Furniture board is made from wood chips or sawmill shavings. Mixed with a resin adhesive, such as urea formaldehyde or melamine formaldehyde, these chips are then formed into sheets. A type of composite material, furniture board is an engineered wood product. Plywood, on the other hand, is made by placing an odd number of wood layers of wood on top of each other. Manufacturers then glue the layers together with a waterproof adhesive.
Furniture board is not as strong as plywood. A denser type of wood, it is the lightest type of fiberboard. Plywood can withstand moisture better because it is not as prone to expanding and discoloring when exposed to moisture. To increase the moisture resistance of furniture board, paint the board with a sealer or paint. Plywood can also support greater weights than furniture board.
When comparing prices for furniture board and plywood, you must compare sheet size, thickness and details regarding the structure and wood-sealing process used on the wood. According to Home Depot, the prices for comparable sheets of both wood types show that furniture board is less expensive than plywood as of 2001. A 3/4-inch-thick 4-by-8-inch piece of furniture board sells for $19.98; the same size piece of plywood sells for $43.97.
Furniture board is made primarily of recycled materials, while plywood is not primarily made of recycled materials. Because furniture board is not as strong as plywood, damage that occurs to it can prove extremely difficult to fix. Plywood is the preferred choice for the exterior of homes, while furniture board works well for interior projects.