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Plywood Industrial Building Materials

Plywood is one of the most popular industrial building materials, being both economical and not warping or cracking with changes in atmospheric moisture. You can use it to make furniture, such as kitchen cabinets and office tables, as well as flooring systems, light doors and shutters. It's also popular for making external walls and light partitions, together with industrial formwork or moulds for wet concrete.

How is Plywood Made?

Plywood is an engineered wood product made from three or more thin sheets of wood glued together to form a thicker sheet.

  • Manufacturers prepare logs by steaming or dipping them in hot water before feeding them into a machine that peels them into thin plies of wood, which are usually between 1 mm and 4 mm in thickness.
  • They orient each layer with its grain perpendicular to its adjacent layer, with a phenol or urea formaldehyde resin normally used as adhesive.

What Are the Properties of Plywood?

Plywood retains the structural strength of the wood it comes from, whether that be ash, maple, oak, pine, redwood or cedar. Manufacturers engineer composite plywood with solid timber used for the core and a wood veneer for the face and back.

  • Because of its construction with the grains at 90-degree angles, plywood resists splitting and has a higher strength-to-weight ratio compared to many other industrial building materials.
  • Because it consists of an odd number of layers, plywood is also tough to bend and can fit almost any requirement.
  • Plywood also resists moisture and humidity, thanks to the adhesives used in binding the veneers, which makes them suitable for cladding and in marine construction.

Which Plywood is Right For Me?

The plywood that's right for you depends on your application.

  • If you're looking for a high-strength material for building flooring, formwork or beams, look for structural plywood.
  • Most use external plywood for exterior surfaces and select it for its aesthetic finish, while internal plywood is ideal for non-structural uses, such as ceilings, furniture and wall panels.
  • If you're building a boat or structures that may be subject to water damage, look for marine plywood treated with preservatives, paint or varnish.
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