Introduction to Plywood Alternatives
Did you know that China is the biggest exporter of plywood, generating $4.02 Billion per year? People use plywood for several purposes, the most popular one being its use in construction.
But what if you don’t want to or can’t use plywood for some reason? Don’t worry; after doing the proper research for you, the top 10 plywood alternatives are listed for you. Let’s dive into the article now.
Hardboard is an engineered wood product manufactured by pressing thin sheets of wood pulp together. It is denser and harder than plywood, making it a great alternative. Hardboard is one of those plywood alternatives that are cheaper and easier to work with.
You can use hardboard for furniture, cabinetry, flooring, paneling, and wall coverings. It is easy to purchase a Hardboard at your local hardware store. But, hardboard is not as strong as plywood and can dent and scratch more easily.
2- Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
MDF is a composite material having a composition of wood fibers and resin. It is one of the leading shuttering alternatives because of its extra density than plywood and harder than particleboard. However, MDF is also more expensive than plywood.
There are several uses of MDF, such as in flooring, wall coverings, and kitchen furniture. It looks great when painted and is very easy to work with. You can purchase MDF for around $30 per 4’x8′ sheet. MDF requires more care, as it can sag if not correctly supported.
3- Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
Another one of the best plywood alternatives that you can use is the oriented strand board (OSB). It is made of wood strands oriented in specific directions and then glued together with resin. OSB is cheaper than plywood, but it is not as strong or durable.
OSB or the Oriented strand board is used mainly in the wall sheathing. The price of this board can vary, but the customer reviews are very positive. You can get it for as low as $8-9 per 4’x8′ sheet. OSB is not as moisture resistant as plywood and can swell up when exposed to water. Thus, you need to ensure no water contact with OSB.
Particleboard is one of the best plywood alternatives manufactured from wood chips, shavings, and sawdust that we blend with resins afterward. It is the cheapest option on our list but is not as strong or durable as plywood.
Several uses of this particleboard count as furniture, shelving, and cabinetry. The reviews for the particle board are quite mixed. While some people like it, others have found it very flimsy.
5- Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL)
Another one of the famous plywood alternatives is laminated veneer lumber. It has high strength but is very expensive for its high quality and durability.
What is the procedure for making LVL? The companies need to bond large panels of rotary-peeled veneers together under heat and pressure to create them. The panels are then sliced into various widths, and phenol-formaldehyde is used to make waterproof bonds. LVL is suitable for beams, headers, and posts. However, its downside is quite expensive, costing around $75 per 4’x8′ sheet.
6- Engineered Wood Siding
An engineered wood siding is one of the great plywood alternatives if you’re looking for a material that will provide an attractive finish. Also, an engineered wood siding is manufactured by fusing wood strands with resins on a commercial level. The high pressure and heat make the bond very strong and durable for years.
There are many different types of engineered wood sidings, and they come in a variety of colors and finishes. They are more beautiful than plywood, thus having an emerging market that you can invest in!
7- Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)
Did you know that a GRP’s 1/8″ panel is just as strong as a 3/4″ plywood? GRP is another one of the excellent plywood alternatives, as it’s very lightweight and durable. It’s quite famous in Europe and used more in North America for sheathing and decking.
GRP is very affordable and has one positive advantage over plywood. It requires minimum maintenance and has no additional charges after buying. So, it gives us peace of mind that it will last long without any hassle.
8- Hardwood Plywood
Now, one can also think of another great alternative to plywood: hardwood plywood. Due to its unique composition of hardwoods, it costs more than regular plywood.
The hardwood plywood is solid and durable, with a natural look that many people prefer. We can use it for furniture, flooring, paneling, and boat building. It is made with raw materials; hardwood plywood has a higher environmental impact.
9- Marine Plywood
Plywood designed specifically for marine environments is another excellent regular plywood alternative. It is made with waterproof glue and unique treatments that make it resistant to rotting and swelling. It is also more expensive than standard plywood. You can use marine plywood for various purposes such as boatbuilding, cabinetry, and furniture.
10- Flexible plywood
The last plywood alternative is flexible plywood. It is made with a fragile veneer that makes it flexible and perfect for curved surfaces. It is also less expensive than regular plywood, and we can use it for various purposes. Some of the applications include boatbuilding, sign making, and furniture. Many people love this flexible plywood because it is lightweight and easy to use.
But still, with so many qualities, flexible plywood has a major disadvantage over normal plywood. The flexible plywood is very thin, making it less durable and less strong than the actual shuttering plywood. But If you want a material that won’t break and has fantastic endurance to withstand bending and pressures, Flexi-plywood is the best option for you!
Final Thoughts – Plywood Alternatives
Plywood is a versatile material that has many uses. But if you don’t want to or can’t use plywood for some reason, don’t worry; there are plenty of plywood alternatives available. Here is the compiled list of the ten best plywood alternatives you can use for your next project. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to choose the best suits your needs.