The Use of Plywood in Construction
Plywood has become one of the most popular building materials, thanks to its useful properties such as ability to withstand moisture and high strength. Despite being robust and versatile, plywood remains affordable and durable for small businesses. A quick glance at the different types of plywood will reveal their importance.
From kitchen cabinets, floorings, and walls to furniture: the entire construction industry revolves around plywood. The use of plywood will only continue to increase as the global market grows because of lack of affordable and reliable alternatives.
Use of Plywood in Construction Engineering
The most prominent use of plywood is in structural applications. Plywood can naturally withstand a lot of stress and full weather exposure. Structural plywood is best used for beams and hoardings, but it is commonly used in crates, bins, internal structures, outdoor furniture, and boxes. Structural plywood is used for wall and roof bracing.
There are several plywood grades in the market, the most common and popular being A-grade which can take some serious beating. It is not uncommon for highly durable boards to withstand continuous boiling without delaminating. However, there is marine plywood which is made with glues that are completely weatherproof and boilproof.
It is also common to use B-bond grade structural plywood. This obviously comes at the cost of durability, but the material is sturdy enough for use in exterior door skins and concrete formwork.
There’s also C-grade plywood, which is un-sanded and likely to have several minor defects that will need to be repaired. C-plywood is used in cases where appearance and durability aren’t that important, such as subfloors and garages. At the very low-end of the spectrum is D-grade plywood, which is un-sanded and guaranteed to have defects that haven’t been repaired. D-grade plywood is identifiable by obvious discoloration and sanding defects.
It is common for manufacturers to pair up different grades of plywood to save on costs. The most popular example is BC-grade, which is a mix of B-grade plywood on one side and C-grade on the other side.
i) Exterior Plywood
As the name suggests, exterior plywood is used outside the house in items that require some serious durability. This type of plywood is bound together using water-resistant glue that doesn’t wear off easily. Some of the most suitable applications for exterior plywood are walls, roof linings, stables, and even outdoor floorings.
ii) Interior Plywood
In this type of construction, aesthetics and appearance take priority. This is because the foundation of the walls and roofs are already laid out, requiring minor aesthetic touch-ups. Interior plywood is not very resistant against outdoor elements and tends to degrade quickly when exposed to moisture and heat.
Some of the popular applications for interior plywood include indoor furniture, interior cladding, and ceilings.
What are Commercial Plywood – It's Types and Sizes
Plywood is considered to be the cheapest and the best alternative to wood for making furniture, cabinets, paneling and even in industrial applications. It is because plywood is strong and impact resistant to a certain extent and it is available in easily workable sheet form when compared to wood.
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What is commercial plywood?
There are different grades of plywood. The commercial plywood is the standard plywood that you can access in any hardware store when you ask for plywood. The commercial plywood is usually a grade of plywood that is quite cheap because it is manufacturer out of veneers or slices of woods called the ply which is glued or bonded together under high pressure. The commercial plywood is also termed MR plywood where MR denotes moisture resistant. This means that the plywood can withstand a fair amount of dampness, humidity, and moisture. The commercial plywoods are made with different types of veneers that are popular in a particular geographical location. You have commercial plywood made of Rubber veneers in the south whereas, you have veneers made of eucalyptus in some other place.
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On the basis of manufacturing of commercial plywood, you do have a commercial plywood type called the Alternate commercial plywood. This refers to the type of plywood that is manufactured using two different species of veneer. For example, Fir and Eucalyptus veneers or any other such combination can be used to make commercial plywoods.
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Related Post: What is plywood & it's types
Types of Commercial Plywoods
The types of commercial plywoods include
Types based on the veneer of wood used.
Hardwood plywood- This refers to the plywood that is manufactured by bonding together veneers from hardwood.
Softwood plywood- This refers to the use of veneers of softwoods or softwood chips that are glued together that are then heat pressed in the manufacturing of softwood plywood.
What is fancy plywood?
