What is Plywood?

Plywood is a type of sheet material made from thin “plies” or layers of wood veneer that have been glued together and rotated up to 90 degrees from one another. It belongs to the same category of manufactured boards as medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard (chipboard). 

Veneers are typically made from a wide range of woods, including teak, spruce, birch, and other types. Generally speaking, they are made using high-quality wood.

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The Plywood apartment _©(Toledano+Architects)

Usually, odd numbers like 3, 5, 7, etc., are chosen for the number of veneers. Such plies ensure that the sheet is balanced and that there is no warping.

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A sinuous plywood _©(Toledano+Architects)

Grades of Plywood

Plywood sheets can be graded according to their quality and appearance. Prices depend on the grade of the plywood sheet.

A-grade plywood is the best for furniture and cabinets because it has a smooth and sanded surface with minor flaws.

B-grade – plywood is similar to A-grade plywood with a few knots; however, the defects can be up to 1 inch across.

C- Grade – This grade is un-sanded and has minor knots and flaws like discolouration. 

They are ideal for structures where aesthetics are unimportant. 

Carpenters will sometimes use this as laminated plywood.

D- grade- Comparable to C-grade plywood, D-grade plywood has snags that have not been fixed and are not being sanded. These are the most affordable plywood prices.

Types of Plywood sheets | 18 mm plywood

Plywood is manufactured in India using over 18 different types of wood. These are distinguished by the type of wood used, the types of applications for which they are suited, and their processing methods.

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Ply furniture_©(Ryan Gould and Makenzie Goodman)

Moisture Resistant Plywood 

A kind of plywood used in interior applications is commercial plywood, also referred to as MR plywood. Commercial plywood tops the list of the best plywood types for furniture because it has a high moisture resistance in damp and humid environments. Commercial plywood comes in many thicknesses; however, the most common are 5 mm, 9 mm, 12 mm, 15 mm, and 18 mm. Commercial plywood can be readily identified by its smooth surface and light yellow colour. 

With a urea-formaldehyde resin composition and a light colour value, commercial plywood offers excellent structural properties and high stability against termites, moisture penetration into wood due to flooding or windblown rainwater, or condensation on wet paint or woodwork finishes. Due to its wide tolerance for soil and moisture conditions brought on by moist air movement through openings in buildings or homes also provides long-term resistance to mildew infestation. It usually costs 29- 33 Rs per square foot for 18mm thickness.

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The accent table_©(Ryan Gould and Makenzie Goodman)

Boiling Water Resistant Plywood | 18 mm plywood 

BWR sheets are crafted with a strong face and back mechanical bond. This ensures a high level of water, humidity, and thermal resistance. They are the best option for both interiors and exteriors regarding the best plywood for furniture. BWR is the best plywood if you’re looking to use it for cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens. Due to its water resistance, it is used for wall cladding and staircases in exteriors. With this resistance, water can be boiled for up to 8 hours.

Price ranges from 70 to 85 Rs per square foot for 18mm thickness.

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The PAAW collection 1_©(Artur Adamczyk)

Marine Plywood 

Marine Ply, also called Boiling Water Proof Plywood (BWP), can withstand exposure to boiling water for 72 hours. As a result, its uses are primarily found in the boat-building industry and other fields with significant water exposure. 

Marine-grade wood is susceptible to weather- and water-related rot, mould, and mildew. Manufacturers do not apply any chemical treatments, so rot and decay may occur unless you apply a pressure preservative, as advised by the APA. One of the best quality, best-built plywood on the market is this type of wood. 

This wood must use top-performing water-resistant glue between plies and be classified as marine-grade to be free of knotholes in any of its plies. This ensures that the glue will continue working if the wood gets damp from the weather or other wet conditions. 

Most outdoor furniture and decorative items, such as gazebos, planter boxes, and benches, use marine-grade woods.

The 18 mm marine plywood price is around 70-90 Rs per Sq. Ft.

Flexible Plywood 

Extremely flexible plywood comes in the form of a flexible ply. 

It can be bent or rolled without showing any resistance. It can be twisted or curved into any shape without chipping, cracking, or peeling, which is impossible with conventional types of plywood because they tend to break when bent or twisted. 

When Flexi ply is at its most flexible, it can be easily bent or flexed by hand; the radius of the bend depends on the thickness of the sheet. 

Flexi ply has the distinctive ability to conform to almost any curved contour while maintaining strength and stability. In regular plywood, each layer’s grains are pressed perpendicularly to each other to increase rigidity. In contrast, Flexi Ply‘s plywood has all grains running in the same direction, giving it unparalleled flexibility without sacrificing structural integrity. It usually costs 30- 35 Rs per square foot for 18mm thickness.

Ply door_©(Toledano+Architects)

Soft & Hard Plywood | 18 mm plywood 

Softwoods like pine, redwood, and cedar are used in the production of softwood plywood, a type of plywood. Construction workers typically use softwoods for sub-flooring, roof sheathing, and exterior frame sheathing, even though their names suggest they are weaker than other types of wood. Softwood plywood can make shelving, doghouses, sheds, temporary flooring, and more. If they become damaged or worn, they are simple to replace. 

It usually costs 35- 40 Rs per square foot for 18mm thickness.

Hard plywood is more durable than soft plywood. Its main component is wood from trees like mahogany and red maple. Hard Plywood is more expensive because it is a premium material. 

It is used in places that require a lot of strength, like floors or shipping containers. Hardwoods are used to make plywood that typically has three to seven layers. To create an incredibly strong finish, manufacturers glue the layers of wood together at right angles. Furniture, luggage, sporting goods, musical instruments, and other intricate projects requiring sturdy frames work best when made of hardwoods.

It usually costs 45- 50 Rs per square foot for 18mm thickness.


Surabhi is an Indian-born Interior designer. She is fond of heritage revitalizing and reusing. A complete nerd when it comes to anime, books and visual novels. Her keen wish in writing about unspoken ideas that can contribute to architecture and design is now realised through RTF.