Types of Hardboard

Updated April 17, 2017

For their home improvement projects, homeowners generally use hardboard. Hardboard is a very dense fiberboard made from wood fibres. People typically buy hardboard in sheets, but the material is available in different shapes and sizes. Hardboard manufacturers often name their products after the type of wood they use in the manufacturing process, for example, eucalyptus hardboard.

Standard Hardboard

Standard hardboard is untreated, and you can use it immediately after it is manufactured. Standard hardboard is strong, but don't use it in areas that are moist or could be exposed to water. Moisture can cause the wood to swell and warp. You can use hardboard for floors, furniture, shelves and indoor construction. You may need to sand hardboard to smooth it out.

Service Grade Hardboard

Service grade hardboard is not as strong as the other types; therefore, use it only on projects that do not require the board to be as dense and strong. You can use service grade hardboard to reinforce other pieces of wood. You can use it for shelves and screens where strength is not one of the main considerations.

Tempered Hardboard

Tempered hardwood is the strongest. This hardboard is covered with oil, then heated to increase its strength and durability. Hardwood manufacturers generally use linseed oil to treat tempered hardboard. This process makes tempered hardboard suitable to use outdoors and in areas where moisture may be present. The oil does make tempered hardboard harder to paint. The oil keeps the paint from being able to be absorbed as easily as the untreated types of hardboard.

Hardboard History

William H. Mason was a researcher, engineer and inventor who researched and invented wood products. In 1924, he invented the first hardboard. Hardboard is often referred to as Masonite because Mason's company, the Masonite Corporation, was the only manufacturer of the product for many years. Today, many companies worldwide manufacture hardboard.

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About the Author

Located in the mountains of East Tennessee, Stacy Hensley has been writing online articles about web development, autism and ADHD special education, parenting, and health-related topics for 3 years. She studied computer-related courses at Northeast State Community College.