You are looking for your interior work and want to know about plywood!
Don’t worry, you are landed on the right page where we are going to discuss everything related to plywood.
Now it’s almost 7 years, I am in this field as an interior designing professional, still, it takes me 15 long days to research thoroughly to bring this genuine information through this article regarding various plywood.
Just go through the article patiently and I am sure you will select the right types of plywood for your interior work, especially for modular furniture making.
There are different types of plywood used for interior work and almost many of them are available in the regular marketplace the plywood seller generally misguided people to buy certain plywood according to their stock or profit margin.
So, many got confused while selecting the plywood and often landed with the wrong set of plywood unknowingly.
Hence let’s go into detail and discuss various plywood types, Plywood grades, and available sizes so that it’s easy for you to select the right set of plywood for your interior work.
But before that let’s know what plywood exactly is?
You can go through this article if you are planning for your interior.
What is Plywood
I am sure most of us are aware of plywood and many of us already used it or going to use it anyhow, as it is the most preferred option for furniture making and our interior designing requirements.
But do you know what exactly plywood is?
Plywood is a multi-layered sandwich of thin wood veneers compressed under heat and pressure with the help of resin or chemical adhesives which makes them stronger than natural ones.
There are various types of thicknesses available for plywood, from 4mm to 25mm. The higher the thickness, the higher will be the wood veneer layer, and vice versa.
The quality of the plywood depends upon various factors like the quality of wood used for veneers, the wood log size (4ft x 2ft size is favorable), the quality of resin or the adhesive used, etc (phenol-formaldehyde used for good quality plywood whereas Urea Formaldehyde resin used for low-quality plywood).
We are going to discuss all this during various types of plywood and their grades so that you can plan your furniture.
Types of plywood
Let us discuss different types of plywood available in the market and their usage so that you can bring and use the best one for your home.
Below are some prominent plywood varieties we are going to discuss in detail.
#1 Hardwood Plywood
Of many types of plywood in India, this type is the most common and widely available. It is made from eucalyptus trees and is commonly known as Safeda. The tree matures quickly like from 8 to 10 years and is available plentily in India, mostly in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Punjab. Also, it’s a high-density, tough wood, and suits well with Indian Climate.
Most of the 710-Grade or Marine Grade or BWP (Boiling waterproof) grade Plywood available in the market is made from eucalyptus.
*Note- Good quality hardwood plywood suits best your furniture-making and interior designing needs but you should purchase it from a reliable brand as plywood manufactured by unorganized sectors may use unseasoned or immature Eucalyptus and may not be treated well which in turn affects the durability of your woodwork.
#2 Softwood Plywood
Softwood plywood is made up of the woods like pine, cedar, redwood, spruce, etc. These are all lightweight woods and are a little costly. This type of plywood can take heavy workloads despite its lightweight. Softwood plywoods are not available easily in the market due to the unavailability of sufficient woods. It is a bit costlier than hardwood and basically used for structural applications. It is also 710-Grade plywood.
*Note: You can use this type of plywood for furniture making but be alert to the fake brands that usually present the normal plywood as softwood plywood.
#3 Gurjan Plywood
Gurjan is a tree especially found in Burma (Myanmar). A sister species of Gurjan called Keruing is found in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. It is generally grown in tropical forests and takes 40-50 years to mature fully. Many mentioned it as tropical plywood too.
Due to frequent logging, the government of these countries imposes restrictions, hence it is difficult to find pure Gurjan plywood. Most Gurjan plywood available in the market is not purely from Gurjan wood. They are mostly hardwood with only the top and bottom layers of Gurjan. It is one of the costliest plywood available. Pure Gurjan plywood comes under the premium IS710-Grade tag.
Note: If budget is not a constraint for you and you find a pure Gurjan Plywood from a reputed brand then go for it. No one can match its durability and strength.
