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Properties of Plywood as a Building Material!
Every year the construction industry witnesses the demand for new building materials. Researchers and experts are relentlessly looking for new materials to overcome the problems faced due to traditional building materials. Among the building materials, plywood has become one of the most eye-catching materials that have brought a huge difference in the wood industry. Nowadays, due to the beneficial properties of plywood, it has become the most demanding building materials over traditional materials like natural wood, bricks, plastic, etc. Plywood is a wonderful combination of lightness, strength and flexibility. Therefore, the growth of the plywood market is increasing day by day across the world.
Plywood is an engineered wood which is made by stacking several layers of wood veneers (thin slice of natural wood).
In comparison to wood, the plywood is easily and readily available in all regions. Due to the dearth and cost factor of wood, plywood has made a way to the construction industry in the last couple of decades. The application of plywood in a building and construction industry along with interior design had made it a popular building material all over the world.
Since the benefits of plywood are immense, many companies over the world have started the production of soft, hard, tropical and decorative plywood. We use various types of plywood for different uses. Right from making furniture to constructing a house including structural framework, manufacturing of doors, windows, drywall/partition wall, décor items, etc. plywood is used. Many other composite sheets or panels are available in the market, but still, expert or woodworkers prefer plywood due to its inherent properties like strength and stability, ease of working, cost, etc.
Plywood derives its structural strength from the timber from which it is manufactured. This is in addition to the plywood properties obtained due to its laminated construction. Cross-graining (thin plies glued at the right angle with each other based on their pattern of grain) allows the plywood sheets to resist splitting and provides uniform strength with increased stability. Unlike natural wood, good quality plywood does not suffer from a change in size due to change in moisture content or humidity, i.e. it does not expand or contract. This is the biggest advantage of plywood.
Plywood has high tensile strength due to the cross lamination of panels which distributes the force over a large area and reduces tensile stress. Therefore, it can withstand overloading up to twice its designated load.
As stated by Bekhta, et al. in their research paper named “The effect of chemical treatment of wood veneer surfaces on their bond ability”; the plywood panels made by using treated veneers have higher shear strength than those made by using non-treated veneers.
Upon the treatment of veneer, plywood’s shear strength becomes nearly twice that of the solid wood when used in the wooden structure as bracing for resisting the lateral load.
How To Choose The Right Plywood For The Job
Plywood is a versatile product made of resin-coated veneer pieces pressed together. You can modify it to suit an extensive range of structural, interior and exterior applications. You only need to know which is the right plywood to use.
To make the right choice, you must know the features and strengths of each type of plywood.
Plywood panels get two alphabetical ratings. The first letter rates the quality of the front side of the panel. The second letter rates the quality of the back of the panel. (For example, a single panel can have an “A” face and a “D” back.)
Plywood with an A grade means it is high-quality plywood.
A-grade plywood has few imperfections and is free of small knots and defects.
B-grade plywood is the second-highest grade given to plywood material.
This type of plywood has small knots or nicks.
The more economical types of plywood are those with the C and D grading.
Plywood sheets with this grade contain many knotholes, voids, and repairs. These sheets are excellent for creating form or structure, then covered with another material (e.g., an MDF wood sheet). Thus, you can use these types of plywood as they are.
For interior furnishings, you can choose from a wide range of high-grade plywoods. This is especially true for pieces that aren’t exposed to direct sunlight (e.g., clothes or book cabinets).
Most cabinets use ? inch plywood, which is usually less expensive and makes the finished piece somewhat lighter. The longer the unit, the thicker the plywood requirement to prevent mid-shelf sagging.
What is the right type of plywood to use to make durable flooring?
Interior plywood makes very durable flooring. Plywood of this type usually serves as the smooth underlayment on which the finished flooring sits.
A floor might have three or four layers: the concrete foundation, a plywood substrate, a plywood underlayment, and the surface flooring material.
Interior plywood is a good choice for areas that are not exposed to water and moisture (e.g., bedrooms and hallways).
Use exterior plywood anywhere where weather exposure is a concern, like a house’s exterior walls. However, exterior plywood can also have interior applications such as in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.
