Floor Underlayment Particle Board for Cabinetry?

Particleboard comes in different grades; floor underlayment is softer and less dense than cabinet-grade material. April 18, 2011

Is there a difference between the particleboard used for floor underlayment and particleboard used for melamine and cabinets? I have just enough underlayment left (from a remodel job) to do my next small cabinet job. A small checkout/cash stand. The underlayment seems to be slightly less dense and have a coating on it that must be sanded to make sure the contact cement will hold. It will be covered on both sides with HPL. This isn't about saving money - just trying to use what I have.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor E:
As you say, a little less dense. With that in mind, as long as you feel the structure will be sufficient, you should be fine.

From contributor C:
You are correct in that underlayment is less dense. Because of this, your concern should be about pull-out of euro screws and the strength of your construction method (dowels, confirmats). Industrial M2 is usually the minimum standard for casework.

From contributor L:
It is quite a bit less dense, so fasteners into the edges will not hold as well. If it's worth the risk of using it, you might want to add a few cleats under the tops. I've seen people stand on such things.

From contributor A:
Don't waste your time - cut it up for nailers and shipping cleats. We never use it because we cannot afford the recall or delamination.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the replies. You confirmed my fears. The cash stand won't be used a lot, but will get transported by people who don't care if they break it. It will be rolling and used for trade shows. Just thought I'd check and see if it was usable. A trip to Hood Ind. is in order.

From contributor M:
Previous posters are correct. In the family of particleboard products, particleboard underlayment is the bottom of the pile. A lot of fines are used and not that much resin. Its only purpose is to lay flat on the floor. A big notch up is standard industrial flakeboard, from which the fines have been largely screened out, since they just add bulk and no strength, plus absorb the relatively pricey resin. Flakeboard will usually run about 44 to 45#/cubic foot and meet some standards for bending strength and internal bond.