Softwood Plywood

Softwood comes from different species of evergreen conifers such as fir, spruce, fine etc. Plywood manufactured from softwood is a building material utilised in various residential and commercial constructions. Let’s plunge in and understand more about softwood plywood, what is made of, and its uses.

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What is Softwood Plywood?

As the name suggests, softwood plywood is plywood which consists of face and back veneer made of softwood. Softwood plywood sheets’ core is made of softwood which is then backed and faced using a veneer of softwood. They are commonly utilised for structural applications.

How is Softwood Plywood made?

The main trees that are used for making softwood plywood include Douglas fir, cedar, pine, fir or redwood. The product is made from thin layers of wood veneer that are glued together. The wood grain of the adjacent layers is rotated up to 90 degrees to each other. Typically, softwood plywood is engineered wood.

Common Uses of Softwood Plywood Sheets

Soft plywood sheets have a myriad of applications. Some of the common applications include:

Exterior Home Sheathing.

Most wall constructions are comprised of a 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 frame with exterior grade sheathing. This kind of wall construction creates a structural sheet that holds the wall well against strong winds and during earthquakes.

Plywood softwood sheets fastened to the top, bottom and stud plates of the frame makes it more robust and resist horizontal, diagonal and vertical shifting.

Home Flooring and Roofing

Plywood panels used on floors are made with tongue and groove edges to fit snuggly into each other. However, those used on the roof doesn’t need tongue and groove edges since they don’t carry a lot of weight on the roof.

Other Construction

Apart from home flooring and roofing, softwood plywood sheets have other applications. Soffits and eaves are covered with softwood plywood. Some softwood plywood is explicitly made to be used as a siding product; a good example is T-111 siding (a grooved siding material manufactured to look like a reverse board). Plywood is also utilised by builders to build concrete forms and temporary flooring, and detached sheds and garages.

General Projects

Apart from the typical home constructions, softwood plywood is also used in a myriad of other projects from doghouses to skateboard ramps. In the workshop, it is utilised in building general-purpose shelving and sawhorses.

Benefits of Softwood Plywood

The primary reasons why you ought to consider using softwood plywood in your project include the following;

  • Workability- softwood is effortless to work with and can be utilised across a wide range of home and general applications.
  • Sustainability- compared to trees used to make hardwood plywood, softwood trees grow much faster and therefore considered a renewable source.
  • Cost-effective- softwood timber used in manufacturing softwood plywood is easy to obtain and therefore cheaper.

However, softwood plywood has some drawbacks;

  • Density– It has a low density which implies it is weak and doesn’t last for long. Luckily we have ‘hard’ softwood options that are strong and durable such as Yew and juniper.
  • Longevity– Since it is weak, softwood cannot be used in high traffic areas.
  • Fire resistance- softwoods don’t offer high resistance to fire. However, they can be treated to improve their fire resistance score.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why you should choose soft plywood sheets. It all melts down to the nature of the project you are handling.

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