19 Distinct Types of Plywood to Serve Many Home Projects

Opting for the proper types of plywood can be confusing since there are multifold choices with different layers and board materials. Moreover, each wood sheet features distinctive qualities, prices, and veneers to fit the needs of many building projects.

Consequently, this versatile glued-layer material is suitable for floors, doors, walls, and furniture. Its lightweight and sturdy elements perform a superior rendition for both indoor and outdoor purposes. Therefore, you need to select the right plywood thickness and grade for your specific woodworking.

That is why we present several prominent types of plywood and their characteristics to give you detailed information about what elements are suitable for the projects. Thus, you might limit the overwhelming options to suit your specific requirement.

What is Plywood?

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Plywood is a kind of material that consists of several glued layers called veneers. It becomes an essential element to build any part of the house. This product cannot easily be damaged by humid conditions and hot or cold changes.

Therefore, its toplofty composition offers the most satisfying visual appeal to home improvement. The material allows you to apply a base coating or finishing. Also, plywood with good-quality sheets will create an attractive symmetrical. Thus, a warp in a door panel or wall surface can be avoided.

Plywood Construction Process

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To obtain a smooth and thin layer, you need to remove the bark from the logs as the initial process before cutting them into ultrathin sheets. Then, various types of plywood are organized and attached with a specific adhesive substance.

The arrangement depends on the thickness level and grain quality. After that, the last construction stage is classifying the plywood types and grades to fit the number of veneers and distinct composition elements.

Plywood Grades

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All types of plywood have varied grading levels for different purposes. The highest grade certainly provides a smooth surface without gaps, lumps, or swellings. Therefore, the material allows you to apply staining, coating, or painting.

Its quality system uses markings of A to D. The plywood that comes with two letters means that the initial symbol is for the front part of the sheet. Meanwhile, another sign shows the lower value of the backside. Its first alphabet defines the best quality, whereas the last one might be the lowest grade.

Furthermore, an X at the end order becomes the additional grading level. For example, CDX plywood means that the material is good enough for indoor projects and suitable for external purposes.

Additionally, A-BX letters in some exterior structures give a high-quality level and resist extreme weather fluctuations due to the toughness.

Plywood Sizes

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The types of plywood come with varied densities, lengths, and widths to fit any constructional project. An ultrathin layer is easy to shape, whereas the thick sheet will stand on the winds and heavy things. You can cut the veneer to customize the appropriate measures as required.

Unfortunately, the size tags on the plywood panels might not be precise. As a result, there will be a remaining gap in each measurement. Moreover, most lumberyards use millimeters instead of inches. Therefore, it is necessary to use a conversion app to get the exact proportional dimensions.

Plywood Materials

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The soft and hard types of plywood are identified from the tree varieties instead of the materials’ durability. Both hardwood and softwood take good performance in building projects.

Meanwhile, softwood is flexible to cut into various sizes. This material is also quite affordable. However, using hardwoods for furniture will last longer than the delicate grain textures. They cost a fortune due to the high-quality features and strengths.

Plywood Finishing

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If you plan to apply a finishing, determine the grading system before installing some types of plywood. Because the smooth and nice surface is easy to paint or stain. Choose the sheet with A or B grade level since it offers both sides for a final coating.

Next, use a primer at the first step to get a more delicate surface. Thus, the paint will easily adhere to it. Applying a double-coating is also recommended to give a perfect finish. More important, use a painting brush to make the color pigment pass through the wood well.

Meanwhile, stain the smooth surface of the plywood before you apply a varnish since it can seal the layer. But if you prefer combining a clear coat with paint, a sealant will be an essential cover to avoid curving and decaying in a humid area.

Various Types of Plywood

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Numerous types of plywood provide different veneers and surfaces. The front part usually looks smooth, whereas the backside remains unfinished. Learn more about the following wood sheets and the characteristics to find the best element for your woodworking task.

Types of Plywood Layers

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Plywood has a wide range of thicknesses to suit a specific woodworking project. This thin layer is called veneer. Some parts of building structures require thick pieces, while others often need less depth. For example, walls and roofing need different standards of density.

A 3-ply board is a regular type for interior design that gives a decorative and sturdy performance. More layers from 5 to 13 plies are useful for exterior home projects.

Then, for other outdoor uses that require weather resistance like roofing, utilize types of plywood with at least seven layers. These materials provide unflinching edges and sturdy structures.


