Now you are probably familiar with plywood, but that said, what is it actually used for? Today we are here to take a look at that.
Just in case you don’t know, plywood is a special type of engineered wood that is made by taking solid wood and turning it into thin strips. Those long and thin strips of wood are then glued together in a cross-grain fashion. A mixture of adhesives, temperature, and pressure is used to press those wood strips together into boards.
Anyways, let’s dive into the most common plywood uses.
1. Interior Walls
Although not exactly the number one most common use for plywood, it can definitely be used for the building of interior walls in your home.
First of all, you may use plywood for the building of interior walls in terms of an inner layer, or in other words, if you just plan on using it for structural purposes, so there is something there backing your walls. Low-grade plywood can be used for interior walls and then be covered up with something like chip-rock or drywall.
Moreover, there are also much higher grades of plywood that don’t have any knots and are extremely smooth. These high grades of plywood may potentially be used for the surfaces of interior walls. If the plywood is high-grade and smooth enough, it can be painted over.
2. Exterior Wall Sheathing
A prime example of where plywood is used as exterior wall sheathing is in North America. Many homes in North America are built using 2×4 or 2×6 foot panel frames, skinned in exterior grade plywood sheeting.
It is used to fasten the studs together, which helps add strength to the frame of the home. These plywood panels help prevent vertical and horizontal shifting, thus keeping the structure both square and intact.
Plywood exterior wall sheathing is often used in areas that see extreme weather, particularly wind, as it has great flexibility, which is why it is also used in many homes for the purposes of earthquake resistance. Do keep in mind that exterior grade plywood needs to be used for this application.
Plywood is a material that is often used in the roofing industry. It is very thin and lightweight and therefore makes for a great backing for shingles. Plywood is very durable, it can handle a lot of weight and if you get the right type, it can be very moisture resistant too.
There is also the fact that due to the cross-grain pattern of plywood, it holds nails and screws very well, thus making it an ideal material to attach to a roof underneath and to attach shingles to on top.
High-quality plywood makes a great backing for normal shingles and metal shingles alike.
Plywood is also commonly used in flooring. It is used mainly for subflooring, or in other words, a layer of the floor below the main floor.
That said, plywood is not often used as the main floor because it just doesn’t look nice enough. Moreover, there are much more durable materials that can be used for the main floor, ones that are much more resistant to wear and tear.
When it comes to the subflooring, though, there is really no material that is better than plywood. Plywood is extremely durable and due to its cross-grain pattern, it can bear a lot of weight and is very flexible too. Moreover, the right kind of plywood can be moisture resistant. When combined with the moisture barrier, it can help keep your main floors dry and safe from damage.
5. Shed Building
One of the most common places you will see sheets of plywood are on garden sheds. Plywood is an inexpensive, durable, and resistant material that makes for a perfect shed wall. Sure, solid wood may be more durable and look a bit better, but it’s also way more expensive and harder to work with. If you need a cheap, fast, and simple shed that will keep the things on the inside dry, then plywood is a great way to go.
6. Skateboard Ramps
This is something you might not have thought of, but the one and only material that is used to make that curved skateboard ramp is plywood. When it comes down to it, plywood is very easy to bend due to its flexibility, but because of its cross-grain pattern, it retains a whole lot of strength.
This means that plywood can be bent a whole lot without cracking or breaking, thus making it perfect for skateboard ramps. On top of that, plywood can be very smooth thus making it ideal for those small skateboard wheels to roll over.
7. Cabinets and Furniture
When it comes to building all sorts of furniture, whether chairs, tables, cabinets, bookshelves, or anything in between, plywood always makes for a great option. Now do keep in mind that if you’re making furniture out of plywood, you do want to use very high-grade sheets that don’t have any knots and have minimal texture.
If you are making furniture, you will likely want to sand and paint the piece, and thus it needs to be high-grade plywood. Plywood is thin, it is relatively easy to work with, and it holds together well when screwed or nailed together. It’s also fairly durable, it can bear a lot of weight, and more.
When it comes down to it, plywood is the perfect cost-effective option for furniture and cabinet building, particularly one compared to much more expensive solid wood. What’s more, let’s also keep in mind that plywood is a much stronger material than MDF and is lighter too. Therefore, plywood is often the preferred choice over both MDF and solid wood for cabinetry and furniture building.
8. Guitars, Bird Houses and So Much More
The fact of the matter is that plywood is one of the most versatile building materials out there. Due to its flexibility, it can be used for anything that is made out of wood and needs to have a bend in it, such as a guitar.
In fact, mostly all guitars are made out of plywood. Plywood can also be used to make birdhouses, benches, footstools, small tables, and so much more.
The bottom line is that plywood is one of the most versatile building materials around. It can be used to make everything from interior and exterior walls as well as sheds, furniture, and cabinets to guitars, birdhouses, subflooring, and so much more.