Let’s be honest: it can be very hard to know exactly what grade or type of plywood is most adequate for any given type of construction project unless you are familiar with all the options at your disposal, including the labels on said types of plywood (which can be confusing). Some plywoods are lighter, cheaper, more durable, and more weather-resistant than others (not to mention more aesthetically pleasing). Furthermore, the best type of plywood for building an outdoor project like a porch or deck may not necessarily be the most effective plywood for an indoor project like flooring or cabinets. Other projects like a boat hull, a shed, or a treehouse may also require other types of plywood.
Plywood is one of the most commonly used materials in the United States: according to a 2016 report from Statista, the total production of plywood and veneer in the U.S. that year was roughly 683 million cubic feet. There are four main grades of plywood veneer or ‘sheets’: A, B, C, and D. Each veneer contains two grades, with the corresponding compounds labeled as ‘AB’ or ‘BC,’ for example. The first letter refers to the ‘face’ veneer,’ while the second one is for the ‘back’ sheet. If a plywood compound’s name has an X at the end, this means it has a certain level of exposure to moisture. By definition, plywood sheets are arranged perpendicularly to each other. Plywood can come in various thicknesses, including ½-inch, ¼-inch, and ¾-inch.
Grades of Plywood
A-grade plywood: This is the highest-quality plywood and therefore typically the most expensive, since the veneers will be flawless. A-grade plywood is smooth and can be easily painted.
B-grade plywood: B-grade plywood is slightly less smooth than A-grade plywood and has a solid foundation. It usually has minor flaws and can be subject to repairs.
C-grade plywood: This type of plywood has a few knots in its sheets that are up to 1.5 inches in diameter.
D-grade plywood: The cheapest type of plywood veneers, these sheets typically haven’t been repaired. The flaws can be slightly larger and the knots in this type of plywood can be up to 2.5 inches in diameter.
Different Types Of Plywood
CDX: CDX-grade plywood is typically inexpensive material, as it is made of the two lowest grades (C and D). It can also withstand some exposure to moisture. CDX plywood is great for building work tables and storage units.
Sanded Pine: A versatile type of plywood, sanded pine boasts a smooth and clean surface and also holds screws and nails tightly. It is best for building boxes and cabinets.
Baltic Birch: Also a versatile material, Baltic birch is marked by clean edges and a smooth finish, and is thus typically more expensive.
Plywoods For Indoor Uses
Oriented Strand Board: Also called ‘wafer board,’ this type of plywood is made of wood chips and thus has a flakey look. Its patchwork design contains several sizes, shapes, and colors of wood chips that are glued together.
Plywood For Outdoor Uses
Whether or not a certain type of plywood can withstand snow, rain, or other types of weather events depends on factors like heat and moisture.
Pressure-treated plywood: This type of plywood is highly resistant to mold and mildew, as it is saturated with chemicals. Pressure-treated plywood is durable, lasting years, and doesn’t require paint or any other kind of protective coating.
CDX sheathing: An inexpensive type of plywood, CDX sheathing should never be left uncovered. It’s usually covered with bricks or shingles for roofs, garages, or storage bins.
Other commonly used types of plywood include Marine-grade plywood — which is lightweight and made with waterproof glue — Medium Density Overlay (MDO), and Southern Yellow Pine, which is great for roof and wall sheathing projects.
Seeking More Information About Plywood Grades & Types
Contact Curtis Lumber & Plywood in Springfield, Virginia to learn more about what type and grade of plywood is most suitable for your construction project. Curtis is a wholesale lumber distributor founded in 1957 that specializes in both plywood and treated projects. The company services Retail Lumber Dealers throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Curtis’s professionals are experienced and highly knowledgeable about different types of plywood. If they don’t stock something you need, they will try to locate it for you. They also furnish direct trailer load shipment and can pull orders to the piece for special projects.
Finally, Curtis provides green building information to help you make sure whatever projects you are working on are environmentally friendly because they use recycled or renewable resources that do not emit gases (Curtis’s green building projects can last multiple decades after installation). Call Curtis Lumber & Plywood today at (703) 972-1947 or contact them online at clp-inc.com to ask any question or request a consultation.