Plywood vs Solid Wood: Uses, Strength, Durability & Pros Cons

Plywood is a type of engineered wood that is made by piling lots of wood veneers on top of each other and joining it with adhesives. Because of its amazing strength, Plywood tends to be used in constructing strong structures such as crates, boxes, outdoor furniture, and lots more. It is majorly produced in Europe and sold to other parts of the world.

On the other hand, solid wood is fresh lumber that is gotten directly from trees. It contains little to no adhesives and is often used in constructing furniture, cabinets, and the like.

Both plywood and solid wood are extremely useful and have various advantages and disadvantages. They also share some similarities. Both wood types are extremely durable, but which one is the best choice for you?

Plywood vs Solid Wood

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 PlywoodSolid Wood
TexturePlywood is very thick with a coarse texture.Solid wood is very uneven and has lots of pores.
GrainEach ply used in making Plywood has a grain structure perpendicular to the one above and below it. The end grain of Plywood is usually darker than the rest of the wood because of all the fluid it absorbs.             There are many types of solid wood, and each wood has a different grain pattern.
WorkabilityPlywood is easy to work with. It can easily be cut, glued, and fastened together.        Solid wood is harder to work with. However, it glues and finishes well.
DensityThe density of Plywood depends on the density of the veneer used in manufacturing the wood.          It has a density of 1.0 g/cm3

Key Differences Between Plywood and Solid Wood

Before purchasing either plywood or solid wood, you should know the differences between both wood types, such as;

Strength

The structure of plywood grains allows strength to be distributed evenly across the wood. This makes plywood very strong and a reliable wood choice.

Solid wood is extremely strong. This makes it a great choice when building outside furniture, houses, or anything that has to withstand a lot of weight.

Durability

You have to strongly consider the durability of the wood you want to use. The durability of the wood determines how long the wood will last and how susceptible it is to damage and tear.

Plywood is extremely durable and strong. As long as you use quality veneers and adhesives, your plywood will be strong enough to withstand some of the harshest weather.

Solid wood is the most durable wood you can find. Because the wood is gotten directly from trees, as opposed to engineered wood like plywood, its shelf life is much longer. Solid wood furniture can last up to centuries and is easy to repair if it ever breaks.

Uses

Here are some of the uses of plywood;

  • You can use it for exterior wall sheathing.
  • It can be used for roofing and flooring.
  • You can use it in making furniture.
  • You can use it to make cabinets.
  • It can be used in general construction.

Here are some uses of solid wood;

  • It can be used in constructing strong and durable furniture.
  • It can be used in the construction of wooden houses.
  • You can use it to make crates for shipping.
  • It can be used in making doors and floors.

Cost

We all want to buy wood that is affordable and fits our budget. Plywood is much cheaper than solid wood. However, it can be costly to repair it if it is ever damaged.

Solid wood on the other hand is quite expensive. This is because the wood is much stronger and more durable. Solid wood costs less to repair.

Similarities Between Plywood and Solid Wood

They are both used for construction

Plywood and solid wood are both important tools when constructing wooden framed structures such as doors, floors, window frames, crates, and much more. This is because of their strength and durability.  However, solid wood tends to be used more when constructing furniture because of its aesthetic properties and how beautiful it looks.

Maintenance

Both plywood and solid wood are very easy to maintain. Scratches and discolouration can be fixed by a visit to your local carpenter. However, if serious damage is done to the wood, plywood tends to be harder to repair. This is because of all the veneers and adhesives used in making plywood. As a result, plywood is more costly to repair.

Pros and Cons of Plywood

Pros

  • Plywood is very strong and doesn’t damage easily.
  • Plywood can be very durable if it is made using strong adhesives.
  • It doesn’t easily damage when put in contact with water.
  • It is easy to use for construction as it holds nails very well.
  • Plywood takes pain and colour very well.

Cons

  • As plywood is made of different veneers joined together, it can be hard to repair if broken.
  • It’s hard to get smooth wood edges when using plywood.
  • Plywood is difficult to cut.
  • Plywood can be quite expensive and out of budget.

Pros and cons of solid wood

Pros

  • Solid wood has a very appealing look and shine.
  • Solid wood is very strong and has is high-quality wood.
  • It is extremely durable and can last centuries without wearing.
  • It is easy to maintain.
  • Solid wood never goes out of style, so you can be sure your money is well spent.

Cons

  • Solid wood is usually very expensive
  • Solid wood is easily affected by excess moisture and water.
  • It is prone to shrinkage and growth in certain climates.
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight can damage solid wood.
  • Sharp objects could leave scratches on the surface of solid wood.

Conclusion

Plywood and solid wood are both great choices for whatever woodwork you want to do. By analyzing their uses, properties, advantages, and disadvantages, you will be able to find which type of wood works best for you. Try to choose a wood type that is within your budget, durable, and easy to maintain. Whether you select plywood or solid wood, it all depends on what your needs are and the purpose of the wood.

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