The plywood used to sheath house frames makes the structure stronger by connecting all the studs. This sheathing requires much thicker plywood than most.
Have you ever wondered what is the strongest plywood out there? The answer is marine plywood. It is the strongest and toughest of all plywood on the market.
High-quality glues hold the plies in marine plywood together. That makes them structurally sound and resistant to moisture. Marine plywood is usually only available in A-A grade, which means you can use either side to show on the surface.
Because of its strength and water-resistant properties, marine plywood is a very good choice for bathrooms, basements, and as a substrate material for laying hardwood engineered flooring and tiles.
Structural plywood is extra strong and second only to Marine plywood in strength and durability. This type of plywood works well in high-traffic areas such as entryways and upstairs hallways. It has a rough texture and is usually available in grades C-D or D-D.
Plywood Vs. Wood: Which Should You Pick?
Plywood and wood are both have their place, but they are not interchangeable!
Plywood is manufactured by gluing wood veneers under pressure to create one board. It’s cheaper and comes is larger sizes than solid wood, making it ideal for cabinets and shelves. Solid wood is cut directly from trees and is more expensive, however wooden objects are considered unique and of higher quality.
I regularly use both plywood and wood in my projects. If you’re trying to figure out which to use (or choose for a purchase,) read on!
Plywood Or Wood – When to Use Each
Size: The Main Consideration
The main reason for plywood’s use is that you can use wider slabs. With dimensional lumber, even the widest trees will present problems, as slabs from these trees are ridiculously heavy, dimensionally unstable, and hard to season and finish.
If you’re going to need a large, flat piece of material, plywood is probably what you’ll use. I used plywood to build all the sides of my workbench:
Cabinetry is also a common application of plywood, although my last cabinet project I cheated and purchased the frames from Ikea. I built the drawers from plywood, though!
The one exception to this is if you’re planning for your big flat piece to be the centerpiece of the project.
In that case, a beautiful piece of solid wood (or a bunch of smaller pieces glued together) might be the way to go.
Be aware, though, that big pieces of wood are crazy expensive. Like, thousands of dollars expensive if we’re talking about hardwood. Which brings us to our next consideration…
Is Plywood Cheaper Than Solid Wood?
Plywood is much more expensive than other natural wood alternatives like MDF (multi-density fiberboard). However, plywood is still considerably cheaper than natural wood.
Note that for this to apply, you need to be comparing apples to apples. Nice, fancy plywood is probably going to be more expensive than furring strips (basically the cheapest solid wood you can buy at Home Depot.)
But cheap plywood will generally be cheaper than cheap wood, and fancy plywood will be cheaper than fancy wood.
Plywood has a (false) reputation for being cheap, and in my opinion, it’s really not. Price-wise, even the least expensive 3/4″ “sheathing plywood” meant for roofing and other unseen applications goes for $50 for a 4’x8′ sheet at Home Depot.
Quality-wise, hardwood plywood is actually really nice, and if you’re looking to create a high-quality product, you’re probably better off going with hardwood plywood than cheaper softwoods.
Is Plywood Prettier Than Solid Wood?
Finally, the last thing I usually take into account when choosing between wood and plywood, is if the wood/plywood will be seen.
I’m much more likely to choose solid wood if I’m picking wood for the feature of the piece. This tabletop, for example, is solid pine.
Polyester Faced Plywood
Polyester Plywood is a work of art, from the mixture of compounds to the end product. It is all painstakingly created, step by step to give you a perfect product. Each piece of polyester plywood goes through a process of application of polyester resin, rolling, spreading of the polyester resin, curing and finally cutting. Polyester coating makes the surface of the product very hardy. It provides a scratch and water resistant surface.
Plywood is made by coating a layer of unsaturated polyester resin over the panel. Unsaturated polyester resin in its original solid form carries all the advantages of being scratch, heat, water and chemical resistant. It is a lightweight coating material that can withstand extreme changes in temperature.
Textures including matt, gloss and embossed. These products are advantageous over their counterparts in that they offer nonporous surfaces which allow them to be used in hygienic environments like kitchens, hospitals and biological laboratories. Other uses for polyester plywood include the caravan, transportable/modular buildings, residential internal linings and shed fit outs.