Faux wood, also called engineered or manufactured wood, is a combination of products, adhesives and veneers meant to resemble wood. Often less expensive than real wood, many fake wood varieties can contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. As technology improves, this product is becoming a better-looking substitute for real wood, and the processes for creating it are starting to become more environmentally friendly and advanced.
Particleboard is a type of engineered wood frequently used in furnishings. Constructed of wood particles, particleboard is mostly sawdust and wood chips, bound together with resin. The compacted substance is then coated with veneers that make it look like real wood, yet even with waterproof coatings does not stand up well to moisture. It is not advisable to use particleboard furnishings outdoors if you live in a damp or rainy climate. If breaking apart particleboard for some reason, it is advisable to wear a mask. Some people exhibit a sensitivity to the chemicals and dust that arises from the product, and may experience respiratory problems.
Another type of faux wood is hardboard, frequently found in construction and flooring. Somewhat similar to particleboard, hardboard is considered stronger and more durable. Wood-look laminates can easily be painted or glued on to hardboard, and it also serves well as a floor base for tile or vinyl floor coverings.