Choosing Plywood for the Furniture of Your Dream Home

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The fabrication of your dream home begins with the right choice of ply wood, doesn’t it? And how difficult can this choice be? Well, if we were to answer that, all it will do would be to leave your dreams of lavish furniture in jeopardy. We’d hate that. We’re here to bring your dreams straight into action, so here’s a definitive guide for you to review before selecting veneers. Be it kitchen cabinets or garden equipment, or simply your master bedroom – we got everything covered, let’s find out together, what the most eminent plywood manufacturers in India have got for you!

Starting off, let’s first educate ourselves with what ply wood typically means and what does it consist of. An important part of the family of manufactured boards, ply wood is nothing but a non-malleable, non-ductile, tough engineered wood that’s made up by piling up various layers of veneers together. Adjacent veneer layers are glued to each other and their wood grain is rotated ninety degrees in each other’s reference.

The standard grading system of ply wood ranks any sheet as A, B, C, or D, with ‘A’ being the best sort. To distinguish exterior type ply wood, it’s usually suffixed with ‘X’. Another commonly used system classifies ply wood into four categories – Exterior, Exposure 1, Exposure 2, and Interior. Exterior type is the marine ply wood that sustains fully waterproof bonds between layers and therefore it’s meant for weathering extreme conditions of heat and waterlogging. Exposure 1 type is also fully waterproof but does not promise permanent sustainability. Exposure 2 type is more of a domestic-purpose based ply, it can resist episodic and scaled-down exposures to moisture. Interior type complies with its name – is used for interior applications only, specially the places where there’s the least possibility of liquids draining or even humidity hyping.

Ply wood may be composed out of hardwoods, softwoods, or sometimes a combination of both. Usually, hardwoods used for the purpose are ash, maple, mahogany, oak, and teak, whereas Douglas fir is the most common type of softwood used for making ply wood. Several varieties of pine, cedar, spruce, mango wood and redwood are other kinds of softwood used by wood manufacturers of India.

100% hardwood plys are slightly on costlier side as their deciduous or broad-leaved trees are slower in growth when compared to softwood. Hardwood ply is typically characterized as naturally red tinged wood. Plus, the ply’s mind-boggling strength, stiffness and high impact resistance makes it the top priority choice for heavy duty floor and wall establishments. So, all in all, hardwood ply is highly recommended for the ones looking for something truly original for their dream home and have no constraints on the pocket.

However, if you’re looking for something cheaper, you’re looking for softwood. Though softwood is not as strong as hardwood, but sure is close to the latter when it comes to the finish. Its appearance is slightly yellowish as it comes from gymnosperm trees. Fun fact, softwood ply is often called SPF Ply by plywood manufacturing companies in India because its common constituents are Spruce, Pne and Fir (SPF).

Pine can effortlessly absorb finishes like paint and varnish. Even oil and urethane work well with it, which is why it’s a good choice for home woodworking projects. Pine can be used for multiple purposes from cladding, to decking, flooring, panelling, structural framing, beams, poles, garden benchtops, furniture and cabinets, too. Pine being such a versatile product that is easy to work with and is available in the market at greatly economical prices, DIY engineers love to use it.

If neither softwood, nor hardwood are doing what it would take to fit in your dream furniture, then may be it’s time to review what’s called Poplar Ply. Poplar Ply, the intermediate between softwood and hardwood is often called ‘Soft Hardwood,’ as its hardness is the least among hardwood plies. Poplar type is highly water resistant and has exceptional bending ability. It has also proven its mettle in durability. The light weight and moisture resistant grade of ply wood is best suitable naturally humid regions, according to experts.

Another excellent alternative is the Alternate Core Ply wood, which is mixture of hardwood and softwood. Now, here, don’t confuse Poplar type with Alternate core type of ply wood, note that Poplar type is a naturally occurring wood whose qualities are intermediate between hardwood and softwood, whereas, Alternate Core Ply wood is an artificially manufactured product which consists of alternate layers of hardwood and softwood. This is why Alternate Core Ply wood is alternately yellow and red coloured. This one becomes a great option for those who don’t want to miss out on strength and quality but also are running on a budget. It’s a perfect fit for almost all your household furnishing.

