Everything You Need to Know About Plywood

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plywood

When it comes to building materials, versatility and durability play a huge role, and no discussion can be held on building materials without mentioning plywood. It is a building material that is created by gluing together thin layers or “plies” of wood together, hence the name. The wooden veneers or grains are basically attached to each other at a 90-degree angle. It is considered to be a unique kind of building material since it is a mix of both Chip Board (particle board) and Medium Density Fiberboard. It plays a really important role in the construction process and is often used when building the foundation of any kind of construction project. For more information on how plywood is constructed or built, you can check out http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Plywood.html.

Plywood can be shaped into flattened large sheets, and this is the form that is usually used for construction jobs, and at the same time, it can also be built into both simple and compound curved shapes that are used for boats, aircraft and for building furniture as well.

Different Types of Plywood

Given its versatility, it is important that we mention the different kinds and types of plywood so that it becomes easier to distinguish since each of these different kinds are made of different materials and serve different functions in the construction process.

Hardwood

This is a stronger variety that is usually made from more sturdy woods from the angiosperm trees. This variety is known for its surface hardness, strength, and its overall resistance to tear and wear. This is why it is used for heavy construction purposes, especially for foundation building.

Softwood

This kind is for subflooring and roofing. This is usually derived from pine, fir, redwood, spruce and cedar trees. Its use can vary depending on the thickness of the wood since different layers are added in them. This is why it is used for both industrial and construction purposes.

Tropical

This is a widely used variety throughout the globe and is considered to be better than softwood. It is known for being of better quality, strength, density, and overall uniformity and evenness of its layers. Like the name suggests, different kinds of tropical trees are used to make this kind of plywood.

Decorative

As the name suggests, this variety is commonly used for furnishings and for furniture finishing in cabinets, fixtures, and different kinds of furniture. Hardwood varieties like birch, oak, maple, mahogany or rosewood since they are known for their beautiful finish.

Marine

Tropical hardwoods that are adhered to with boil and water-proof glue make up this variety of plywood. These are used to build boats and docks. These are more expensive woods since they are made to be durable, sturdy, and are designed to withstand humidity and water exposure.

Aircraft

This kind of wood is made from birch and mahogany trees and is designed to withstand higher levels of humidity and heat. This is aviation-grade building material and is known for its exceptionally high durability.

Flexible

The flexible variety is made keeping curves and design in mind. These are molded and shaped into certain pieces given their pliable nature and are then glued together once their final shape has been determined.

For more information on different plywood varieties, you can check out http://theplywood.com/types.

The Advantages

  • This type of wood is basically made by gluing different kinds of woods together at odd piles. This makes it extremely difficult to bend, hence it is almost inflexible.
  • Plywood, unlike other kinds of wood, is not heavy at all, if anything it is actually a lot lighter, making it easier to lift and move around.
  • It is created from panels of other woods, and this makes it very environmentally friendly since you are able to create a sturdy material by using already existing scraps and panels of wood that would have otherwise gone to waste. This makes them a great option from the ecological perspective.
  • The different wooden panels are glued together at alternating angles, and this crisscross pattern of arranging the wooden panels help make the material durable and strong. This is why it does not bend, snap or split when you are using it.
  • The fact that multiple panels are used and arranged properly in layers on top of each other also makes it possible for strength to be distributed evenly across the entire board.
  • It is also created to be resistant to twisting, cracking and warping.
  • It is actually cheaper than other wooden construction materials that use just the one entire wooden tree.

The Downside

  • The thin variety is known to be weaker and cannot handle or sustain weight or pressure as well.
  • Plywood is porous and exposure to water can become a problem. The only way to counter this problem is to opt for water-proof and humidity-proof glue and sealants or else it would normally become affected by exposure to moisture.
  • It also becomes heavy when it becomes wet due to its porous nature, this is why water-resistant laminations and sealants are necessary, especially if you have placed in outdoor areas or areas where there is potential exposure to moisture, and it is still recommended to keep it covered in case there is water or moisture around it.
  • It is prone to termite infestations and care needs to be taken when handling it. Also, lamination jobs need to be done in order to keep the wood in proper and lasting conditions.
  • If you are not knowledgeable about the material, it can become really easy to accidentally buy the wrong kind of wood and end up wasting money. Some manufacturers also tend to lie about the quality of their plywood and can give you mixed or faulty ones. This is why it is important to have an expert around you to guide you through the process of selecting your plywood panels.

This is why it is important that you are well-read on the subject, make sure to read all of the advantages and disadvantages, and then make a better-informed decision.

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