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Blockboard Versus Plywood: Pros & Cons Of Each

Blockboard Versus Plywood: Pros & Cons Of Each

You have a to-do list a mile long. The newest addition to your list is a set of shelves to display all the knick-knacks you decided you just had to have while you were secluded during the quarantine. Choosing the type of wood is your first step. You have narrowed it down to the options of using blockboard or plywood, and now you may be wondering what the difference is between the two and how they are used best. 

The difference between blockboard and plywood is the composition of the boards. Typically when building shelves, blockboard will be used because it is less likely to sag when you put weight on it for extended amounts of time. 

If your list of things to do around the house is getting a bit too long and you need some more information on which type of wood to use for your plethora of projects, continue reading this helpful guide on blockboard versus plywood. 

The Composition of Blockboard and Plywood

Chances are you if you are reading this, then you are new to the world of DIY. Most likely, you have been franticly searching the internet for ways to build shelves to store all of the dust collecting trinkets that the love of your life has so thoughtfully ordered. 

Seriously, for the salvation of your sanity and preservation of your bank account, disconnect the Pintrest™ and Prime™ account. If that is not an option, then the following information should give you a better idea of which wood to use for your upcoming projects. 

Blockboard

Blockboard is made by using long thin strips of different types of wood that are glued together and then pressed between two pieces of veneer like a sandwich. Blockboard comes in different types and grades. Blockboard tends to be used for more high-quality projects due to its nice finished exterior. 

Plywood

Plywood is made up of thin sheets of wood that are glued together while being put under a great amount of pressure. As with blockboard, there are multiple types and grades of plywood. The boards’ thickness depends on how many boards are plied together; this is called the grade. 

For example, if the tag says that the wood is three-ply, it means that three pieces of wood were used to create that sheet of plywood. 

Different Uses for Blockboard

Blockboard is a good option for more finished looking projects and for making things that can withstand some weight over time without bowing in the middle. The following list is made up of common uses for blockboard: 

Entertainment centersShelving units
FlooringStorage cabinets
Furniture such as tables, benches, bedsWall shelves
Partition wallsWorktops

Different Uses for Plywood

There is a multitude of uses for plywood. If you have the imagination, creativity, and skill, you can create anything. The following list is made up of things that plywood is commonly used for:

CabinetsGeneral construction projects
Exterior wallsInterior walls
FlooringRoofing
Furniture building

Sizes and Dimensions of Blockboard and Plywood

There are many options when it comes to choosing the size, thickness, and type of wood. As with most things, the better the quality, the higher the price will most likely be. 

Blockboard and plywood are no exception to that rule. The thicker the ply and the larger the sheet size, the higher the price is. 

When purchasing blockboard or plywood from a home improvement store or a lumberyard, it is good to know the sizes that are typically kept in stock. The following are the most common ways you can purchase blockboard and plywood. 

Blockboard

The typical sizes are 12 mm, 15 mm, 19 mm, 25 mm, 30 mm, 35 mm, 40 mm, 45 mm, 50 mm with a thickness range of Rs 90 – Rs 170. Prices will differ greatly, depending on the type of wood used in the core of the blockboard and the wood sheet’s size. 

Plywood 

Common sizes available for purchase are 6 mm, 12 mm, 19 mm, with thicknesses ranging between Rs 30 – Rs 60. For higher quality plywood and marine plywood, the price will go up substantially. These thicker sizes typically are in the thickness range of 19 mm x Rs 40 – Rs 80. 

Fun Fact: Plywood was invented around 1797 by a man named Samuel Bentham

Getting to the Core of the Matter

As briefly mentioned above, quality and price can be affected by the type of wood used to make the blockboard and plywood. The type of softwoods that are commonly used in the making of blockboard and plywood are as follows:

  • Cedar
  • Douglas fir
  • Pine
  • Redwood
  • Spruce

These softwoods often compose the core of the blockboard, while the hardwoods will be the nice finished outside layer. Hardwoods are commonly used in the making of higher quality blockboard and plywood. The following types of wood are typically used for creating a nice looking finish:

  • Cherry
  • Hickory
  • Knotty Cedar
  • Maple 
  • Oak
  • Walnut

Reducing Exposure to Water and Moisture

If you are working on a project where there is a chance that your plywood will be exposed to moisture, there are ways of creating a waterproof barrier to protect your wood, which will keep it looking good for many years and lengthen its lifespan. No wood is totally waterproof, not even marine grade wood. 

If there is moisture in the area, protect your wood by sealing it! 

An example of a product that you can use to protect and seal your wood is Seal Once™ Marine Penetrating Wood Sealer, Waterproofer, and Stain (link to Amazon).

This eco-friendly water sealer will surely get the job done when it comes to protecting your projects that are exposed to moisture. You can use this product around and on fresh or saltwater. 

This sealer will resist the growth of: 

  • Algae 
  • Mildew 
  • Mold 

One gallon costs around $65.00.

A Few Things to Think About When Shopping for Wood

The following list is made up of some things to make it easier to pick the right wood for you: 

  • Bring help with you. You will need someone to help sort the wood and load it on the cart. 
  • Check the condition of each piece of wood. Be sure that it is flat and straight and the edges are not damaged. Also, watch for excessive knots or areas where the veneer overlaps. This can cause issues when cutting later. 
  • Don’t have your blockboard or plywood delivered unless you don’t care about how it looks. Most delivery people will not take the time necessary to pick out the best quality wood for your project. 
  • Know the grading system. This will help you to make faster, more educated decisions when picking out your boards. 
  • The quality of the face side determines how some plywood is graded. The grades range from A – D, with A being the highest quality.
  • Some stores will give a discount for wood that has damaged edges or other imperfections in it. If you can cut the imperfections out of the sheet and still have enough to use for your project, this is a great way to save a few dollars to buy more knick-knacks. 

Project Type Determines Wood Style

To sum things up, blockboard is not better than plywood, and plywood is not better than blockboard. It all depends on the type of project you are planning to do. 

It also depends on what your specific needs and design tastes are. Take your time and carefully assess your project’s requirements to be sure you are picking the right wood for your current project. 

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