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Pros and Cons of Plywood in Construction

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Plywood in Construction

Plywood is used in construction for a variety of reasons due to its durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. When choosing plywood for construction, it is important to understand the advantages as well as the disadvantages of your specific project. While plywood is a popular building material that has been used in construction for decades, it has several disadvantages that builders and contractors should be aware of. Let’s explore the plywood pros and cons for various construction jobs and learn about alternative materials and solutions to consider for your next project.

Uses of Plywood in Construction

Plywood is made by gluing multiple layers of wood veneers together, which creates a strong and durable material that can withstand significant pressure and weight. This makes plywood a common option for various construction uses, including the following ways:


Plywood can be used as a covering material for exterior walls, which can provide an additional layer of insulation and protection from the elements. It is also a commonly used backing material for constructing interior walls.


Plywood is often used as a subflooring material or as a finished flooring material because it provides a strong, durable surface that can withstand heavy foot traffic.


Plywood is commonly used as a base layer for roofing materials like shingles or metal. It provides a solid, stable surface for the roof covering and can help prevent leaks because of its strong resistance to moisture.

Structural Support

Plywood can also be used as a material for structural support, such as in the construction of roofs, walls, and floors. It can be used in combination with other materials, such as steel or concrete, to provide additional strength and stability.

Concrete Formwork

Plywood is commonly used as a formwork material in construction and to create temporary molds or structures to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens and cures. The plywood sheets are often supported by a frame or beams, and the concrete is poured onto the surface.

Pros and Cons of Plywood

There is a wide range of plywood advantages and disadvantages, and these can fluctuate depending on the size and scope of your construction project.

Plywood Advantages

The advantages of plywood include its strength, durability, and resistance to moisture. Plywood can withstand strong pressure, weight, and frequent traffic. Plywood is also a versatile option for construction projects because it can be easily cut to size and shape for a wide variety of applications. Plywood is also relatively inexpensive compared to other building materials like solid wood, which makes it an attractive option for construction jobs. Plywood is also eco-friendly, made from renewable resources, and has a production process that consumes less energy than other building materials.

Plywood Disadvantages

Disadvantages of plywood include the material’s susceptibility to damage or warping over time. Plywood also has a lower strength-to-weight ratio than other building materials like steel or concrete, making it unsuitable for high-load or heavy-duty construction projects. Plywood is also made with an adhesive containing formaldehyde, a toxic chemical that can cause health problems for those exposed to it. The surface of plywood can also be uneven or contain defects, and these imperfections can affect the appearance and quality of a finished product.

Why Choose Steel-Ply Concrete Formwork Over Plywood

You may want to consider steel-ply concrete formwork over plywood for several reasons.


Steel-ply formwork is more durable than plywood because it is made of steel panels that can withstand greater pressure and impact without breaking or warping. This makes steel-ply a good choice for larger or more complex construction jobs where the formwork needs to be used repeatedly.


Steel-ply formwork is designed to be reused multiple times without losing its effectiveness, making it a more cost-effective option over the long term than plywood. It can be used for multiple projects, reducing the need to purchase new formwork for each new project.


Steel-ply formwork can also be assembled and disassembled quickly, which can save time and labor costs on job sites. This makes it an attractive option for construction projects with tight deadlines.


Steel-ply formwork can be customized to fit the specific requirements of a construction project, with panels that can be cut and shaped to create unique forms and designs. This customizability makes it a versatile option for a wide range of construction jobs.

Forming America has the necessary equipment you need for your next concrete forming project. Whether you are looking at buying used plywood or replacing your existing formwork with steel-ply formwork options, we’ve got you covered with quality inventory and fast shipping to your job site.

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