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The structural plywood has an unattractive appearance but provides good strength. It functions as edging structures that require a cover for the wood surface. This sheathing sheet needs an extra sturdy adhesive substance to attach the layers.

Furthermore, you may install this indoor wood sheet for outdoor uses even though it is not weather-resistant as other types of plywood. The sheathing layers are cheap since the quality level is either C or D grade. Therefore, the structural veneer gives a repulsive performance outside of a house.

Marine Plywood

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A marine-grade sheet is one of the best types of plywood that consist of Douglas-fir logs. This high-quality veneer should have at least B marking or higher level. Also, the strongest construction belongs to the waterproof wood layer.

The marine wood sheet comes without any chemical coating. Thus, the material is sensitive to humidity, molding, and rotting. Cover the surface with a pressure-preservation can be a solution.

Choosing the best adhesive substance is essential to construct this high-grade plywood. You can also use waterproof glues in each ply to keep sticking if the wood is getting wet.

Besides, ensure that the layer has no holes to serve the best quality product. In addition, the marine is perfect for planters, gazebos, and other outdoor furniture.


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Overlaid sheets are types of plywood that have uniform structures with medium or high thickness. The material features a superimposed design with a finished look on the front surface. While the smooth and sturdy layer protects the wood from scratches or any damage due to water drops.

The overlaid types of plywood with high-density composition contain lots of resin and cost quite expensive. Each ply is processed with pressure and hot temperature. Therefore, the strong feature makes the building structures durable.

Lumber Core

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This 3-ply wood consists of a thick core with two slender layers. The front veneers use a hardwood, whereas some glued wooden strips form the inside part.

The lumber core types of plywood are a choice to hold screws due to the wooden plate material. Make sure to keep the construction in a high-quality process to prevent the inner part from having gaps. The holes minimize the toughness to grasp the nail-shaped device.


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Exterior types of plywood come with waterproof glues that gather each sheet. This feature becomes the most prominent characteristic to support the building structures from rain, wind, and extreme weather. Therefore, wooden veneers should have strong materials for outdoor uses.

One of the sturdiest materials to create this multi-ply sheet is oak. This wood can be formed into glued-veneer pieces that withstand the unpleasant seasons and moist conditions. However, other types of logs work great for exterior plywood as long as they provide firm structures.


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Some types of plywood with moisture resistance are great for interior purposes. They are perfect for wood panels and indoor wall borders. You can apply staining or painting to the outer layer for an attractive natural look.

Moreover, the types of plywood used in the interior should have boiling water-resistant veneers. This characteristic is useful for the kitchen and bathroom. The multi-ply sheet provides support to hold heavy items rather than the regular wall surface.


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Hardwoods have the most permanent and sturdiest materials for aircraft types of plywood. Birch and mahogany will create stable veneer pieces that withstand humidity and heat. Other lightweight trees with strong structures are hard maple, beech, walnut, and Douglas fir.

Its light and sturdy designs have very thin plies. Hence, it is suitable for boats and airplanes that bring plenty of heavy objects. Other uses are furniture, toys, musical instruments, and handmade crafts.

The thinnest layer of aircraft plywood reaches about one millimeter. Some small holes are often available in the outer veneer, but knots and gaps should not exist inside the core. Whereas, the back part with low grade usually has a few defects.


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Walnut, maple, oak, and birch are the best materials to produce strong types of plywood. Meanwhile, the hardwood sheet uses three to seven veneers that are glued with an adhesive solution at the appropriate angles.

Moreover, this version fits well with any structure with strong borders, sports stuff, and furniture.

Furthermore, the hardwood plywood consists of softwood inner core and two sides with stained and finished layers. This material is mostly for decorative furniture, cabinets, millworks, and other indoor applications. It comes in many grading levels and becomes more durable than solid wood.

Some types of hardwood are Wenge, Zebrawood, Hickory, Ash, Alder, Bamboo, Cherry, and Teak. Meanwhile, Cedar and Clear Pine create two-sided softwood layers for decorative use. Each variety gives a distinctive natural pattern and color on the front veneer.


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Glued-layer types of plywood that use softwoods work best for a frame house on the outside wall surface. They also function as shelving, roof coverings, and sub-floorings. The construction processes the logs from redwood, pine, and cedar to produce these exterior multi-ply sheets.

