Plywood is a common material that is used on nearly every single construction site but why is this?
- There are many factors as to why plywood is so popular. These include its high strength, high panel sheer, flexibility, difficulty in bending, moisture, impact, fire and chemical resistance, as well as being insulating.
- The process of making plywood is key to its durability and stability. It starts with a log being softened with steam and then mounted on a lathe. A long knife is then used to peel off a thin layer of wood in a continuous veneer sheet. Once dried, around five or six layers of veneer are layered together with the grain direction alternating between the different layers. Glue is used to between the layers to ensure they stick and then the stack is then heated and pressed to form a rigid panel.
- Because of plywood’s durability, it has a number of uses. This can be anything from light partitions or external walls, as well as furniture, packaging, doors and as part of flooring systems.
- There are four types of plywood – structural, external, internal and marine. Each is slightly different to suit their purpose. Structural plywood is used in permanent structures, for flooring, beams and bracing panels. This type of plywood is high in strength to ensure it lasts for as long as possible. As the name suggests external plywood is used externally, for a decorative finish. It is not meant to bear a mass load, so is used for wall cladding and door surfaces. Internal plywood is used for non-structural applications and has a particularly beautiful finish. It can be used for wall paneling and even furniture. Lastly, marine plywood resists water damage and fungal attacks because it is treated with paint or varnish. As the name suggests, it is used on ships.
Plywood is a great product that makes fairly efficient use of a tree but we wonder how it will develop. What do you think is in the future for plywood?