Plywood is a versatile and widely used building material in the construction industry. It is made from thin layers or “plies” of wood that are glued together in alternating directions, creating a strong and durable panel. Plywood is popular among builders and architects because of its structural integrity, affordability, and ease of use. It is used for a variety of applications in construction, including flooring, roofing, walls, and furniture. In this era of sustainable and eco-friendly construction, plywood has also emerged as a sustainable and environmentally responsible choice for building materials. The size of plywood that is best for a specific use depends on the intended application and the load or stress it will be subjected to. Here are some general guidelines for choosing the right size of plywood for specific uses.
Standard Sizes of Plywood
Plywood comes in a variety of sizes, but some of the most common sizes are:
- 4 feet x 8 feet (1.2 meters x 2.4 meters)
- 4 feet x 4 feet (1.2 meters x 1.2 meters)
- 2 feet x 4 feet (0.6 meters x 1.2 meters)
- 2 feet x 2 feet (0.6 meters x 0.6 meters)
Plywood typically comes in standard widths of 4 feet or 2 feet. Other widths may also be available, but they are less common.
The standard length of plywood is 8 feet. Longer lengths, such as 10 feet or 12 feet, may also be available, though they are less common.
Plywood thickness can range from 1/8 inch to 1-1/4 inch or more. The most common thicknesses are 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch, and 3/4 inch.
The thickness of plywood can affect its strength and durability. Plywood is typically graded based on its intended use and the number of layers it has. The more layers a sheet of plywood has, the stronger it is likely to be.
Plywood can have different types of edges, such as square, tongue-and-groove, or shiplap. These edge types can affect how well the plywood fits together and how strong the joints are.
Plywood can have different types of finishes, such as sanded or unsanded, and can be coated with a variety of materials to protect it from moisture and other types of damage.
Common Uses of Plywood
Plywood is a versatile building material that has many applications. Here are some of the most common uses of plywood:
Plywood can be used as a subfloor or as a finished flooring material. It’s often used in high-traffic areas because of its strength and durability.
Plywood is commonly used as a sheathing material for roofs. Plywood for roofing provides a stable base for shingles or other roofing materials and helps to protect the roof from moisture damage.
Walls & Ceilings
Plywood can also be used to cover walls and ceilings in both residential and commercial buildings. It’s often used in rustic or industrial-style interiors for its natural wood grain and texture.
Plywood is a popular choice for cabinetry in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of the home. It’s strong, durable, and can be finished with a variety of materials to achieve different looks.
Plywood can also be used as an exterior siding material. It’s often used in modern or contemporary architecture for its clean lines and uniform appearance.
Plywood is also utilized as a formwork material for cast-in-place concrete structures, including foundations, walls, and slabs. Its strength and even surface ensure a stable and uniform base for pouring concrete.
Choosing the Right Size of Plywood
When selecting plywood for a specific project, it’s important to consider the width, length, and thickness, as well as other factors such as the intended use, the type of wood used, and the quality and grade of the plywood. Here are some general guidelines for choosing the right size of plywood for specific uses.
First, determine the size requirements of the project. Measure the area where the plywood will be installed or used and determine the necessary width, length, and thickness.
If the standard size of plywood does not fit the project requirements, it may be necessary to cut the plywood to size. Make sure you have the tools and skills necessary to accurately cut the plywood to the desired size.
Plywood is available in different grades, which reflect the quality and intended use of the plywood. For example, the highest quality plywood is typically “A” grade, which has a smooth surface and no visible defects, while lower grades such as “B” or “C” may have more visible defects but are still suitable for many applications.
Plywood strength is determined by several factors, including the number of layers, the type of wood used, and the thickness of the plywood. For example, thicker plywood is generally stronger than thinner plywood, while plywood with more layers is stronger than plywood with fewer layers.
Plywood is available in a range of finishes, from rough-sawn to smooth, and can be stained or painted to match the desired look of the finished project.
The cost of plywood can vary depending on the grade, thickness, and type of wood used. It’s important to consider the budget when selecting plywood for a project.
Plywood Inventory with Forming America
At Forming America, our inventory consists of a range of used plywood options that have been repurposed from concrete-forming equipment. The plywood grade that we offer includes HDO (high-density overlay), which has the highest grade and can withstand harsh weather conditions. Our most commonly available thickness is 1/2″, and these panels come in 2′ wide sheets (measuring 23-1/4″) that are packaged in bundles of 100. We also offer mixed “filler” bundles that come in varying widths of 12″ to 22″. Additionally, we have plywood sheets that have metric thicknesses such as 15mm (which is approximately equivalent to 5/8″). Call or visit us online to see the full inventory of plywood and other equipment you may need for your next construction project.