Commercial grade or standard ply wood or most commonly known as, MR grade ply wood is also a combination of high quality hardwood and softwood. It can refrain from damage when comes in contact with any kind of liquid up to a certain extent but it’s not exactly waterproof, so be careful before relying upon it. There are multiple brands in India that offer this of ply, the quality and costliness depends accordingly.

If the place where furniture is going to settle is kitchen or bathroom or any other spot in your home which is highly prone to waterlogging and liquid spills, don’t think twice and buy BWR (boiling water resistance type) or BWP (boiling water proof type) or Marine Ply wood or technically, Marine Grade Ply wood. Though these can be a bit harsh to your pocket, but you won’t regret buying it, we promise. It’s highly durable and water resistant, and most of all, it brings you on a safer side.

However, this does not mean that marine ply wood can be used in literally all the projects where you can see water, if you’re looking for ply wood for the roofing part, walls or subfloods, then go for construction ply wood or OSB (oriented strand board) without second thought. This type of ply wood is nothing but wood structural panels made by compressing and gluing various small pieces of wood together. OSB takes longer to get wet than any other type of ply wood and dries out relatively quickly. Even the amount of swelling caused by imbibition is promisingly not enough to affect your roof finishes in any way. And the best part, it’s almost always cheaper than other grades of ply wood, don’t believe us? Go visit your nearest lumberyard or home supply store or simply a ply wood manufacturer around you, and it won’t take you long to realize how we are so right here!

Oriented Strand Board can be used in almost all of the places where you’d rather be using C or D type ply wood.

Some quality standards for engineered boards (ply wood, particle boards, medium density fiber boards, etc.) have been determined by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and there standards can found in detailed versions in IS documents. The waterproof plywood manufacturing companies in India who meet the quality standards denoted in these documents can apply for one and get a certificate of quality from BIS, only then are they eligible to put the prestigious and esteemed ISI mark on their products.

So, whatever product you buy that comes under the head of engineered boards, if you’re looking for superior quality, don’t forget to check for the standardization – the ISI Mark on the ply wood sheets. Here’s a list of ISI marks of different wood boards that you can refer to be 100% sure about the quality of the product –

Type of engineered board in India IS Code
Commercial MR grade PlywoodIS:303
Exterior BWR grade PlywoodIS:303
Flexible PlywoodIS:303
Marine Grade PlywoodIS:710
Plain MDF boards (Interior and Exterior grade)IS:12406
Prelaminated MDF boards (Interior and Exterior grade)IS:14857
Plain Particle boardsIS:3087
Prelaminated Particle boardsIS:12823
Structural plywoodIS:10701
Shuttering plywoodIS:4990
Fire Retardant plywoodIS:5509
Decorative Veneered boardsIS:3097

Above are also mentioned some names that we haven’t discussed in this article, but can also be a great alternative for furniture finishing, like Plain Particle boards and Plain MDF boards (medium density fiber boards). Particle Boards are made up by enormous tiny pieces or chips of wood, sawmill shavings or even sawdust – glued together and pressed into thin, usable sheets. They also tend to be the most economical type out of all engineered wood, however, be careful while selecting the position of their usage, as their design makes them the weakest engineered board.

It cannot be relied upon when it comes to durability and it does not even have water resisting qualities. As per experts, it is ideal for utility shelves as well as inexpensive garage and workshop projects. Sometimes wardrobes and small cabinets are also meant by particle boards.

Medium density fibreboards or MDFs are actually very interesting engineering boards because they’re not actually made up of wood, they’re meant by wood pulp. In MDFs, wood pulp is squeezed between adjacent sheets of ply. It is lesser durable when compared to normal plywood, in fact nails and screws can’t even hold up tight through this for long. In India, it’s mostly used in making study tables, computer tables, and light-weight cabinets.

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