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5 Things to Look for When Buying Used Plywood

Whether you’re making a new house, renovating, or simply making some furniture, you’re going to need quality plywood to ensure durability, aesthetics, and functionality. There are a number of variables to consider when it comes to choosing the right one, especially if you are looking to save up on costs and go with used plywood.

Following are some basic tips that you should keep in mind when looking to buy plywood.

Inspect For Damage

Used plywood is bound to have some intensity of damage; be it a scratch, or a full dent. This is among the most important factors to consider when buying used Plywood, as nobody throws out a perfectly good piece. If there are cracks or other minor damages to the surface that can be sanded out or cut around, you could probably get a good price for it.

However, if there are some major dents or splits that you can’t fill up or sand out, or there is some discoloration due to a chemical reaction, you should avoid the sheet. To get high-quality plywood at low costs, look for a licensed used-plywood distributor.

Check Flatness

In your years of woodworking experience, you must have stumbled upon a number of bowed plywood sheets. Moreover, as you’d know, these sheets are stubborn – setting weights on the convex, sun drying, gluing, or even wetting the concave side doesn’t help.

Make sure the used sheets you buy are flat if you intend to make large parts with it, such as doors, rooftops, or even floors. However, don’t expect too much! You probably won’t find perfection in used plywood sheets.

Examine the Edges

Plywood sheets should have sharp corners, and the sides should have a uniform thickness throughout. Further inspect the edges for any voids.

It’s okay for used sheets to have some voids, but not too many. If you see numerous voids around the edges, and overlapping the core veneers, there are bound to be more throughout the sheet. Whenever possible, avoid such plywood sheets.

Choosing the Right Size & Thickness

This goes without saying, but the word ‘used’ implies that the sheets are bound to have been cut and shaped according to the previous owner’s needs. Your needs are very likely to be different in terms of thickness and length.


Plywood sheets are commonly available in 4 x 8 feet, but you can also get them in different sizes from Forming America, for all your plywood needs. These sheets can then be cut down to the size you need, such as 3.25 x 6 feet for a twin bed, 2 x 6.5 feet for doors, and so on.


The standard choice for sheathing a roof is a 1/2-inch thick plywood sheet, while the standard for good quality cabinets and shelves is 1/4 inch. Thicknesses has a direct relation to the strength and durability of a board. To ensure that your work is sturdy and safe, you should double-check the required level of thickness for each project before buying the used plywood sheet and starting work.

When you’re out buying used plywood, you should keep in mind the size of your project and the piece you are looking for.

The Right Grade for You

The veneers used to make plywood can have different grades on the front, and back. The grading system for plywood is simple. The front face of the plywood sheets is graded with letters A-D, while the back face is graded with number 1-4.

The higher the grade, the smoother your plywood will be.

The best plywood sheet for you is highly dependent upon where you need to install it. For example, exterior plywood (classified exposure 1 or 2) use waterproof glue between layers, making them the best fit for rooftops and walls alike. They are most commonly graded as A-A. Similarly, A-C graded plywood sheets are commonly used for flooring purposes.

At Forming America, we offer HDO (High-Density Overlay) grade used plywood; one of the most cost-effective and high-quality types of plywood out there.

The high-density overlay results in a hard, semi-opaque surface of the plywood – perfect for walls, roofs, and floors alike. The water-resistant and rigid structural properties of these overlays is due to their manufacturing process, in which they are bonded to plywood sheets under intense heat and high pressure and combined with a thermosetting phenolic resin in a press.

The final product is a surface that repels foreign substances and gives the wood a much smoother and durable surface. Keeping these points in mind will be helpful for you the next time you’re looking for used plywood for a project. Remember, beauty and character are just as important and strength and durability. So, if you are looking for good quality, used plywood; that is both, beautiful and sturdy, look no further than Forming America.

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