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The history of the hardboard sheet

Hardboard, also known as high-density fiberboard (HDF), is a type of engineered wood product first recorded to have been used in building and construction in the late 19th century. Specifically, the technology to create hardboard was developed in 1898 by William H. Mason, who was later renowned as the father of the engineered wood industry. Mason was investigating the use of wood waste products and discovered that steam heating wood chips in a press created a strong, versatile building product (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999). Despite its initial development, it was not until the 1920s that hardboard started to gain popularity in construction applications due to its durability and affordability.

Stacked Hardboard sheets
Hardboard sheets stacked on top of one another

Manufacturing process of a hardboard sheet

The manufacturing of a sheet of hardboard involves several steps. The process is as follows:

  1. Chipping: First, the raw wood is chipped into small fragments (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  2. Soaking: The wood chips are then soaked in water to soften them (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  3. Softening: After soaking, the softened wood chips are ground into a pulp (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  4. Pulping: The pulp is then heated under high pressure to create a strong bond among the fibres (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  5. Once the pulp is pressure heated, it is shaped into flat panels, forming the basic structure of the hardboard (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  6. The formed sheets are then cooled and dried to eliminate any remaining moisture (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  7. After drying, the panels are sanded to achieve a smooth surface (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  8. Finally, any necessary finishing processes are done before the hardboard sheet is ready for sale (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

The Price of an Average Sheet of Hardboard in the UK

Hardboard sheet prices can vary across the different countries within the United Kingdom. Here's a breakdown of the price range for an average sheet of hardboard in four countries:

  • England: The price of an average sheet of hardboard ranges from £6 to £15 (Source: Wickes)

  • Scotland: The price typically falls between £7 and £16 (Source: B&Q)

  • Wales: The price range is £6 to £14 (Source: Travis Perkins)

  • Northern Ireland: Hardboards are priced from £7 to £14 (Source: Homebase)

These prices are approximations and can vary depending on the retailer, the specific type of hardboard, and the market conditions at the time of purchase.

Different Types of a Sheet of Hardboard

Hardboard sheets can be classified based on the raw materials used in their production. There are three primary types:

  1. Wood Hardboard: This is the most common type of hardboard and is made from wood fibers. It has a high density due to the compression of wood fibers under heat, providing it with excellent strength and durability (Forest Products Laboratory, 1999).

  2. Resin Hardboard: Resin hardboards incorporate synthetic resins in their composition, offering increased resistance to moisture and wear. These hardboards are typically used in environments where a higher level of water resistance is required (Building Construction Handbook, 2011).

  3. Oil-Tempered Hardboard: Oil-tempered hardboards are treated with oil to enhance their resistance to moisture and to provide a smoother surface. This type of hardboard is particularly used for high-stress applications where durability and a finished appearance are essential (Handbook of Finishes for Wood, 1986).

Different Manufacturers of Hardboard

There are several prominent manufacturers of hardboard globally, each producing their own variations of the product to cater to the diverse needs of the market.

  1. Masonite: Recognized as one of the leading international manufacturers, Masonite produces a wide range of hardboard products, including high-density and oil-tempered hardboards. Their products are lauded for their exceptional quality and durability (Masonite, 2023).

  2. Georgia-Pacific: Georgia-Pacific is a well-known manufacturer in the United States, known for its wood-based hardboard products. They prioritize environmental sustainability in their manufacturing processes, producing hardboards from responsibly sourced wood (Georgia-Pacific, 2023).

  3. Royal Plywood: Based in the UK, Royal Plywood offers a variety of hardboard products, including resin hardboards. They are known for their commitment to producing high-quality, durable hardboard sheets (Royal Plywood, 2023).

  4. Jining Best Star Wood Co., Ltd: This Chinese manufacturer specializes in various hardboard products, including wood and resin hardboards. They are reputed for their innovative manufacturing techniques and high-quality products (Jining Best Star Wood Co., Ltd, 2023).


  • Forest Products Laboratory (1999). Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.

  • Forest Products Laboratory (1999). Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.

  • Wickes. (n.d.). Hardboard. Retrieved from [Wickes](

  • B&Q. (n.d.). Hardboard. Retrieved from [B&Q](

  • Travis Perkins. (n.d.). Hardboard. Retrieved from [Travis Perkins](

  • Homebase. (n.d.). Hardboard. Retrieved from [Homebase](

  • Forest Products Laboratory (1999). Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.

  • Chudley, R., & Greeno, R. (2011). Building Construction Handbook. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

  • Hoadley, R.B. (1986). Handbook of Finishes for Wood. Newtown, CT: The Taunton Press.

  • Masonite. (2021). Masonite: Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Sep. 2023].

  • Georgia-Pacific. (2021). Georgia-Pacific: Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Sep. 2023].

  • Royal Plywood. (2021). Royal Plywood: Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Sep. 2023].

  • Jining Best Star Wood Co., Ltd. (2021). Jining Best Star Wood Co., Ltd: Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Sep. 2023].

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