#4 Poplar Plywood
Poplar is a very low-density timber. It is also called cottonwood. There are mainly two varieties commercially cultivated in India. One is G48 grown mainly in the Punjab region and the other is W22 grown in mountainous regions like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu. This type of ply is mainly produced in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. It usually comes with an MR grade (Moisture resistance) tag or with non-branded commercial plywood. Most of the cheapest plywood comes under MR-grade plywood tags are mostly this kind of plywood.
*Note: Due to its low density and lightweight it is mainly used for commercial or temporary purposes and is not suitable for home furnishing as it is not durable for a long period and bends easily. It is one of the cheapest plywood available.
#5 Mixed Hardwood plywood
It is also called Alternate Plywood. This type of plywood contains two timber species and mostly contains Eucalyptus and Poplar. You can distinguish this plywood by the alternating color patterns of its core, mostly one is red and the other one is whitish. It comes with either IS-303 (Boiling water resistance) or MR Grade for a well-known brand. Some brand also sells it through the IS-710 tag at a cheap rate in comparison with their other IS-710 grade category plywood.
*Note: If you have budget constraints then you can go with this type as the overall quality is not very poor. But you can go with a regular known brand. Avoid it where you going to put a lot of weight or pressure.
#6 Sanded Plywood
In this type of plywood top and bottom sides are finely sanded for smooth finishing. This is mostly used for open cabinets that are visible outside.
*Note: Application of these types of plywood is very rare hence there are issues with its availability in most places. It is basically used for open cabinets or shelves which you can do with another kind of plywood or with plywood substitutes.
#7 Structural Plywood
This type of plywood is very tough and made for permanent structures used for heavy work. It can take much more pressure and heavy load than that regular plywood. They are unfinished surfaces and are usually used for framing, beams, panels, etc.
*Note: Structural plywood is not meant for home or office interior works and is mostly not available at regular plywood dealers.
#8 Birch Plywood
This kind of plywood is primarily imported from Russia and Finland all around the globe. This is a very premium high-quality plywood and the demand for this plywood gradually increases in India over time. The finishing of this plywood is stunning with linear surfaces, provides an even thickness, and never bends easily. This is a costlier plywood option and suits the best for low-temperature areas.
*Note: These types of plywood are never available easily. You have to contact certain dealers if you need this. Even though it does not suit best for Indian climatic conditions, you can use it for very specific applications like modular shutters with proper edge banding if you have the budget on your side.
#9 Beech plywood
This one is an innovative plywood product developed in India. This is a mix of hardwood and European beech Veneer. The inner core of this plywood is made up of Eucalyptus and the top layer comprises beech veneer. The important thing about this plywood is that it provides a stunning wooden look after polishing just like the veneers. So, you need not expense extra on finishing material.
*Note: Beech plywood is a very good option for furniture making and is durable as hardwood plywood as the inner core is comprised of hardwood. It also saves some extra cost as it does not require any finishing material like laminate or veneer and is straight away polished. If you are looking for a rustic wooden look and you have a low budget then this kind of plywood is a great option for you.
#10 Rubberwood Plywood
It is one of the lowest-grade plywood types and is mainly manufactured in large quantities in Kerala state. These are purely commercial-grade with low resistance and very low resistance to borer and other insects. This plywood costs you less than half or one-third of any good plywood of a well-known brand.
*Note: I personally do not recommend this kind of plywood. Avoid this kind of plywood for interior work and furniture making.
#11 Aircraft Plywood
As the name suggests this type of plywood was first used during World War II to make fighter aircraft, especially in British. This one is very tough and high-strength plywood and very costly. It is usually made from Mahogany, spruce, and breech together bonded with high-resistance adhesive. In some cases, hardwood or poplar are used for its core.
*Note: These types of plywood are not meant for regular sale in the market. I just mentioned this here as some people are curious and asked for their interior requirements.
