What do you think before buying plywood products?

Plywood is an engineered wood product widely used in construction, furniture making, and various other applications. It is made by layering thin sheets of wood veneer, called plies, and bonding them together with adhesive under intense heat and pressure. When purchasing plywood products, there are several crucial factors to consider to ensure you get the right product for your specific needs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key aspects to keep in mind before investing in plywood.

Understanding Plywood Grades

Plywood is graded based on the quality of the wood veneers used and the adhesive bonding. The grading system varies across different regions, but the most commonly used standards are those set by the American Plywood Association (APA) and the British Standard (BS).

The APA grades plywood based on the quality of the face and back veneers, with grades ranging from N (Exterior) to A (Interior). Here’s a quick overview of the APA grades:




Exterior-grade plywood suitable for outdoor use, moisture-resistant


Interior-grade plywood with smooth, high-quality face veneers


Interior-grade plywood with solid face veneers but allows for some repairs and patches


Interior-grade plywood with a solid surface but allows for more repairs and patches than B grade


Utility-grade plywood with a rough surface, suitable for non-critical applications

Understanding the grading system will help you choose the appropriate plywood for your project’s requirements and intended use.

Plywood Thickness and Size

Plywood is available in various thicknesses and sheet sizes. The thickness is typically expressed in millimeters (mm) or inches, and it ranges from 3mm (1/8 inch) to 25mm (1 inch) or more. Thicker plywood is generally stronger and more resistant to bending and warping.

Standard plywood sheet sizes include:

  • 4ft x 8ft (1220mm x 2440mm)

  • 5ft x 5ft (1525mm x 1525mm)

  • 3ft x 7ft (915mm x 2135mm)

Make sure to choose the appropriate thickness and size based on your project’s requirements, considering factors such as load-bearing capacity, span length, and ease of transportation and handling.

Wood Species and Veneer Quality

Plywood can be manufactured using various wood species, each with its own unique properties and characteristics. Common wood species used in plywood production include:

  • Softwoods: Pine, Douglas Fir, Spruce

  • Hardwoods: Oak, Birch, Maple, Teak

Softwood plywood is generally less expensive and suitable for general construction purposes, while hardwood plywood offers greater strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal, making it ideal for furniture and high-end applications.

Additionally, the quality of the wood veneers used in plywood production can impact its appearance, strength, and overall performance. Higher-quality veneers with fewer defects and consistent grain patterns are preferred for visible applications, such as cabinetry and furniture.

Adhesive Type and Bonding Quality

The adhesive used to bond the wood veneers together plays a crucial role in the overall performance and durability of plywood. Common adhesives used in plywood manufacturing include:

  • Urea-formaldehyde (UF) – Cost-effective, suitable for interior applications

  • Phenol-formaldehyde (PF) – More expensive but highly water-resistant, suitable for exterior applications

  • Melamine-fortified Urea-formaldehyde (MUF) – Improved moisture resistance compared to UF

Additionally, the bonding quality, which refers to the strength and integrity of the adhesive bond between the veneers, is essential for the structural integrity and longevity of plywood products.

Intended Application and Environmental Conditions

The intended application and environmental conditions in which the plywood will be used are crucial factors to consider. Different plywood types are designed for specific applications, such as:

  • Exterior-grade plywood for outdoor use, resistance to moisture and weather exposure

  • Interior-grade plywood for indoor applications, such as furniture, cabinetry, and wall paneling

  • Marine-grade plywood for boat construction and other marine applications, offering enhanced water resistance

Furthermore, environmental conditions like humidity, temperature, and exposure to chemicals or UV radiation can impact the performance and longevity of plywood products. Choose the appropriate plywood type based on the intended application and the environmental conditions it will be exposed to.

Sustainability and Certifications

With growing environmental concerns, many consumers and businesses are increasingly focused on sustainability and the responsible sourcing of wood products. Look for plywood products that are certified by reputable organizations, such as:

  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

  • Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)

These certifications ensure that the wood used in plywood production is sourced from responsibly managed and sustainable forests, promoting responsible forestry practices and environmental stewardship.

Plywood Manufacturers and Suppliers

Finally, it’s essential to purchase plywood products from reputable manufacturers and suppliers. Research their reputation, quality standards, and customer reviews to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product. In the Delhi NCR region, there are several well-known plywood manufacturers, such as MRS Woodcrafy, Century Plyboards (India) Ltd, and CenturyPly, among others. These plywood manufacturers in delhi ncr have established themselves as reliable suppliers of high-quality plywood products for various applications.


Choosing the right plywood product involves considering several factors, including grading, thickness, wood species, adhesive type, intended application, environmental conditions, sustainability, and the reputation of the manufacturer. By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can ensure that you select the most suitable plywood product for your specific project requirements, ensuring optimal performance, durability, and value for your investment.

Q1: What is the difference between exterior-grade and interior-grade plywood? 

A1: Exterior-grade plywood is designed for outdoor use and is resistant to moisture and weather exposure. It typically uses a water-resistant adhesive, such as phenol-formaldehyde, and is suitable for applications like outdoor furniture, siding, and roof sheathing. Interior-grade plywood, on the other hand, is intended for indoor applications and may not have the same level of moisture resistance as exterior-grade plywood.

Q2: Can plywood be used for load-bearing applications? 

A2: Yes, plywood can be used for load-bearing applications, such as floor and roof sheathing, provided that the appropriate grade and thickness are selected based on the specific load requirements. Structural plywood grades, like Structural I and Structural II, are designed for load-bearing applications and meet specific strength and stiffness requirements.

Q3: How can I identify the quality of plywood veneers? 

A3: The quality of plywood veneers can be assessed by examining the surface for defects, such as knots, splits, and discoloration. Higher-quality veneers will have fewer defects and a consistent grain pattern. Additionally, the grade of the plywood, as specified by the manufacturer, can provide an indication of the veneer quality.

Q4: Is all plywood suitable for outdoor use? 

A4: No, not all plywood is suitable for outdoor use. Exterior-grade plywood, which is treated with water-resistant adhesives and often made from moisture-resistant wood species, is specifically designed for outdoor applications. Using interior-grade plywood in outdoor environments can lead to premature deterioration and potential structural issues.

Q5: How can I ensure the sustainability of the plywood I purchase? 

A5: To ensure the sustainability of the plywood you purchase, look for products that are certified by reputable organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). These certifications indicate that the wood used in the plywood production is sourced from responsibly managed and sustainable forests.