acx plywood

Plywood is a fantastic material, it’s one of the most versatile materials used in construction. It’s the best choice for many homeowners due to its strong durability and affordability. But there are too many kinds of plywood in the market these days, so choosing the right plywood for a project comes down to a large number of factors: a customer’s budget, the desire to look for the structure, its exposure to weather and moisture and more. Among plywood options, ACX panels are the most common choices. In this article, we will discover ACX plywood and understand how these plywood options differ from another and what they are suited for. Also, we will know why ACX plywood is a high quality, durable wood perfect for construction and cabinetry, and how it is ideal for both indoor and outdoor projects with its smooth finish and water-resistant glue.

What is ACX plywood?

What does ACX mean on plywood? ACX plywood is a high-grade plywood constructed from veneers rather than a specific species of wood. These veneers are layered with each layer’s grain perpendicular to the surrounding layers for added strength. Each layer is bonded with glue that is formulated differently depending on its intended use.


  • Veneers: Made from layered veneers, not a specific wood species.
  • Grain Orientation: Each layer’s grain runs perpendicular to the adjacent layers.
  • Glue: Each layer is sprayed with purpose-specific glue.

Grading Explained

  • A Grade: Refers to the high-quality front face veneer with good grain, meant to be the visible side.
  • C Grade: Indicates the rougher back face veneer, which may have voids or patches and is intended to be non-visible.
  • X: Denotes the use of waterproof adhesive, making the plywood suitable for exterior applications.

The name ‘ACX’ thus describes the quality of the veneers and the type of adhesive used, ensuring both aesthetic appeal and durability.

> Read more: laminate flooring, hardwood flooring, baltic birch plywood, maple plywood, ACX plywood, BBOES plywood

What is ACX plywood?
ACX plywood is a high-grade plywood made not from a species of tree but from veneers

What is ACX plywood used for?

ACX plywood is ideal for outdoor projects like sheds, which need durable floorboards and outside covering. However, it is also generally great for rooms that are frequently exposed to moisture. ACX Douglas Fir Plywood, for example, is often used for projects that require both durability and a professional look, including wall building and flooring — especially because it is often more expensive than other types of plywood. Among the thicknesses Douglas Fir Plywood comes in are ¼-inch, ⅜-inch, ½-inch, ⅝-inch, and ¾-inch.

ACX Radiata Pine Plywood, for instance, is a particularly smooth and virtually defect-free type of plywood that is typically used for structures that need to be laminated for a more high-quality look. This type of plywood is perfect for projects like cabinets and shelving that require sanding or painting.

ACX plywood is not as ideal for other outdoor projects like decks and porches, however. (CCA-treated wood is typically better for these types of structures.) It is also not as effective as Marine-Grade Plywood for building boat hulls and other boat parts.

What is ACX plywood used for?
What is ACX plywood used for?

Is ACX plywood water resistant?

ACX plywood is also extremely weather-resistant. The ‘X’ in ‘ACX’ refers to a waterproof glue that makes this type of wood less prone to damage from adverse weather conditions like rain.

Is acx plywood good for outdoors?

Yes, ACX plywood is excellent for outdoor use. It is ideal for projects like sheds, which require durable floorboards and exterior coverings. Additionally, ACX plywood is well-suited for rooms frequently exposed to moisture, thanks to its high-quality veneer and waterproof adhesive.

Is acx plywood good for outdoors?
Is acx plywood good for outdoors?

What is the difference between CCX and CDX plywood?

The primary differences between CCX and CDX plywood are:

  1. Quality of Veneer:
    • CCX: Features higher quality veneer with fewer voids and defects.
    • CDX: Uses a lower grade of veneer, which may have more visible defects and voids.
  2. Ply Count:
    • CCX: Generally has more plies (layers), with 5-ply or 6-ply options available. This makes it more structurally sound.
    • CDX: Typically has 4-ply construction across all thicknesses, which may make it less structurally robust compared to CCX.
  3. Manufacturing Process:
    • CCX: The manufacturing process results in fewer voids in the core, contributing to its superior structural integrity.
    • CDX: While still strong and functional, the core may have more voids due to its lower-grade veneer.
  4. Application:
    • CCX: Often chosen for applications requiring higher structural integrity and appearance.
    • CDX: Commonly used in construction where the surface appearance is less critical, such as roofing and subflooring.

Overall, CCX plywood is considered a better product due to its higher quality veneer, greater structural soundness, and fewer voids in the core.

Which is better, ACX or BCX plywood?

