Whether you are building a home or simply working on a small home improvement project, plywood is something that you will need quite a bit of.
Plywood has become a go-to product for builders and home improvement contractors for many years.
With the wide range of plywood options available on the market, there are many things that it can be useful for.
Plywood is not cheap, and it continues to get more expensive, very likely because of the number of options out there in how you can use this type of product.
If you have been wondering if there are different types of plywood options out there that could work for your home, we have all the answers you will need.
Don’t be surprised if some of these plywood types seem similar to one another because there are certainly similarities among many of them.
Here is a list of 20 types of plywood so that you can complete your next home improvement project with confidence.
1. Soft Plywood
Plywood is made of several different types of wood.
Therefore, it makes sense that some of these plywood types are going to be made with softer woods.
The soft plywood is typically made with woods such as spruce, pine, or cedar.
There are some that are also made with redwood or Douglas fir.
With the soft plywood being softer in nature and makeup, it is a good choice for a wide variety of projects around a home or business.
Soft plywood can also be used for roof sheeting in certain situations.
Some contractors find that soft plywood is an intelligent choice for shelving and sheds as well.
One of the things that homeowners need to keep in mind is that soft plywood is not the best for outdoor use.
There are certain features that allow for water to get in and quicker deterioration of this product.
Keep this is in mind so that you do not end up installing a product that does not last.
2. Hard Plywood
Another type of plywood that is very popular on the market is hardwood plywood.
Hardwood plywood is basically the opposite of a softwood plywood.
The different wood they use to make a product like this will be stronger and more durable like walnut and oak.
Other woods that are popular in hard plywood would be maple and birch woods.
Another thing to remember about hard plywood is that it often has more layers than a soft plywood.
Typically speaking, there are at least seven layers in a hard plywood.
You may find that the pricing of a hard plywood is a bit higher than that of a soft plywood, and that is because of the manufacturing process that is involved.
When it comes to using the hardwood plywood in specific applications for construction, you will find that durability is the number one consideration.
Some sporting equipment and furniture are typical uses for a hard plywood.
Something that will be handled quite a bit by people and will need to have strength and durability is a perfect application for a hard plywood.
These are not tricky plywood options to find and will be available at almost any home improvement store.
3. Aircraft Plywood
As is often the case, products that contain the word “aircraft” are typically quite durable and strong.
This name has become consistent with something that can be used in aviation.
Aircraft plywood is not necessarily used to build airplanes exclusively, but it can be.
The aircraft plywood is considered to be one of the highest quality and the most durable types on the market.
In addition to being made of hardwoods, there is also some moisture resistance involved with aircraft plywood.
If you are working in an area where water could become an issue, the aircraft plywood is a great option to consider.
Some of the woods used in the aircraft plywood include birch and mahogany.
As great as the moisture resistance is, the aircraft plywood is also resistant to heat.
You can use aircraft plywood in several different situations, even though most applications don’t require something quite as durable as aircraft plywood.
In the aviation and marine industry, it is common to see aircraft plywood.
When having to carry large loads and heavier equipment, aircraft plywood can also be a smart choice.
4. Exterior Plywood
If you remember, we stated that soft plywood is not a good option for exterior applications, and you may be looking for exterior plywood.
Exterior plywood is made with components that are designed to be outside and can handle any type of weather or water condition.
When an exterior plywood is manufactured, it is ensured that the materials used can handle the outdoors.
Many times, this type of exterior plywood is used for framing.
When looking into exterior applications, another important consideration is mold and mildew resistance.
Anything that is exposed to exterior conditions has a chance to grow mold and mildew after a certain period of time.
When plywood gets soaked in water and does not have a chance to dry, it could end up growing moldy.
The problem with the mold is that it will deteriorate the lumber over time, and you will be left having to replace it entirely.
This is why, in exterior plywood, it is essential to have some type of mold or mildew resistance safe for treatment on the actual plywood.
Exterior plywood can be used for decking and other outdoor applications.