This plywood uses softwoods for the whole parts, from the inner core to the front and back layers. It works best for structural building. Furthermore, its varieties include Pine, Redwood, Cedar, Spruce, and Douglas fir.

MDO Plywood

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MDO stands for medium density overlay that provides a resin cover on the sheet surface. Similar to exterior types of plywood, this variety resists harsh weather because it is tied with heat and press. Moreover, the veneer has more efficient use than other wood layers.

The MDO plywood uses B and C grade veneers. Also, the layers are constructed with stress and heat. Additionally, the front side has waterproof resin coatings to resist moist conditions.

Radiant Barrier Plywood

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The types of plywood with radiant barriers are mostly used as roof sheathing. One of the sides comes with a heat-reflecting cover. Additionally, the sheet usually combines aluminum foil with cardboard or plastic films.

Luan Plywood

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Luan is a versatile material that offers more efficient features than other types of plywood. The layers come from the genus Shorea. It is a tree variety in the US that has a flexible and durable design. Thankfully, its straight growth habit allows the manufacturer to go with an easy constructing process.


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Blockboard functions as plywood that has three veneers. Glued wooden cuts become the inner part and combine with thin outer sheets to assemble a thick multi-ply piece. It is for building furniture and cabinetry.

Composite Wood

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The sizes of composite wood and plywood are closely similar. Therefore, they serve the same function for any home improvement. Both pieces have an inner core and outer veneers from hardwoods. Besides, the strong inside layers and smooth outside surfaces are durable and easy to install.


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Some boards come with a polyurethane composition as the inside core. Since the materials are supported with fiberglass, they have the same toughness as the glued-layer sheets. Although foamboard is lighter than plywood, it has a sturdy design that resists mildew, rotting, and mold.


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Medium-density fiberboard is from softwoods, hardwoods, or a mix of both materials. You mostly find it in furniture and finished objects. The wood fibers are adhered to form a thick piece with smooth layers so that there are not any knots or grains. However, MDF cannot support lots of high pressure.


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Hardboards feature a front finished surface and another rough layer at the back. Some wood pieces are pressed to form a thick layered sheet. They function as countertops, subflooring, and furniture borders. These wood panels do not twist and bend easily.


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Particleboards are an affordable choice to substitute some types of plywood. The construction is from adhered wood scraps to make a board instead of layered sheets. Low price furniture uses these materials. Unfortunately, they resist swelling and curving due to high humidity.

Moreover, another type of particle board uses a resin coating to be moisture-resistant. The substance makes the outer layer become a green hue.

Functions of Plywood

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Some types of plywood with a hardwood layer work best for roofing, flooring, walling, and furnishing. The manufacturers often apply painting and staining to give a nice look so that numerous varieties are available to choose from one’s need.

Types of plywood for cabinets should have specific furniture-grade materials instead of durable layers and decorative designs. They include exterior, structural, marine, and interior. Those sheets are perfect for both indoor and outdoor construction.

Furthermore, interior plywood is beneficial for indoor flooring. This water-sealed sheet is appropriate to install in any rooms, except for the kitchen and bathroom. However, for indoor space that has high humidity, it is advised to utilize the exterior veneers.

Additionally, homeowners prefer plywood for roofing due to its easy installation. The radiant barrier sheets are a perfect choice. They offer superior performance in extreme seasons.

Characteristics of Plywood

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Generally, most types of plywood have several characteristics like high strength, resistance, stability, durability, and flexibility. Some boards withstand fire, water, heat, and chemicals. Besides, the flexible features allow you to customize the thickness, size, and shape to fit every requirement.

Other essential characteristics for outdoor uses should not be shrinking, swelling, and wrapping. The treated plywood can manage the water damage and moisture condition.

Plywood sheets require painting, staining, or polishing to give a superb performance. Fortunately, some varieties like birch, mahogany, and poplar are easy to bend so that they can form a specific shape as required.

Moreover, low-quality plywood mostly brings cost-effectiveness. Also, you can recycle the unpainted and unstained veneers into mulch, compost, and other soil improvements. They might function as landscaping, bedding, and vintage distressed furniture.

In conclusion, numerous types of plywood come from different numbers of layers that are adhered with special glue to make a sturdy wood piece. They come with specific characteristics to suit every woodworking task. Likewise, you might choose the criteria that work well for your home improvement.

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