Plywood has been our go-to option for fixed furniture for decades now. Due to its popularity, many homeowners are currently seeking plywood as a substitute to solid wooden furniture.

Unlike any other building material, plywood is an affordable option that is not only versatile but also has the beauty of wood. Available in softwood, hardwood and various finishes, this material can be used for roofing, flooring, furniture including wardrobes and cabinets, wall sheathing and even some DIY projects.

So here is a detailed lowdown on what you need to know!

What is Plywood?

plywood-wooden-veneer-sheets
Wooden veneer glued together to make sheets

Plywood is an engineered wood made by glueing together thin veneer sheets with a resin under high pressure. This creates a thick, strong and flexible flat sheet. It is usually preferred to wood as it is cheaper and doesn’t get warped nor does it shrink in the long run.

Best Types of Plywood for Interiors

There are over 18 types of plywood distinguished based on the type of wood used, application and process. However, let us concentrate on the three basic types — MR ply, BWR/BWP ply and marine ply.

Moisture-Resistant Plywood

duplex-house-design-bedroom-wooden-MR-plywood
MR plywood is used for furniture like beds and cabinets

Also known as commercial ply by local vendors, MR plywood is used in interiors extensively. From furniture to cabinets, it has good resistance to moisture in damp and humid conditions, making it a favourite material in tropical areas. However, this is not waterproof.

Boiling Water Resistant and Boiling Waterproof Ply

plywood-bathroom-BWR
BWR sheets are used for bathrooms as they are waterproof

Amongst types of plywood, this is most favoured for both interiors and exteriors. The resistance to water makes it suitable for all weather conditions. It is commonly used in the bathrooms and kitchens where exposure to water is high. It is also used for wall cladding on the exteriors, staircases and more due to its waterproof nature.

Marine Ply

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Marine ply is perfect for rooms exposed to water like kitchens and bathrooms

It is often associated with BWR and BWP ply by carpenters. But the similarities are minimum. The material is of superior quality and is waterproof to a great extent. Thus, its applications are found mainly in boat building and industries where exposure to water is high. So, the myth that marine ply is the best material for kitchens is pointless unless you’re planning to keep your kitchen immersed in water all the time.

Thickness and Plywood Grade

plywood-sheets
Plywood sheets come in 3ply, 5ply and multi-ply

Thickness

Ply means layer. The thickness of the sheet is determined by the ply. More ply creates a thicker and stronger board. The minimum number of plies are 3ply and can go up to 5 or more. Plywood with fewer plies are thinner and weaker even if they’re of the same thickness.

  • 3ply: These sheets are 2 to 3mm thick and are the most common type of plywood for home interiors
  • 5ply: This plywood is the most versatile option that is 4mm thick. This type of plywood works great for indoor and outdoor furniture and decorative boards
  • Multi-ply: This plywood has 7 or more layers. It’s strong and durable enough for permanent structures like roofing.

Grade

Plywood often comes with grades that can determine its quality and appearance.

  • A-grade: Ideal for furniture pieces and cabinets, A-grade plywood has a smooth and sanded surface with minor defects.
  • B-grade: This grade of plywood is similar to the A-grade variety with a few knots; however, the defects can go up to 1 inch across.
  • C-grade: This grade is unsanded with minor knots and defects like discolouration. They are ideal for structures where appearance is not important. 
  • D-grade: Similar to C-grade, D-grade plywood is unsanded and has snags that have not been repaired.

Common Plywood Sheet Sizes

plywood-wardrobe
Standard sheets are pre-cut to reduce waste

Buying these wood veneer sheets is comparatively easy. When you purchase a plywood board, you know exactly what size you’re getting because they are available in standard measurements. Moreover, they are pre-cut to reduce waste. The most popular and common dimensions are 4 x 8 ft. Another popular option is 5 x 5 ft. When it comes to thickness, plywood has a thickness of ½ an inch. However,  you can get a variety that ranges from 1/8th to 3/4th inch in thickness.

Usage & Cost

plywood-TV-unit
These sheets can be used for a wide variety of interior and exterior elements

Plywood finds application in many interior elements — from furniture and storage to the walls, floors and ceilings. The main uses have so far been for plywood for furniture, modular kitchen cabinets and wardrobes. However, for decorative purposes, plywood can be used as wall cladding, false ceilings and wooden flooring, which can all give your home a cosy look.

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Make an informed purchase according to your needs

The cost varies based on different aspects — from the type of plywood to the thickness and quality. You might want to consider all this before making a purchase.

  • The usual prices for MR ply start from ₹28 per sq. ft.
  • BWP/ BWR ply starts from ₹48 per sq. ft.
  • Marine ply is on the higher end, starting from ₹75 per sq. ft., as its sturdy and waterproof features are better than interior-grade ply

** Prices are indicative of market rates and can vary.

Pros & Cons

Advantages:

plywood
One of the most versatile and economical materials for home interiors
ConvenienceCan be used easily without damage to planks due to nails
DurabilityDoes not warp or shrink
EconomicalCheaper than wood
FlexibleAvailable in various sizes, densities and quality
Eco-friendlyMinimal wastage and can be recycled

Disadvantages:

plywood
Requires care while being handled as it can chip easily
ShapeCannot be carved like wood
Delicate MaterialIt can chip and splinter easily
Water DamageNot waterproof
Assessing the QualityQuality cannot be assessed by just looking at it
UsageRequires add-ons like laminates, paint or polish

If you are still unsure, read our debate on plywood vs MDF here for a better understanding of your options.

How Can Livspace Help You?

We hope you found our ideas useful! If you are searching for home interior solutions, then look no further. Book an online consultation with Livspace today. Delivering safe home interiors has been our No. 1 priority. Click here to find out how we are delivering interiors following all safety protocols.

***Colours and finishes are subject to availability. Please check with your nearest Livspace store to check availability.

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