Core Substrates


Particleboard is the standard wood core for our laminate countertops. It’s made up of by-product and scrap material from saw mills and other wood processing factories. As a value-packed alternative to solid wood paneling or boards, particleboard is primarily intended for interior projects.

Countertop manufacturers use particleboard in a variety of sizes, but generally ¾” thick panels in 30″ widths in 8’, 10’ and 12’ lengths are most suitable for countertop cores. Unfinished particleboard’s smooth, consistent surface is ideal for lamination.

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NAUF MR Particleboard

NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde) MR (Moisture-Resistant) Particleboard is made of recycled or recovered wood fiber particleboard engineered to meet today’s green building requirements. It is produced with an ultra-low emitting formaldehyde resin system. It is also moisture resistant and meets the moisture resistant specification for category MR10 with a 5.5% maximum thickness swell, demonstrating enhanced dimensional stability in high humidity environments. These attributes make it an ideal substrate for countertops.


Medium density fiberboard, or MDF, is a composite wood product similar to particleboard. It’s made out of wood waste fibers glued together with resin, heat, and pressure. MDF is appropriate for many applications, from cabinetry to molding and is ideal for countertops because it is smooth, uniform, and less prone to warping.

MDF has low “tear out,” which means that when sawed, the end has a smooth cut. It also has a mild reaction to moisture, meaning it is less prone to warping or swelling in high-humidity applications like kitchen or bathroom environments.

Builders and fabricators use MDF in many capacities, such as laminate countertops, furniture, shelving, laminate flooring, decorative molding, and doors. They value MDF for its insular qualities in sound and heat. Also, it can be nailed, glued, screwed, stapled, or attached with dowels, making it a truly versatile core material.


Plywood is a wood product manufactured out of multiple sheets of veneer, or plies, pressed together and glued, with their grains going in opposite directions. Plywood tends to be extremely strong and is treated in many different ways depending upon its intended application. It can resist cracking, bending, warping, and shrinkage depending upon its thickness.

Coming in a number of forms, it can come in softwood or harder woods depending on its application. Made from pine, fir, or spruce, softwood plywood is usually pale in color and used in construction. Decorative use with a facing veneer is made of exotic hardwoods. Mahogany or birch is used to create an extremely strong type of plywood known as aircraft plywood.

Plywood intended for countertop applications is normally manufactured in a ¾” thickness (23/32″), features 7-ply construction, and comes in 30″ by 8’, 10’ and 12’ lengths. Plywood cores for countertop construction are sometimes a specification requirement for HUD installations.