Introduction to wood-based panel products

Date Published

18 August 2022

Document Type





Wood-based panel products are sheet materials that contain a significant amount of wood in the form of strips, veneers, chips, strands or fibres. The categories described in this Wood Information Sheet (WIS) are:

Oriented strand board (OSB)
Fibre building boards

Within each of the above categories are a number of specific panel types and grades. Some of these are defined in BS EN product standards while others are made to commercial specifications.

This WIS is an overview of wood-based panels with signposts to more detailed information sources that are listed at the end. It outlines the manufacture and characteristics of the basic types and also indicates some of the speciality products derived from them.

Key Information

CE marked wood-based panels for use in construction must comply with the harmonised standard BS EN 13986. From January 2021, UKCA marking will become an alternative to CE marking for construction products placed on the UK market.

Of the fibre building boards, the most common is medium density fibreboard (MDF) with standard products available for dry and humid exposures, as well as non-loadbearing and loadbearing applications. A specialist MDF variant is also now available for exterior applications.

Case studies

In the last few years, the derelict 12 acre walled garden adjoining Alnwick Castle has been transformed into a contemporary, public garden where an underlying planted structure unifies the Garden’s themes – spectacular water displays and quiet contemplative areas.

In the summer of 2015 the idyllic shoreline of Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve was home to a pair of lightweight timber cabins, known collectively as The Observatory.