Formaldehyde in Construction and Decorative Products

Since the invention of the particle board in Germany in the 1940s, the use of formaldehyde in glues and resins has revolutionised the construction industry. Formaldehyde-based resins allow wood chips, sawdust and even some recycled wood waste to be combined to create wood products that are durable, cost-effective and high performance alternatives to solid wood. Formaldehyde-based resins also provide better dimensional stability and mould resistance.
Formaldehyde-based resins are used for making particle boards, medium density fiberboard, plywood, cabinets and cabinet doors, laminated countertops and insulation. The innovative use of these resins makes high quality, long-lasting furniture more accessible for EU consumers and helps make home construction more affordable.
Formaldehyde-based glues and resins also allow the recycling of older wood such as furniture, housing timber frames, windows and beams to create new wood-based products. High-quality products made with recycled wood help further reduce the environmental impact of the construction and furniture industries.

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Main properties of formaldehyde-based resins are:

  • Fast curing
  • Hardness and abrasion resistance
  • Dimensional stability (Ability of a material to maintain its essential or original dimensions while being used for its intended purpose).
  • Clear glue line (the point at which the wood product and adhesive meet in an adhesive binding)
  • Colour retention
  • Water resistance
  • Heat resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Arc resistance
  • Flame resistance
  • Low cost
  • Water borne (can be applied in an aqueous suspension)

Safety of formaldehyde in construction and decorative products

For more information on the safe use of formaldehyde in construction and decorative products, please see our Health & Safety section.