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Not All Plywood Is Created Equal: A Look at Plywood Types

A Look at Plywood Types

Not All Plywood Are Equal: A Look at Plywood Types

Are you in the market for plywood but feeling overwhelmed by all the options? We don’t blame you. Walk into any hardware store, and you’ll be confronted with a dizzying array of plywood types, each with its own unique features and benefits.

But fear not, we’re here to help you navigate the world of plywood. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional contractor, understanding the differences between plywood types is essential to getting the job done right. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common types of plywood and what sets them apart. So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to become a plywood expert.

Let us dive in!

Softwood Plywood vs Hardwood Plywood

When it comes to plywood, there are two main types: softwood plywood and hardwood plywood. The difference between them extends beyond the type of wood used and encompasses factors such as strength, weight, and durability.

Softwood plywood is generally made from trees like pine, fir, and spruce. It’s light in weight and is typically used for interior projects like furniture, cabinets, and walls. The thin layers give it flexibility as well as strength, but it can be prone to warping more easily than hardwood plywood.

On the other hand, hardwood plywood is made from trees with dense wood fibres like oak or birch and it’s often used for exterior applications like decks or outdoor furniture because of its stability and weather resistance properties. It’s usually at least twice as heavy as softwood plywood and has more visible wood grain patterns.

Whether you go for softwood or hardwood plywood depends on the project you’re working on—but one thing’s for sure: no matter which one you choose, make sure your lumber supplier can give you the highest quality product possible!

Different Types of Softwood Plywood

When it comes to softwood plywood, there are three main types to choose from sheathing, sanded, and hardwood-faced. Sheathing plywood is the most affordable option and is typically used for construction purposes where esthetics aren’t a major concern. Sanded plywood, on the other hand, has a smoother surface and is often used for furniture or decorative projects. 

Hardwood-faced plywood is the most premium option of softwood plywood and has a high-quality appearance, making it suitable for high-end projects or cabinetry.

If you’re working on a budget or not too concerned about aesthetics, sheathing plywood may be the right choice for you. However, if you want your project to have a more polished look, sanded plywood or hardwood-faced plywood may be worth the investment. Remember to consider both your budget and the intended use of your project before making a final decision on which type of softwood plywood to use.

Marine Plywood: Water-Resistant and Durable

If you’re looking for plywood that can stand up to moisture, marine plywood is the way to go. As the name suggests, this type of plywood is specifically designed for use in water-related projects, such as boat building, dock construction, and even aquariums.

But what makes marine plywood different from regular plywood?

Type of Wood

Marine plywood is typically made from hardwoods that have a natural resistance to rot and decay, such as fir or mahogany. These woods also have a tight and consistent grain pattern which adds extra strength and stability to the plywood. So, if you need sturdy furniture, this is one of the best choices. 


The adhesive used in marine plywood is also specially formulated for water resistance. Typically a waterproof glue like phenol formaldehyde (PF) or melamine urea formaldehyde (MUF) is used to bond the layers of wood together.


Marine plywood is constructed with more layers than regular plywood, typically 7 to 9 layers compared to the standard 3-5 layers. This makes it stronger and more durable, able to withstand harsh weather conditions and exposure to water without warping or delaminating.

All of these factors combine to make marine plywood a top choice for any project where water resistance and durability are key requirements. Keep in mind though, that while marine ply may be more expensive than regular ply or other types of water-resistant wood such as pressure-treated lumber or cedar, in the long run, it will save you money by not having to replace rotten or damaged wood down the road.

BWP or Boiling Water Resistant Plywood

If you’re looking for plywood that can withstand moisture, BWP or boiling water-resistant plywood might be what you need. As the name suggests, BWP plywood is resistant to boiling water. This makes it ideal for use in areas where there’s a lot of humidity and moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens.

But what makes BWP plywood so resistant to water?

Bonding Agent

BWP plywood is made with a special type of bonding agent, which is usually a phenol formaldehyde resin. This resin is highly resistant to moisture and can withstand boiling water, which is why BWP plywood is so durable.

Exterior Grade Plywood

BWP plywood is also classified as exterior-grade plywood, which means it’s suitable for outdoor use as well. It has high-quality veneers and a smooth finish, making it perfect for use in furniture and cabinetry.

BWP plywood is usually more expensive than other types of plywood, but it’s worth the investment if you need a material that can withstand moisture and humidity. It’s also a great choice for areas that are prone to flooding or heavy rainfall. With BWP plywood, you can rest easy knowing that your furniture, cabinetry, and other structures are protected from water damage.

Commercial Plywood for Furniture and Packaging

If you’re looking for plywood that’s strong enough to build furniture or packaging, commercial plywood is a great choice. This type of plywood uses hardwood veneer on the surface, which makes it sturdy and able to withstand heavy loads.


Commercial plywood undergoes grading based on its quality, with A representing the highest quality and D indicating the lowest. Manufacturers utilize a strong adhesive to bond the layers of wood together, enhancing its durability even further. This means that commercial plywood can hold up well over time, even when subjected to heavy use or wear and tear.


One of the great things about commercial plywood is its versatility. You can use it for a variety of applications, from building furniture to creating packaging for delicate items. Its strength also makes it a popular choice for construction projects, such as building walls, roofs, and floors.


Another benefit of commercial plywood is its affordability. While other types of wood may be more expensive, plywood remains a relatively cost-effective option in the market. This makes it a popular choice for both commercial and residential projects, especially those that require a lot of plywood.

Overall, commercial plywood is a great choice for anyone looking for a strong and versatile plywood option. Whether you’re building furniture, packaging delicate items, or working on a construction project, commercial plywood is sure to hold up well over time.

Choosing the Right Plywood for Your Needs

Now that you know more about the different types of plywood in India, it’s important to choose the right one for your specific needs. Here are some things to consider when selecting plywood:

Intended Use

How do you plan to use the plywood? The types of plywood used differ according to their applications. For example, if you’re building furniture or cabinets, you might want to opt for high-quality hardwood plywood. On the other hand, if you’re building a shed or a temporary structure, you might be able to get away with lower-grade plywood.


The thickness of the plywood you choose will depend on the project you’re working on. Thicker plywood is stronger and more durable, but it can also be heavier and more difficult to work with. Make sure to choose a thickness that is appropriate for your needs.


The grades of plywood vary based on its appearance and quality. The most common grades are A, B, C, and D, with A being the highest quality and D being the lowest. If appearance is important for your project, you’ll want to choose higher-grade plywood.

Environmental Impact

If sustainability is important to you, look for plywood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This certification ensures that the wood used to make the plywood comes from responsibly managed forests.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right plywood for your specific needs. Remember, it is important to do your research and choose wisely because not all plywood is same.


Plywood offers various types with distinct characteristics and uses. Whether you seek strength, durability, or a specific aesthetic, there’s a plywood type to meet your needs.

When selecting plywood for your project, it’s important to consider factors like the intention, the environment you will use it in, and your budget. With the right knowledge and guidance, you can find the perfect type of plywood for your needs and create a finished product that is both functional and beautiful.


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