Fancy plywood, also known as decorative plywood, fancy board, composite decorative board, is made of plywood, fiberboard or particleboard as the base material, and is made of precious tree species, cut veneer and imported matt paper of various colors. It is usually decorated with beautiful hardwood veneers such as red oak, ash, white oak, birch, maple, teak, saponin, cherry, beech, walnut and more. In Morocco, fancy plywood plays a prominent role in woodworking, cabinet making and interior design. Fancy plywood uses a fine wood surface that combines the technical features of plywood to combine the beauty of fine wood at a more affordable price. It has the characteristics of realistic texture, uniform density, small thickness error, smooth surface, pollution resistance and aging resistance. It is suitable for indoor wall, cylinder, wall skirt, decorative surface decoration and furniture making.
Fancy plywood is much more expensive than ordinary commercial plywood. In general, the price of fancy/back veneer (outer veneer) is 2~6 times that of ordinary hardwood/back veneer (such as red hardwood veneer, Okoume veneer, red Canarium veneer, poplar paste) Face, pine veneer, etc.). In order to save costs, most customers only require single-sided plywood to face fancy veneers, while the other plywood needs to face ordinary hardwood veneers.
Fancy plywood features
Fancy plywood is used where the appearance of the plywood is most important. Therefore, fancy veneers should have good-looking textures and become top-level (Grade A). Fancy plywood is flat and smooth.
The fancy veneers can be plain slices, quarter slices or rotary cuts (eg, rotary cut fancy birch veneers). Usually, fancy wood is natural wood. However, artificial (artificial) fancy veneers (also known as engineered wood veneers) are also available. Artificial fancy veneers look similar to natural wood veneers but are much cheaper.
The raw materials for fancy plywood should be much better. For example, the core of fancy plywood should be of high quality. Fancy plywood is widely used in furniture, cabinets, doors, and home decoration.
Production Technology of polyester plywood
Unsaturated polyester resin decorative plywood, also known as polyester board, is based on ordinary plywood, pasted with a layer of decorative board, and then coated with an unsaturated polyester paint on the paper surface after curing. The product is beautiful, bright in color, with a variety of fine patterns and high transparency, thick coating, high hardness and wear resistance, has a certain water resistance, resistance to a variety of chemicals and pollution resistance, therefore, it has been widely used.
Its production process is roughly as follows:
Plywood substrate coating decorative paper drying or hot pressing coating unsaturated polyester resin drying trimming grading inspection finished products.
The plywood base material requires good quality, and the surface of the plywood should fully meet the decorative quality requirements.
Real Wood vs MDF
Real Wood Advantages
Real wood has several benefits. It is strong and beautiful. Also it is quite durable. Because of its superior quality it offers the potential for many generations of hard use.
But real wood tends to contract or expand when it is exposed to changes in temperature and humidity. If you fail to control heat or humidity, doors, window frames and paneling made from real wood can crack, shrink or buckle.
Medium Density Fiberboard Advantages
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) performs much better than real wood in at least some areas. It is a composite material of high quality. MDF is made from resin and recycled wood fibers. It is pressed to produce dense sheets that remain stable in all weather conditions. MDF can withstand changes in humidity and heat better than solid wood. Real wood tends to expand and contract when humidity and temperatures rise and fall. As a result, cabinets, doors and panels made from real wood require more maintenance and care.
In areas such as bathrooms where humidity tends to be high, real wood is not suitable. If your bathroom has a high humidity, you should improve its ventilation, or consider using cabinets and vanities made from water resistant MDF products.
MDF also tends to outperform solid wood in the making of painted cabinet doors. Also unlike real wood, it is available in larger 5 – foot by 12 – foot panels.
An MDF panel does not have any visible grains on its surface. So when you use MDF, the problem of wood grain bleeding through paint does not arise. This can be an issue when you use real wood.
Cost is another consideration. MDF is much cheaper than real wood. It is also readily available. When you use solid wood for your projects, you will need to purchase more because you have to eliminate pieces with knots and cracks. This problem does not arise when you use MDF. Also MDF is more economical in wainscoting and bead board paneling where large sheets are used.
MDF is made up of a mixture of wax, wood solids and resin pressed together under high pressure and high temperature to produce a uniform wood like product. It is basically sawdust bonded together with glue.
If you decide to use MDF for your projects, make sure that you choose varieties that do not contain formaldehyde which is known as a human carcinogen. Releasing tiny particles of MDF to the air during cutting or sanding should be avoided.
Not all MDF products contain formaldehyde. You can easily find MDF products that qualify for ‘green' home certifications like National Green Building Standard and LEED.