#12 Blockboard-type Plywood
Blockboard or plyboard is not plywood. It just seems like plywood and you can call it a substitute for plywood. It is also called Plyboard. Blockboards are generally used in vertical applications such as wall paneling and shutter makes. Veneer core plywood is the real plywood where the thick wood veneers are pressed together whereas blockboards are made with solid wood blocks or strips glued together and sandwiched between thick wood veneers. It is available with 19mm thickness for furniture making and its 30mm and 32mm varieties for the door, called flush doors. In many areas, it is also mentioned as Lumber core plywood.
*Note: As mentioned above blockboards are used for vertical applications. Don’t use it to make cabinets or shelves as it may crack with a heavy load over time. Use it, especially when your furniture shutters are greater than 5 feet.
#13 Flexible Plywood
Flexible plywood is mainly used for designing purposes like curve or arch designs, round pillars, and for furniture design. It easily bends into various shapes so it helps you to provide a distinct look to your interior rather than the conventional straight and square look. A good quality Flexi ply made up of hardwood. It is available from 3mm thickness to 16mm thickness. The more will be thickness, the smaller will be the curve. Generally, a 4mm thick flexible ply is used more. In some regions, it is also called curved ply, bendy ply, or hatters’ ply. It is mostly available in 8Ft X4Ft sizes.
*Note: This is only used for making designs and is required in a very minimum quantity. You can go with any well-known brand.
#14 Shuttering plywood
This type of plywood is not meant for interior work or furniture-making purposes. I am just mentioning it as this is one type of plywood that is widely used in the civil industry for making shutters for beams and roofs. It comes in 25kg and 30 kg varieties with 12mm thickness. The shuttering plywood with hardwood core is the best.
*Note: This plywood is mostly used for civil works or in construction sectors. It has no interior usage.
Comparison Between Various Types of Plywood
Let’s compare the plywood you required for your interior work and furniture making, so, that it’s easy for you to know the various features of every plywood before buying.
in this list, I am excluding the plywood not useful for you.
|Plywood Type >>>
|Price in INR
(In sq ft)
Generally, there are 3 grades available in the market
1-Marine Grade Plywood or IS-710 grade plywood
2- BWR grade plywood (Boiling water resistance)
3- MR Grade Plywood.
Know Various grades of plywood in detail.
We mistakenly take marine grade plywood as a type of plywood rather it is a plywood grade. Marine Grade plywood is also mentioned as IS-710 grade plywood for its BWP (Boiling Water Proof) property and is also called BWP plywood. It is the highest grade of plywood available in India and is preferably used for interior work and furniture making. Good marine-grade plywood is consisting of quality hardwood like Eucalyptus or Gurjan. Due to the scarcity of Gurjan wood, most manufacturers used it as an upper layer with a hardwood core.
The grade defines the quality and durability of the plywood and simplifies it for the buyers to choose accordingly. There are other grades of plywood available like IS-303 grade (BWR plywood stands for boiling water resistance) MR grade (Moisture resistance) etc.
In some regions or countries, the gradation system is slightly different. Plywood is categorized into various grades according to its quality like A, B, C, and D.
A and B grade ply are both sanded surfaces but A grade ply is preferably best for furniture making due to its best quality and durability. B-grade ply is good but used in fewer moisture areas. You can use B-grade plywood in small furniture making, decorative selves, and partition purposes. C and D grade plywood is un-sanded and used for commercial and temporary purposes.
*Note: Marine plywood is the real waterproof plywood you searching for. It is the best quality plywood available for your interior work. But You should know various Grades of plywood in detail before buying so that you can pick the right grade of plywood for your various purposes and save some extra penny.
Plywood Varieties According To thickness
We have already discussed different types of plywood. But there are various thicknesses of plywood sheets available in the market that you require for your desired work like 6mm, 9mm,12mm,16mm, 19mm, and 25mm. So, plywood is segregated according to various thicknesses that depend upon the count of veneer layers used.
The minimum amount of veneer layer used in the plywood is three. Most of the 6mm plywood consists of 3 veneer layers. For interior and furniture work it is used in a very minimum quantity. Most people prefer to use 9mm instead of 6mm.