5. Lumber Core Plywood
One of the things you will notice about plywood is that the core can be different depending on the type that you are looking at.
As you can imagine, all plywood is made with several different layers of wood and glue.
A lumber core plywood is going to have a core that is made up of actual lumber.
Most of the lumber core plywood sheets are three-ply.
There will be a piece of wood in the middle with two thinner pieces of wood veneer on each of its sides.
The outer surface of a lumber core plywood is typically birch, maple, or oak.
The inner core is more of a softwood.
The combination of hardwood and softwood makes this a durable and versatile type of plywood.
If you need to be able to put screws or nails into a certain type of plywood, then the lumber core plywood is a great choice to consider.
6. Marine Plywood
You may think that a marine plywood is specifically used to build boats, but as with aircraft plywood, this is really not the case because it can be used in many situations.
When talking about a marine plywood, it is mostly called that due to the fact that it was made with waterproof adhesives.
Marine plywood is not naturally mildew or mold resistant.
If you are planning to use the marine plywood outdoors, you must make sure that it is first treated to handle any type of rot.
This type of marine plywood is considered to be durable, and it will last for quite some time.
Many outdoor structures such as gazebos or porches are created using some combination of marine plywood.
Some of the more common types of wood used to manufacture marine plywood include fir or larch.
These durable types of wood will help when looking at outdoor structures and things like plant boxes that will be exposed to moisture and soil.
A marine plywood is a good option if you are creating projects outside the walls of your home.
7. Boiling Water-Resistant Plywood
As you have seen, there are several different types of plywood for conditions that are difficult.
Obviously, if you are using plywood for an interior purpose that won’t require much weight or resistance, then the type of plywood is not necessarily as important.
However, in areas where there is moisture or a great deal of wear and tear, such as a kitchen or bathroom, then the more resistant types of plywood are necessary.
A boiling water-resistant plywood essentially means that the plywood is waterproof.
Most of the time, when you work with plywood, you will purchase some waterproof capabilities and then do your own waterproofing on the exterior plywood.
However, those who purchase boiling water resistant plywood are not going to have to worry about the extra waterproofing procedures.
With the natural abilities of this product, you will find that it is going to stay in great condition from the time you purchase it to the time you are finished with it.
As you can imagine, boiling water resistant plywood is going to be more expensive than other types of soft plywood.
The manufacturing process using the waterproof materials makes the product a bit more difficult to get to market.
Any time that something takes longer and requires more steps, you are going to see a higher price involved.
8. Overlaid Plywood
Overlaid plywood has a piece of extra wood laid over the top of it.
The overlaid plywood will appear much different to an average homeowner looking to do a home improvement project.
The reason is that the overlay on top of the plywood creates a very distinct wood look finish.
Even though the overlaid plywood is made the same way as other plywood, the final wood veneers look much different.
The overlaid plywood can come in several different types, and it will vary in price.
In addition to looking different, the overlaid plywood also has more of a smooth finish on it.
This is a great product to use when you are going to be seeing the finished plywood in your home.
It is a durable material, and it will be resistant to dust because of its smooth finish.
In addition, many people like the fact that the overlaid plywood does not get scratched nearly as easily.
If you are working on a shelving unit that has lots of visibility, the overlay plywood could be a great choice to consider.
9. Structural Plywood
Anytime you look at a product that is considered to be a structural type product, you will be looking at durability and longevity.
Structural plywood can also be called sheeting plywood because it is known to be used in framing.
If you are watching the house around the corner be built and you see the plywood starting to go up around the frame, chances are it is structural plywood.
From a durability standpoint, a structural plywood is made to be both affordable and durable.
Therefore, this is not going to be the most durable product, but it can handle both indoor and outdoor woodworking.
The idea here is to make a plywood that is affordable yet functional.
Structural plywood is one of the most common types that you will find in your local home improvement stores.
Chances are if you went and picked up a sheet of plywood today, it was very likely structural plywood that you purchased
10. Craft Plywood
When you think about plywood, chances are you have always thought about large sheets used to build homes.
