Plywood is one of the most important materials used globally for various purposes such as furniture, home living, construction so on. This article demonstrates different types of plywood and their uses.
What Is Plywood?
Plywood is a sheet of wood manufactured by gluing up several thin layers of plies, one on top of the other. The adjacent layers of plies are sticked with each other in such a way that the wood grains of two adjacent sheets are 90 degrees to one another. Plywood falls under the category of “Engineered wood” and is manufactured in the factory. Plywood is not naturally found wood-like hardwood or softwood but is manufactured from naturally found wood.
Since the last 15 to 20 years, the use of plywood has increased up to a great extent, as it is a versatile material which oﬀers a wide range of usage and application such as furniture items, doors, windows, formwork, etc. Plywood can be crafted in any shape and also available in various thicknesses too.
There are various types of plywood available in the market. They are categorized according to their respective applications and diﬀerent properties. For example, some plywoods are suitable for usage where water is in contact with the plywood. Similarly, few types of plywood are used for structural works, interior works, and exterior works respectively.
Types of Plywood
There are 8 types of plywood categorized according to their usage and properties. Diﬀerent types of plywoods are as follows:
- Exterior plywood
- Marine plywood
- Interior plywood
- Softwood plywood
- Hardwood plywood
- Structural plywood
- Aircraft plywood
- Flexible plywood
Let us learn about each one of them in detail below:
Exterior plywood is widely used for external woodworks. External plywood is generally weather-resistant as the product made out of it has to be exposed to external conditions. It has to resist diﬀerent weather conditions such as summer, winter, and monsoon respectively. While manufacturing external plywood, the layers of plies are glued up with the help of waterproof glue of superior quality.
- External woodworks.
Marine plywood is manufactured with the best quality veneers with very few defects in it. This type of plywood is meant for its excellent performance under both, humid as well as wet conditions. It is also designed to resist delaminating and fungal attacks on it.
Marine plywood is constructed in such a way that it can be used in environments where it can be exposed to wet conditions for a longer period. External weather and boil-proof glue are used to stick plies with one another so that the bond formed between two adjacent layers of ply is strong enough to resist humidity or water contact with it. Marine plywood is an extremely strong, versatile, and aﬀordable material.
- Outdoor benches,
- Planter boxes,
- Gazebos, and
- Other such elements are in direct or indirect contact with water or humid conditions.
As the name suggests, interior plywood is used only for interior woodwork such as for wooden flooring and basic items. However, interior plywood is not recommended for flooring where the floor is in direct contact with water. For example, wooden flooring with interior plywood is avoided in the bathroom, kitchen, and open balconies.
These types of plywood is not resistant to diﬀerent weather conditions. So it is advisable that interior plywood should not be exposed to exterior weather conditions for too long or else it may get damaged.
- Interior woodwork
- Wooden floors etc.
Softwood plywood is manufactured from various species from softwoods such as Douglas fir, eastern white pine, hem fir, ponderosa pine, redwood, spruce, pine fir, etc. This plywood is used for construction and industrial purposes. Unlike its name, softwood plywood is strong and durable.
Softwood plywood is normally available in the dimension of 4 feet x 8 feet and the thickness of plies used to manufacture softwood plywood varies from 1.4 mm to 4.3 mm respectively.
- Exterior frame sheathing,
- Roof – sheathing,
- Temporary flooring,
- Building sheds, etc.
Hardwood plywood is made from the diﬀerent species of hardwood trees such as oak, birch, walnut, maple, cherry, pine, rosewood, etc. A sheet of hardwood plywood generally consists of 3 to 7 layers of plies combined to form a sheet of plywood.
This type of plywood is used for
- Sports goods,
- Packing cases, and
- Musical instruments.
Structural plywood is used mainly for making wooden floorings and other elements of wood that require high-strength woodwork. These types of plywood are not resistant to water damage. So structural plywood should not be exposed to external conditions.
- Floors and high strength woodwork.
Aircraft plywood is high-strength plywood, specially manufactured for making aircraft. This plywood is manufactured from species of wood like mahogany, spruce, and/or birch wood using adhesive with increased resistance to heat and humidity. It is highly durable plywood and also resistant to weather. Aircraft plywood is usually lighter in weight, in fact, one of the lightest among all.
Also, aircraft plywood is among the highest graded plywoods, which makes it one of the most expensive plywood.
- Boats and
- Heavy duty furniture.
Flexible plywood is a type of plywood that can bend and flex. Designer and decorative furniture items with curved shapes are made up of flexible plywood. Flexible plywood is made up of thin layers of plies that tend to bend when required. One of the main disadvantages of flexible plywood is that if more pressure is applied to it, the layers of ply will eventually start splitting.
- Curved shape furniture such as rocking chairs, curved sofa, round coffee table, etc.
- Interior home elements like lamp-stands, ornamental and decorative woodwork, etc.
- Rounded or curved columns and arches.
- Office front desk,
- TV units,
The above stated were diﬀerent types of plywood, categorized according to their diﬀerent properties and diﬀerent applications.
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