm (0.6 metres) by 18 to 22 mm thick. 

Identifying

To the untrained eye, chipboard can sometimes look a little like concrete. Especially if covered in general building dust/dirt. Some chipboard can also have a green appearance. The surface will always be smooth, even at the seams (where two sheets meet) where the fine line of the seam can just generally be hard to see (again for the untrained eye) or covered with dirt. 

Tell tale signs of chipboard will typically be its very drum like sound with the stamp of a foot as well as a squeak or creak when walked across. It can sometimes sound like walking on broken glass. All very different sounds to concrete, which will hardly make a sound at all.

If you lifted some of your floor covering, you would typically see a very bland smooth light brown or light green surface with no ship deck type lines. Very distinguishable from floor boards.

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