However, plywood comes in a number of different forms, and some of those are small pieces used for crafts.
Craft plywood is going to help those who are making small models or working on simple solutions around the home.
A craft plywood is typically priced much lower than a structural plywood.
However, when you purchase a craft plywood, you are only going to get very small pieces of the product to work with.
For the use, this should not be an issue, and it helps to make crafts more affordable overall.
11. Slatted Plywood
Slatted plywood is often used when putting together walls that have unique finishes to them.
Many times, slatted plywood is used for interior ceilings, siding, garden sheds, and even the building of a doghouse.
Slatted plywood looks almost as if you were getting several pieces of wood put together.
The great thing about this plywood is that it is very durable and can also provide a very nice, finished look to the home.
The slot width on different types of slotted plywood will be a significant consideration.
You must make sure that the finished look is something that you are going for.
Slatted plywood is a popular look in cabinets and even more so now that the shiplap look is becoming so popular.
If you are interested in these modern designs, chances are you will enjoy the looks that you can get with the slatted plywood.
When choosing slatted plywood find something that is going to have a finish that is easy to paint.
You will only be purchasing the slatted plywood if it is visible for others, so you might as well be able to paint this the way you want.
12. Moisture Resistant Plywood
Moisture resistant plywood is designed to keep mold and mildew away.
Some plywood companies will call this an MR grade plywood.
The moisture resistance makes the plywood seem as though it can handle any type of weather condition.
However, this is not always the case.
The moisture resistant plywood is not actually waterproof, but it is instead used for more interior purposes.
Although having this moisture resistance is a great feature, the overall product is not designed for outdoor use.
If you are looking for an outdoor type of plywood, you must consider actual exterior plywood or, as some companies call it, weather-resistant plywood.
The moisture resistant plywood is typically economical, and it can hold up under a variety of conditions.
13. Sanded Plywood
Purchasing a typical piece of plywood or sheeting, you will notice that the edges are quite rough.
However, there are options on the market for sanded plywood.
Sanded plywood has gone through a finishing process to make the outer edges much smoother and the top ready for a coat of paint.
Most of the time, sanded plywood is going to be more expensive because of the fact that it has gone through a longer manufacturing process.
However, if you are working on cabinetry or furniture, there may be no choice but to go for the sanded plywood.
Many people use sanded plywood as paneling or shelving because it will look as though it is true wood.
In addition, you are able to stain sanded plywood.
Many types of plywood will not work with a finished stained look, but the sanded plywood will.
When constructing a home, there will be several different types of plywood that you can use.
Think of the sanded plywood as a more finished or detail-type product instead of a subfloor or structural type of plywood.
14. Flexible Plywood
Flexible plywood is one of the most unique types of plywood on the market.
Most of the time, when you think of plywood, you think of a sturdy and durable surface.
However, some types of plywood can actually bend and curve.
Think about cabinets that have a rounded side or a piece of furniture that has a column.
This is where the flexible plywood solution will come in handy.
There are several different types of plies used to create flexible plywood.
In addition, much of this plywood features an overlaid wood veneer.
This is because it will often be used in columns that are seen throughout the home.
Flexible plywood is a unique product, and it has often bought in more of a roll as opposed to a sheet.
You will be able to use a flexible plywood for a variety of finishes, but some of it does not take paint or stain all that well.
15. MDF Core Plywood
As we have talked about, the core material of different types of plywood is going to vary.
Depending on what the core of the plywood is, the application will change as well.
You always want to make sure that the core of the product will hold up long-term and allow for the right nails and screws to go through it as well.
The MDF core plywood is made from individual wood fibers.
(See number 20 on our list to learn more about MDF.)
Many people like working with MDF core plywood because it is much cleaner, and there are fewer wood chips when cutting it.
One of the most popular ways to use the MDF core plywood is as a base for furniture.
