Types of Plywood

April 11, 2021

Plywood has always been a prevalent choice for construction for a while now. It consists of several thin wood layers – or ‘plies’ – of wood veneers bonded with a hydraulic press’s aid. The result is a highly durable single flat wood sheet that you can find in construction projects requiring large pieces of wood for making cabinets, furniture, or building.

This means that plywood is not natural wood but artificial or an engineered wood product.

High-quality plywood is usually strong and very resistant to changes in atmospheric moisture. This is why it has remained the most preferred choice for a wide variety of applications.

The Different Types of Plywood

Different types of plywood can be applied to several building functions. Here they are in no particular order:


Hardwood plywood comprises 3-7 layers obtained from hardwoods like walnut, oak, birch, and maple, among others. It is the best choice for making sporting equipment, furniture, packing cases, etc. Hardwood plywood are also used for making musical instruments.


Softwood plywood gives off the wrong impression that it is not very strong. But that is far from the truth. The plywood is thus named because it is manufactured from softwood like Hem-fir, Doug-fir, SYP, SPF, all of which are pretty robust.

Softwood plywood can be used for several serious tasks like:

· Sub-flooring

· Exterior frame sheathing

· Temporary flooring

· Roof sheathing

· Building sheds, etc.


Exterior plywood is weather-resistant and designed for use outside. It can be exposed to weather elements without any form of deterioration. It is strong as the layers are glued with waterproof glue.

Exterior plywood resists wind incredibly well and cannot be easily damaged by water or other weather elements.


Interior plywood is used only for indoor tasks since it is not resistant to weather elements. It is the perfect choice for flooring, though exterior plywood is the preferred option for places that come in contact with water, such as kitchens and bathrooms.


Aircraft plywood is used for making just that: aircraft. They are also employed when building heavy-duty furniture and boats. This plywood is one of the highest-graded plywood and the most expensive of the lot.

But this is not for nothing, as aircraft plywood are developed from hardwoods like mahogany and birch. This gives this type of plywood incredible strength, though it is also one of the lightest plywood among the lot.


Marine plywood is generally varnished with an exterior, water-resistant glue that helps to repel water. Although it is not entirely waterproof, marine plywood can easily combat moderate moisture.

Marine plywood is made of douglas fir or larch wood, making it one of the highest quality plywood types on the market. It must have zero knotholes; otherwise, it won’t qualify as marine plywood.

Marine plywood is also perfect for decorative elements and outdoor furniture like benches or planters.

Lumber core

Lumber core plywood is usually composed of 2 thin veneers of hardwood that effectively sandwich a thick core of solid slabs created from strips of wood glued together.

This core easily grasp screws, thereby making it an excellent choice for projects that call for the use of fasteners. However, the core of this plywood may contain voids which makes it weaker than other types of plywood.


Overlaid plywood is incredibly similar to traditional plywood. The only difference is that this plywood has an overlaid finished face, making it look desirable. The finished face is to protect the plywood by waterproofing and scratch-proofing it. This plywood is also stick-resistant.

Overlaid plywood comes in medium density and high density. The latter is much more expensive as it has more resin.


Structural plywood is designed more for strength than appearance, and the reason it falls between grades C or D. this type of plywood comes with several holes and knots, though tasks associated with it does not require high aesthetic value. It is also very cheap.

Structural plywood can be used for building shelves in your garage or subflooring. However, despite its strength, it is not resistant to water. This means water can damage it easily and should never be used for outdoor purposes.


If you need plywood for your project, you must understand the numerous types of plywood. This is because some are much more suitable for specific projects than others.

And that means choosing the wrong kind of plywood could significantly ruin your work over time. But hopefully, by reading this article, you can now identify suitable plywood for any of your upcoming projects.

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