What is Softwood Plywood?
Softwood plywood is manufactured by gluing together multiple layers of softwood. The face and back sides are made out of softwood, which comes from trees like cedar, spruce, pine, and fir. Its core is made of slightly thicker softwood veneer layers.
All layers of softwood plywood are glued together by phenol resin under high heat and pressure. Phenol resin has the ability to withstand heat and moisture. It is dimensionally stable, with electrical resistance.
Common uses of softwood plywood
Softwood plywood is used for furniture, construction work, flooring, walls, roofs, skateboards, doghouses, subfloors, packaging boxes, and more.
Softwood plywood is an extremely versatile engineered wood product. It is used for all types of furniture and building construction. It can be used for interior and exterior applications.
Softwood or hardwood | Which one is better for flooring?
Hardwoods are more often used for flooring than softwood plywood. Because hardwood plywood and solid wood are more durable and stable. It does not absorb moisture as quickly as softwood plywood.
If you want to use softwood plywood for flooring. It needs to be sealed and finished well so that it doesn’t absorb moisture.
Softwood plywood has a lower density than hardwood plywood. Therefore, softwood plywoods are more susceptible to dents and scratches.
Softwood Advantages and Disadvantages
Softwood plywood is a product that can be used in all types of construction projects and furniture. Its properties make it versatile for all uses.
We get an excellent smooth front side appearance in softwood plywood. Which looks similar to natural wood grain. We can also stain or paint softwood plywood like lumber.
3. Wide option and availability
Softwood plywood is available in many grades, sizes, and thicknesses. All grades have different uses, which can be selected according to the requirement of your job.
The color and appearance of plywood depend on the species of wood used in plywood. Therefore, we get wide color and appearance options to choose softwood plywood.
4. Easy to handle
Softwood plywood is lighter than hardwood plywood and solid wood. Because most softwood wood has a low density. So it is easy to handle and work with.
5. It is inexpensive
Softwood plywood is an inexpensive product. It is cheaper than hardwood plywood and marine grade plywood. But it is more expensive than many other solid softwood species and Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) of similar thickness.
6. It Holds Nails and Screws Well
The nail and screw holding properties are excellent due to the plywood’s cross-grain layers structure.
1. Voids and Gaps
Low-quality softwood plywood may have voids and defects that cause the plywood to weaken. Due to the presence of these defects in the core, it is not easy to identify them. But ‘A’ grade plywood does not have defects that are expensive.
2. Not waterproof
Softwood plywood is not waterproof. It is water-resistant. So it cannot withstand moisture or water for a very long time. It needs proper sealing and exterior finishing for external use.
When we choose wood for outdoor use, we are concerned about whether the plywood will be able to withstand moisture or not. There is some marine-grade plywood that is waterproof, but softwood or hardwood plywood is not waterproof.
Types of Softwood Plywood
There are many types of softwood plywood such as Douglas fir, Cedar Pine, Redwood, Spruce, and many more. Each type of plywood has its own color, appearance, and characteristics. They are used on the basis of these characteristics.
Softwood plywood can be divided on the basis of grades. The grade represents the quality and appearance of the plywood. A-grade plywood has a smooth, and fine surface without knots, while D-grade plywood has a rough surface with knots and defects. “A” grade plywood is expensive, while “D” grade is cheaper.
Is softwood plywood expensive?
The answer is not straightforward as the price of plywood depends on many factors such as grade, thickness, and species of wood used to make plywood.
Softwood plywood is costlier than MDF and cheaper than hardwood plywood. We can say that softwood plywood is an economical product that justifies its price.
Exterior grade plywood always costs more than ordinary plywood. It has no voids or gaps, so there is less chance of damage.
How is softwood plywood made?
Softwood Plywood Softwood is made by gluing several thin layers of softwood together with phenol resin (a water-resistant adhesive). This whole process is done under high heat and pressure so that all the layers are firmly bonded to each other.
Softwood plywood consists of three to nine thin layers. All multiple layers of wood are placed perpendicular to each other. The outer layers (face and the back) of the plywood are made of uniform and knot-free veneers.
Some exterior grade plywood is chemically treated to prevent insect damage and to protect against rot.
Is chemically treated plywood safe?
Yes, chemically treated plywood is safe to use. The chemicals used today do not affect the human body.
But it was not always safe for humans and pets. Before 2003, pressure-treated plywood was often treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA). In this solution, a small amount of arsenic was present which could increase the risk of lung, bladder, and skin cancer.
Can I use softwood plywood outside?
Softwood plywood is not considered suitable for outdoor use. It is not water and weatherproof. Softwood plywood absorbs moisture faster than hardwood plywood and solid lumber.
Softwood plywood without a waterproof finish would last about two or three years. It is made with water-resistant adhesive, which can’t withstand moisture for an extended period of time.
Exterior grade plywood is strong enough to be used outside. It is suitable in areas that are exposed to water and weather. Exterior grade plywood uses an “A” grade layer without knots and defects.
How to care for softwood plywood?
Softwood plywood is a durable and stable product. Plywood is widely used for making furniture. To keep outdoor furniture lasting for a long time, regular care and maintenance are required.