30 Nov, 2022
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Plywood Types and Grades Used for Interiors and Exteriors

Many building projects require plywood, but not all types of plywood are suitable for all jobs. The purpose of this guide is to help you pick the best plywood for your project by describing the many applications, sizes, materials, and rating and grading systems of plywood.

Explaining the Term Plywood

A composite wood product is plywood. It is made from wood veneers that have been cut from hardwood, softwood, and other types of wood logs. Normally, these wood veneers are bonded, but higher-grade plywood is heated, pressed, and subjected to more complex procedures. Before joining the wood veneers together, the ideal angle should be chosen to protect the wood grains.

Plywood has more sturdy surfaces than 2×4 logs; hence, it is preferable. This is because plywood does not expand, even in the presence of moisture running perpendicular to the grain of the board. In addition, plywood is resistant to cracking, shrinking, breaking, and warping due to the procedures it goes through.

There are many different varieties of plywood, but typically, the thickness of each variety depends on how many plies it has. Three-ply plywood is the most common kind. The more durable ones are 5-ply or multi-ply.


plywood types

Uses and Benefits of Plywood

Particle boards and oriented strand boards are constructed from thin sheets of debarked wood veneer. To produce a cross-grain pattern, these tiny layers, also known as plies, are adhered together at alternating right angles. This design increases durability and stability, which fends off moisture-induced shrinking and expansion.

Due to its durability and affordability, plywood is a common material in buildings. In residential construction, it is used for things like floors, walls, roofs, and garages that you can’t see.

Roof felt, underlayment, flashing, and shingles are some of the various components that shield plywood panels from the elements when they are used for roofing. Plywood can be used as a base for hardwood, tile, and carpeting.

Plywood that can be stained and painted works well for shelves, cabinets, and furniture. Outside the home, plywood may be used to make fences, packing, scaffolding, sheds, and shipping containers.

Aspects and Features of Plywood

Solid wood furniture has become unsustainable over time due to the scarcity of wood. Since then, plywood has been the material of choice for creating permanent furniture such as beds, tables, kitchen cabinets, and closets. You can select the plywood that best meets your needs from the various options available.

Here are a few characteristics of plywood boards:

  1. The thickness of the board is determined by the number of plies, which are only offered in odd numbers for dimensional stability. The bare minimum is three pies, while 5 and 7 pies are very frequently offered.
  2. The quality and look of a piece of plywood are determined by its grade, with “A” denoting the highest quality and “D” the lowest.
  3. The thickness of the boards, which ranges from 1/8 inch to 1/14 inch, is often offered in sheets measuring 4′ x 8′ or 3′ x 7′.
  4. Typically, the beginning price for water-resistant boards is between Rs 45 and Rs 30 per square foot (for commercial boards from reputed manufacturers like Greenply and Duroply).
  5. Pre-laminated and pre-veneered plywood are both available on boards. Even though this option cuts down on execution time, it has a very small number of finishes.
  6. Plywood retains screws securely without splintering and offers good strength and longevity.
  7. It is more expensive than MDF and particleboard but less expensive than wood.
  8. Plywood is recyclable and reusable. Compared to solid wood, it is said to be more environmentally friendly. However, the use of glue and resins over time may result in hazardous emissions.
  9. Purchase plywood that has been produced using “green” methods to avoid off-gassing. Don’t forget to make sure that every surface is thoroughly sealed.
  10. The layered nature of plywood prevents it from being routed or molded like MDF.
  11. The board may become damaged if it is exposed to water. With waterproof and water-resistant boards, this is less of an issue. They go by the name “Marine Boards” as well
  12. The surface has to be painted, laminated, or veneered because it is raw.
plywood types

The Most Popular Plywood Types for Interior and Exterior Use

Poplar Plywood

It has a better finish than birch plywood and can be used both inside and outside.

Birch Plywood

Birch plywood has a better finish than poplar plywood, but it can’t handle the weather outside, so it can only be used inside.

Alder Plywoods

While less expensive than other woods such as oak or maple, alder does not finish or last as long as these latter two.

Structural Plywood

It is frequently used as sheathing or subflooring in homebuilding.

Furniture-Grade Plywood

It is typically used to create cabinets and other furniture.

Fire-Resistant Plywood

Fire-resistant plywood has a low flame spread, low flame penetration, and a slow-burning rate. Despite not being fireproof, it can endure fire long enough to let people safely escape the building.

Decorative Plywood

It is veneered with a thin layer of untreated wood on the outside. The surface exhibits the characteristics of real wood, including real grain. Like actual wood, it may be polished and sanded.

Hardwood and softwood

Hardwood is a type of wood derived from deciduous trees, such as cedar and pine. Softwood plywood is more affordable than hardwood plywood made of teak, walnut, or rosewood. Compared to softwood boards, hardwood boards are more robust and long-lasting.

Marine Plywood

It is offered in the highest grade and is watertight. It is suitable for external applications since it is unaffected by water immersion. The material is also known as boiling waterproof (BWP) ply.

BWP Ply: Water-resistant plywood

It is appropriate for rooms with high humidity levels, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Boiling-water-resistant (BWR) plywood is another name for it.

plywood types

Different Grades of Plywood

The thickness and quality of plywood are often graded, with higher classes having a thicker veneer layer and more expensive core components. The various grades consist of:

Construction Grade C

This kind features a top-quality veneer layer that is 1/4 inch thick, making it incredibly robust for outdoor use

General Purpose (GP)

This kind is sturdy for internal use but unsuitable for outdoor usage due to a 1/8-inch-thick coating of premium veneer.

Outside Finish (EF)

This kind is designed to be used as an exterior finish and features a 1/8-inch-thick layer of premium veneer.

Plywood is a versatile material with a variety of uses. Both indoors and outside may make use of it. However, there are several grades of plywood on the market, making it challenging to select the finest one for your purposes.

Making the Best Plywood Choices for Your Home

You can choose the best materials for your home now that you have all the knowledge you want about the characteristics and varieties of plywood. Consider using water-resistant or waterproof boards if your property is near the shore to survive the humidity in the air. Commercial plywood may be used where there isn’t a lot of moisture, whereas water-resistant plywood offers higher durability in bathrooms and kitchens.

Want more advice on interior design for your home? You may get assistance from the Varna Group staff in choosing the ideal decor!

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