In the 5-ply variety of plywood, there are 5 layers of veneer. 9mm types of plywood are mostly of 5-ply categories. It is used in the back side of the furniture like modular kitchen, wardrobe, in the bottom of the drawers, partitions, etc.
As discussed, there are multiple layers of veneers used for various thicknesses like seven layers of veneers for 7-ply (12mm plywood), nine layers of veneers for 9-ply (16mm plywood), eleven layers of veneers 11-ply (19mm plywood), etc.
The more the thickness the stronger the plywood is. 19mm plywood is mostly required for structure making in major furniture. 16mm ply used in smaller furniture and selves, 12mm for partition and wall paneling and designing purposes. 25mm plywood is required for heavy structures and frames as it has more load-bearing capacity.
*Note: You should buy the right set of thicknesses for your interior work so that it will minimize your cost.
Available Plywood sizes
Plywood is available in various sizes so that you can pick the right size of plywood according to the furniture or design. it will help you to minimize your wastage and hence expenses.
The available plywood sizes are 5ft x 3ft, 5ft x 4ft, 6ft x 3ft, 6ft x 4ft, 7ft x 3ft, 7ft x 4ft, 8ft x 3ft, and 8ft x 4ft.
Some brands even provide bigger sizes according to their client’s requirements like 9ft x4ft or 10ft x 4ft. For example, Duroply is a brand that delivers this kind of bigger size according to their client’s requirements.
Plywood Buying Guide
Let’s go through this. Here I have some tips and advice before buying plywood.
- Ask the plywood seller about the plywood details. Especially which wood is used as its core.
- Check which grade it belongs to. Always go with IS-710 grade or Marine grade for home furnishings.
- Cleary go through the term and conditions. Collect the certificate/ guarantee or warranty card against the plywood spoilage and termite infestation.
- Don’t pay extra in the name of Gurjan wood. Gurjan plywood is rare these days.
- you can collect a small sample piece from the seller and check it by immersing it in water for two days.
- It is always better to go with well-known plywood brands or plywood manufacturers like century ply, Duroply, Wigham plywood, Greenply, Mayur Ply, Kit Ply, Sylvan, and many more.
There are many products that are used as a substitute for plywood like HDF (also called HDHMR), MDF, particle board, WPC, cement fiberboard, etc. Even though they are not as stronger as plywood and lack many features when compared to plywood but there are various reasons to use plywood substitutes, especially for better finishing and to minimize cost.
For example, MDF and mostly HDF shutters go well with various finishes and look stunning. MDF and particle boards provide better finishing than plywood and are mostly used to make small furniture and decorative shelves. Cement fiber boards and WPC are fully water and termite-proof and useful for many reasons.
What are the 3 types of plywood?
There are many types of plywood as discussed in the article but generally, there are 3 grades only. according to the plywood quality. They are Marine or IS-710 grade, IS-303 grade, and MR grade.
what is waterproof plywood? What is the price of it?
IS-710 grade plywood is called waterproof plywood. It is also mentioned as marine plywood or marine grade plywood. This type of plywood passes through a 72-hour boiling waterproof test and is bonded with a premium resin called phenol-formaldehyde. It is the best plywood you can go for.
The price of it depends upon the type of wood used to make it. If it is made by Gurjan then the price goes higher as well as the birch type of plywood. generally, hardwood plywood is available in the market and the price ranges from Rs 105 to Rs 125/- in India.
Which one is the best type of plywood for cabinets?
You can always pick marine-grade plywood (IS-710 waterproof plywood) for kitchen cabinets or others. It has the best screw-holding strength and lasts long.
Which one is the best type of plywood for furniture making and interior work?
Gurjan, hardwood, and birch plywood are good for furniture making. If you are confused just go for marine 710-grade waterproof plywood. If you need polish for furniture instead of laminate, Veneer or other finishing products then either pick birch or beech type of plywood. They have fine surfaces for polishing which you can polish directly.