If you’ve worked with plywood sheets before, you know that not all sides are created equal. Some have a beautiful face with no knots or visible flaws while others aren’t as flawless.
To help consumers pick the right piece of plywood for their projects, the plywood industry has created different grades: A, B, C, and D.
These grades sort the wood by quality, with the biggest difference being the number of knotholes and voids in the top layer. Let’s explore the grades and find out more about the different faces of plywood sheets.
Grade A plywood sheets are top quality. It’s sanded smooth and is easily paintable.
This grade may have minor defects, but they should be inconspicuous to the naked eye. You can sometimes find Grade AA plywood. This is the absolute highest grade and is used to make furniture, cabinetry, architectural paneling or molding, making it more expensive and difficult to find.
Grade B plywood is very similar to Grade A. These plywood sheets may have minor, visible repairs and tight knots, but it should have a solid surface that’s free from any gaps or major splits.
You may also notice mineral streaks or vine marks, but they should be light. Like Grade A, this type of plywood is used to make furniture where the wood is visible.
Grade C plywood is more economical and easy to find. This grade is allowed to have more patching and filling than the higher grades, as well as unlimited mineral and vine marks.
Grade C plywood sheets are often used in projects where the wood will be covered by another material, like an MDF sheet.
The lowest grade of plywood, Grade D can have visible knots and defects that aren’t filled and an unsanded face. While it isn’t ideal for furniture or paneling, this grade is often used in construction as sheathing for surfaces that will be covered by floors and siding. It’s also very useful as a mold for concrete.
When you purchase plywood sheets, you’ll notice that each side of the plywood has a grade. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a sheet of AA/AA at the local hardware store.
Even A/A is difficult to find. More commonly, you’ll come across A/B or A/C. This means that one side of the plywood is Grade A and the other is Grade B or C. For most projects, these types of plywood will work because you can put the higher rated side facing out while the lower rated side is hidden facing in.
Now that you know the different grades of plywood, A-D, you can start planning your next project. And if you find that you need a higher grade, you can find locally, contact a plywood distributor like USply. We can help you find the products you need with the rating you want.