• Plywood Grading: All There Is To Know

    | by Holly Wood

    Plywood, a material renowned for its durability, versatility, and strength, is not a one-size-fits-all solution. A crucial element to understanding plywood’s application scope is to comprehend the grading system associated with it.

    This complex system not only affects the product’s aesthetics but also its performance and suitability for different tasks. It’s a blend of alphabets and numbers, a language, if you will, in the realm of construction, designed to serve specific needs in a project.

    In the ensuing post, we will dissect the various nuances of plywood grading, enabling you to make more informed decisions about your projects.

    Understanding Plywood Grades: An Overview

    Before we dive deeper, let’s gain a foundational understanding of plywood grades.

    Plywood is graded based on various factors, including the wood species, veneer quality, and appearance. These grading systems help assess the structural integrity, visual characteristics, and intended use of the plywood.

    The Different Plywood Grades and Their Applications

    1. A-Grade: This grade represents the highest quality plywood with minimal blemishes or defects. A-Grade is suitable for projects requiring a smooth and flawless surface, such as fine furniture and cabinetry.
    2. B-Grade: B-Grade may have more visible defects but still maintains structural integrity. Builders and contractors commonly use B-Grade for applications where the appearance is less critical, such as sheathing, subflooring, or shelving.
    3. C-Grade: Typically used for construction purposes where strength and stability overshadow appearance, C-Grade exhibits more noticeable defects. Commonly, people use it for structural applications such as roofing, wall sheathing, and concrete formwork.
    4. D-Grade: D-Grade exhibits visible defects, knots, and repairs. It is primarily used in applications where aesthetics are of minimal concern, such as temporary structures, packaging, or general utility purposes.

    Plywood Performance Specifications (BS) EN636

    Plywood is systematically classified into distinct classes, each tailored to fulfil specific functions and meet particular application demands.

    • Class 1: Designed for dry interior conditions
      • Suitable for interior walls, floors, and warm roofs
      • Has a bond that can withstand limited moisture exposure
    • Class 2: Intended for humid conditions with limited exterior exposure and damp interiors
      • Commonly used for ground floors, exterior walls, and cold roofs
      • Exhibits moderate moisture resistance
    • Class 3: Engineered to withstand high humidity and prolonged exposure to weather
      • Primarily used in exterior construction projects
      • Provides durability and weather resistance
      • Features a bond suitable for extended moisture exposure


    Gaining an understanding of plywood grading is crucial for project success. By acquainting yourself with the various grades and their respective applications, you can make confident decisions when selecting plywood that aligns precisely with your project’s unique requirements.

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