ACX is superior to BCX in several ways, notably due to its excellent A-side. This A-side provides a smoother and higher-quality finish compared to the B-side of BCX. Additionally, ACX boasts higher durability and is less sensitive to humidity and moisture, which makes it easier to keep clean. Its surface has fewer splits and open knots, reducing the likelihood of getting caught on imperfections. While ACX and BCX plywood are generally similar in quality, these distinctions highlight the advantages of ACX.
> Discover more: furniture grade plywood, plywood underlayment, shuttering plywood, concrete forming plywood

Which is better, ACX or BCX plywood?
Which is better, ACX or BCX plywood?

What is the difference between ACX and CDX plywood?

With an understanding of plywood grading, we can easily distinguish between “CDX” and “ACX.” The “CD” and “AC” labels refer to the quality of veneers on the face and back of the panel. Visually, an AC panel has a smooth face with minimal pin-knots or repairs, while a CD panel is much rougher, with unsanded C and D faces that have large knots and voids.

A common misconception is that the “X” in these grades indicates suitability for exterior use. However, “X” actually refers to the use of an exterior-grade adhesive to bond the veneers. All plywood panels use this type of glue, so “X” doesn’t provide unique information about the panel’s grade. It persists in industry jargon from earlier standards.

There are two bond classifications to remember: Exposure 1 and Exterior. To quickly identify an Exterior panel, look for veneer grades: an Exterior rating requires at least a “C” grade for both the face and back. Thus, CD plywood is classified as Exposure 1, not Exterior.

In summary:

  • AC panels are Exterior rated, ideal for non-structural uses where one smooth side is needed.
  • CD panels are Exposure 1, commonly used for wall and roof sheathing in construction.
  • Exterior panels use at least C-grade veneers on both sides.
  • Exposure 1 panels have veneers that may be below C-grade.

Both Exterior and Exposure 1 panels need to be painted, sealed, or treated to prevent rot and decay, as neither has intrinsic resistance to these issues.

Can acx plywood get wet?

ACX plywood is designed for both indoor and outdoor applications where resistance to weather and water is essential.

Can you use ACX plywood outside?

Yes, ACX plywood can be used outside. It is designed for indoor and outdoor applications where resistance to weather and water is necessary. The layers are glued with high-quality waterproof glue, similar to the glue used in marine plywood.

Is ACX plywood good for cabinets?

Due to its smooth and virtually defect-free, this type of plywood is perfect for projects like cabinets and shelving that require sanding or painting.
> Learn more: types of wood, Types Of Plywood, marine plywood, birch plywood, MDO plywood, HDO plywood

Is ACX plywood good for cabinets?
Is ACX plywood good for cabinets?

Is ACX plywood pressure-treated?

ACX plywood is not typically pressure-treated. ACX refers to a type of plywood that has an A-grade veneer on one side, a C-grade veneer on the other side, and is bonded with an exterior-grade adhesive (hence the “X”). This makes it suitable for exterior use where it will be exposed to moisture but not necessarily direct contact with the ground or conditions that would require pressure treatment.

Pressure treatment involves infusing the wood with chemical preservatives to protect it against rot, decay, and insect infestation, which is necessary for wood that will have prolonged exposure to moisture or be in contact with the ground. ACX plywood, while designed to withstand some moisture, does not inherently have these preservatives unless specifically stated otherwise. If you need plywood that is both exterior grade and pressure-treated, you would need to look for plywood that explicitly states it has been pressure-treated.

Where to buy ACX plywood

Vinawood, is an independently owned and operated wholesale lumber dealer exclusively serving premier lumber retailers throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Based in VietNam, we specialize in fire-retardant and preservative treated lumber and plywood for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Contact the experienced professionals at Vinawood, Virginia to learn more about ACX plywood, including ACX plywood price, sizes, advantages, and uses. Our employees will always strive to locate an item for you if they do not have it in stock, and can furnish direct trailer load shipments or pull orders to the piece for special projects. Curtis Lumber also offers guidance on how to build environmentally safe or ‘green’ structures, whether for home renovations or for simpler projects. We also answer our phones, so be sure to call us today! Whether you are asking a question or requesting a consultation, we will answer you in a timely fashion.
> Explore further: MDF vs Plywood, Particle Board vs Plywood, OSB and Plywood, plywood ceiling

Is ACX plywood sanded?

Yes, ACX plywood is typically sanded. The “A” grade in ACX plywood indicates that one face of the plywood is of high quality, which means it is smooth, free of knots, and defects, and is often sanded to provide a better finish. This makes it suitable for applications where a smooth, aesthetically pleasing surface is important.

The “C” grade on the other side of ACX plywood is of lower quality, which may have some knots and imperfections, and it might not be as finely sanded as the “A” side. However, the overall plywood sheet is made with exterior-grade adhesive (“X”) to ensure it can withstand outdoor conditions.

In summary, the “A” side of ACX plywood is typically sanded to achieve a smooth finish, while the “C” side may not be as smooth.
> Learn more: