Particleboard may be one of the most understated materials out there. Not only is it an inexpensive building material, but it's also versatile. It's not commonly used for a finished exterior without a laminate covering, but it is sufficient as a subfloor, under siding, or as a frame for cabinets as-is.
This is because it is made from scrap materials ground down and mixed with an epoxy and then formed into lumber. Raw particleboard can be improved by staining, just like all other kinds of wood, and this article will show you how.
Prepare the Particle Board
Particleboard is very porous and, as such, it should be sealed prior to staining. Sealing the wood will limit possible uneven coloring or darkening of the wood, and the material will also last much longer. However, before you can apply a sealer, you'll need to make sure the board is clean.
Mix some detergent with warm water in a bucket, and then soak a rag in it to clean the surface. Scrub it well, as you need to make sure the surface is free of both dirt and oil. This is done so the sealer and the stain can be properly absorbed. Allow the particle board to dry for two days so all the moisture is completely gone.
If you are planning to use particleboard outside, make sure you buy an exterior variety so it can stand up to changing weather conditions.
Pour the sealant into a paint tray, and roll on two to three layers. You may also use a rag instead of a roller. As previously mentioned, this will help keep the stain from being uneven, but it will also help the material last longer. Consult the label on the sealer and allow the particleboard to dry for the recommended amount of time. Then, once it's dry, you can apply the stain.
Stain the Particle Board
Clean or get a new paint tray and pour some stain inside. Roll this onto the particle board in three-foot squares; this prevents the stain from drying before it can be wiped down. If there is excess, you can wipe it off with a clean rag within five minutes of application, but when the rag is completely saturated, throw it into a bucket of water, as the stain can be flammable. Let your application dry for at least eight to 10 hours. Apply a second coat afterward If you want a darker shade.
If you want the particle board to be washable and durable, then apply two layers of sealer over the stain. Polyurethane or acrylic varnish will be suitable for indoor use, but if your board is going be outside, you will want to use acrylic or an oil-based varnish. However, please remember that oil-based varnish will yellow over time so use with caution and be prepared to reapply it as needed.