Advantech vs. Plywood: Which to Choose?

Advantech vs. Plywood: Which to Choose?

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If you are installing a new floor in your home, then you always have to think about the type of sub-flooring you install.

Now, plywood is still the most commonly used type of sub-floor out there. However, a new type of sub-floor that you may not have heard about is known as Advantech. Today, we are here to compare these two materials based on their usability as a sub-flooring system.

Let’s figure out what both of these options are, what makes them similar, what makes them different, and what both are best used for.

Advantech and Plywood: The Basics

Before we get into talking about the similarities and differences between Advantech and plywood, let’s first figure out what they both are.

What Is AdvanTech?

Advantech is a special type of sub-flooring system that has become quite popular as of late. Now, in terms of the look, these panels may look similar to plywood.

This flooring system features engineered wood panels. These panels are made by using wood flakes or wood fibers and then using a special type of adhesive, along with heat, to press them together. One of the defining features of Advantech panels is that they use a special type of advanced liquid resin that coats the entire panel.

This is an extremely durable resin that adds a great deal of strength, moisture resistance, and more. This flooring system is designed specifically for use as sub-flooring and for nothing else.

Advantech flooring is rather expensive, although most would consider it well worth the investment due to its high quality. Keep in mind that Advantech is not a general term such as plywood, but in fact, is a specific product made by a specific brand.

What Is Plywood?

We then have plywood, which is another type of engineered wood, one that has been popular for a very long time. Plywood is made by taking many thin veneers, or strips of wood, and laying them side by side to form a solid sheet.

There are then various layers, up to seven of them, otherwise known as plies, layered on top of each other. These are oriented in a perpendicular manner to create a cross-grain pattern that allows for a great deal of strength. These are then glued and pressed together to form a solid sheet.

There are many different types of plywood that can be made out of both softwood and hardwood, and it comes in many different grades. Plywood is used for an extremely wide array of construction-related purposes, whether sub-flooring, roofing, wall sheathing, building sheds, making boats, or anything in between.

Similarities of Advantech and Plywood

Now that we know what both Advantech and plywood are, let’s figure out what makes them similar.

1. They Are Both Engineered Wood

One of the most basic similarities shared by these materials is that they are both types of engineered wood. They do feature fundamentally different constructions, but in their most basic forms, they are engineered wood.

2. They Can Both Be Used for Sub-Flooring

As mentioned above, Advantech is specifically designed to be used as sub-flooring. Plywood can also be used as sub-flooring, although it does serve many other purposes as well.

3. They’re Both Durable

As you will see, one is more durable than the other, but that being said, high-quality plywood is very durable, as is Advantech flooring.

Differences Between Advantech and Plywood

Now that we know what makes Advantech and plywood similar, let’s figure out what makes them different.

1. Durability

Although both of these materials are very durable, Advantech flooring panels are much stronger and more durable than normal plywood. It can hold more weight, it can absorb more impact, and it resists general damage much better.

2. Weight Bearing Capabilities

Something else that stands out about Advantech when compared to plywood is that it can hold much more weight. If you have a piece of plywood and a piece of Advantech flooring of the same size and thickness, the Advantech flooring panel is going to be able to hold significantly more weight. This is why it is ideal for sub-flooring purposes.

3. Stiffness and Bending Capacity

Another thing that stands out about Advantech flooring panels, when compared to plywood, is the fact that it is much stiffer. It doesn’t bend nearly as easily. It takes several more pounds per square inch of force to bend Advantech flooring panels than it does to bend plywood.

However, with that being said, Advantech flooring also has more bending capacity. It takes more weight to bend it, and it can flex further without breaking. These are two more reasons it is a popular sub-flooring option.

4. Screw Holding Capabilities

Due to its cross-grain construction, plywood does a great job at holding onto nails and screws. With that being said, due to that special liquid resin construction of Advantech panels, they actually perform better when it comes to holding onto screws and nails.

5. Workability

Depending on the grade of plywood, this material can be a bit difficult to cut. It often suffers from tear-outs and splintering when you try to saw it. However, due to the construction of Advantech flooring, it is easy to saw apart without causing it to splinter or tear-out.

6. Moisture Resistance

Another benefit that Advantech flooring has over plywood is the fact that it is more moisture resistant. Now, there are some very moisture-resistant forms of plywood out there, but Advantech is more or less 100% waterproof.

7. Sustainability

Although some plywood may be made out of sustainable sources, generally speaking, it is made out of freshly milled lumber. On the other hand, Advantech flooring is usually made with wood that is sustainably harvested. This makes it much more eco-friendly than plywood.

8. Cost

One of the drawbacks of Advantech flooring, when compared to plywood, is the fact that it is much more expensive. Depending on the type of plywood, Advantech flooring can cost twice as much.

9. Exterior Use

There are types of plywood that are designed for permanent exterior use. Advantech flooring, however, cannot be used for permanent exterior installations. Although it is extremely water-resistant, it won’t resist extreme weather for prolonged periods of time.

10. Sizes

The other notable difference here is that Advantech comes in about five or six very specific sizes. These panels are manufactured by one specific company, and therefore the choices in terms of panel sizes and thickness are not massive. However, when it comes to plywood, the selection of panels in terms of both size and thickness is very big.

Advantech vs. Plywood: Which of the Two Should You Use?

If you are doing sub-flooring, then you absolutely want to use Advantech panels instead of plywood. This is the modern version of plywood that is specifically designed for sub-flooring.

It is extremely durable, and stiff, yet can also bend far without breaking, it’s extremely moisture-resistant, and much more. Sure, it may be expensive, but most would say that it is well worth the investment.

However, for everything else, whether it is building a shed, making a boat, building a patio, sheathing a wall, or underlaying a roof, it is plywood that you want to use.

Summary

What it really comes down to is that Advantech panels are great for sub-flooring, whereas plywood is the better option for more or less everything else.