In addition, if you know that you are going to need to paint this product, you should not have any trouble with applying paint products.
The MDF core plywood is a bit heavier than other types of plywood.
Sometimes when you buy side furniture that needs to be put together, it could be an MDF core plywood that it is made of.
16. Subfloor Plywood
A subfloor plywood is something that almost every home is going to have.
Although most homeowners don’t really think about it, there is a floor underneath the floor that you know of.
The subfloor plywood is essential because it is where the finished floor will be attached.
The thing to remember about the subfloor plywood is that it is not a plywood that you will be seeing when your home is complete.
Therefore, most of the subfloor plywood is a bit cheaper because it is not as good-looking.
This is something that homeowners need to be careful of when going to purchase a piece of plywood from the store.
If you are not sure if the plywood you are purchasing is a subfloor plywood, you may create a finished product with a not-so-great-looking piece of plywood.
Subfloor plywood is affordable, so it is an excellent solution for nailing into with your final floor solution.
OSB stands for oriented strand board.
The OSB was initially created as an alternative to plywood, but it has become more popular than plywood itself.
The popularity comes as a direct result of the affordability and durability of the OSB.
Many contractors find that the OSB is easy to work with and does a better job of creating a solution in the home.
The OSB can be used for a variety of things from roofing to the subfloor.
Many people use OSB in framing as well.
Essentially, anything that you can use plywood for, you can also use OSB for.
The product is not hard to find and will be something you should consider before starting any plywood project around the home.
18. Project Panels
Project panels are used when working on smaller projects involving plywood.
With project panels, you will be able to do smaller-scale projects that involve detailed work.
Sometimes people will use plywood project panels when they have to repair a small area that was once fully plywood.
Instead of having to work with a complete plywood sheet, you can use the project panels to ensure that the project is easier and more manageable to deal with.
Project panels are typically lower in price, similar to the craft plywood that we talked about, but the project panels will be quite small.
If you have no use for a complete sheet of plywood, the project panels make a great choice and come in various different styles.
The most important thing to remember is that you have to look at the durability and design of the project panels to ensure they work for your particular project.
19. Stainable Plywood
Stainable plywood is similar to sanded plywood.
With a stainable plywood, you are going to be able to apply stain to the product to make it look like a finished and complete piece.
The idea of stainable plywood is to ensure that the finished look is very similar to a wood look.
Some people may wonder why stainable plywood is necessary when you could just use wood to complete a project.
As great as wood can be, there are times when it is more expensive and not as durable as a plywood solution.
For those who are looking for a great deal of durability and sustainability, plywood tends to be a better choice.
With stainable plywood, make sure that you look at the grain of the wood when you make your purchase.
This wood grain will be what the finished product looks like, and you will want to choose something that you are happy with.
Stainable plywood is typically very easy to work with, and although sanding is usually recommended, most of the time, the prep work before staining is very easy and quick.
20. MDF Particleboard
MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard.
This is a very similar product to plywood and will be made in a similar way, but it is not exactly a type of plywood.
However, many people categorized MDF particleboard with plywood as the solutions that MDF particleboard can create are very similar to those of plywood.
If you are creating furniture or shelving, you can probably use MDF as opposed to plywood.
The major difference is that MDF is made of waste wood.
Scraps of wood are put together to create a board, but the finished look of this board is nothing that will look very good.
Therefore, for any projects that need a finished look, the MDF is not the best choice.
In addition, although plywood is not made entirely of wood, some very nice wood products are used in the making of plywood sheets, especially those that are sanded or stainable.
MDF particle board is an option to consider for small shelving-type projects, but you would not use it structurally the way you do plywood.
Hopefully, you now feel as though you can find a piece of plywood to work for your needs.
There are so many great options on the market, but it can take time to narrow down the correct solution for you.
Once you start more DIY-type projects, you will see the differences that these types of plywood have to offer, and you will start to have favorites.
Overall, it is hard to go wrong with plywood, and it has become one of the most popular building materials used across the entire world.