When it comes to refurbishing home decor, there are a lot of things to consider. From the theme of interior decor to the best base materials for furnishing, right down to the surface finish and laminates, furniture design is a fully-fledged task, and not everyone can be an expert.
While the options for base materials are plenty, there are great options like plywood that can be relied on as an alternative to solid wood. In one of our previous posts titled 'Everything, You Need to Know About Engineered Wood: Particle Board, MDF, HDF and Plywood', we discuss the multiple other options available and how you can make a well-informed decision. In this post, we get into Plywood & Birch Plywood and how to choose between the two.
The word ply is derived from three different languages - French, Latin and Greek. In French, it is derived from the verb plier, which means "to fold", in Latin, it originates in the verb plico, and from ancient Greek, it is derived from the verb πλέκω.
As the name suggests, plywood is made by glueing together multiple plies, or thin layers of wood veneer arranged side by side with the grains of layers arranged at a right angle or a wide-angle.
There are different types of plywoods available in the market today. Right from soft plywood, hard plywood, birch plywood and marine plywood to moisture and boiling water resistant plywoods - the options for plywood are plenty, and that has made it all the harder to choose.
Birch Plywood -
Birch plywood is a fine-grained wood material commonly used in cabinetry, shelving, and constructing drawers, desks, and other fixtures. The reason that birch plywood makes for a great wood substitute is its resistance to bending and warping over time. Because the surface and make of birch ply is so sturdy, it's easier to fasten it together using screws that hold firm due to hollow-free compactness.
When it comes to revamping any space, durability is always a primary feature to look out for, and in this case, birch plywood makes for a highly durable option when it comes to home or office spaces. With cross-banded layers of veneer, birch plywood is built to last and resistant to decay.
What are the other types of plywood?
As we've mentioned in our earlier post, there's plywood, and then there are different types of plywood. Today ply comes as softwood ply, hardwood ply, tropical, decorative, marine, aircraft, and tropical, among several others. Below, we explore the differences between plywood and birch plywood better to understand the use and functionality of both plies.
Plywood vs Birch Plywood - Which one's better?
Aesthetic appeal -
Regular plywood is made using solid timber fragments and a wood veneer with a thickness of at least 3mm, packed together using several layers of veneer. Despite being made using several layers of veneer, plywood comes with a refined solid wood finish, making it hard to distinguish between both.
If you're looking for something that's wood but not entirely wood, plywoods are your best bet. Decorative plywoods even come with a hardwood veneer and come in all wood colour palettes for you to pick and choose from.
In terms of aesthetics, your options for customisation are very similar in both plywood as well as birch plywood. Choose from a wide range of acrylic birch or acrylic glass birch plywoods here.
Utility and application -
Because of its lightweight and highly durable nature, plywood has been used as a go-to material for kitchen furnishings, living room tables, shelves, cupboards and more. Having high durability and similar-to-wood properties, plywood is often used to build construction sites, not just in indoor spaces.
Over the years, plywood has made for an all-around affordable and easier option when compared to solid wood furniture.
Strength and durability -
Plywood has been a trusted substitute for solid wood when it comes to furnishing, namely because its cross-grain texture prevents it from splitting. Unlike solid wood, plywood does not break easily when hammered.
This wood-based substitute can take just as much load, if not more, as regular, solid wood does. The compact and laminated make of birch plywood ensures that weight is distributed evenly, reducing the material's tensile strength. Plywood is one of the best substitutes to wood, mainly for its strength and durability.
Even though regular plywood is made using layers of veneer, birch plywood is much more resistant to wear and tear than regular plywood. A cross-banded veneer finish gives birch plywoods that edge over other plywoods, making them a range of robust, hardwood plies.
Grades of plywood -
Unlike regular plywood, birch plywood is known for having multiple lamination layers and almost no spaces or voids. So if you're looking for something structurally tighter than the aesthetics, birch plywood is a much sturdier and lighter option.
Birch plies also have grades of plywoods based on the type of face veneer that is used. Owing to its consistent nature, mild colouring, durability and blemish-free surface, birch plywoods have become a favourite among plywoods.
In light of the ceaseless cutting down of trees, plywood is a lot more sustainable than solid wood as it is made using multiple thin layers of wood that's glued together using an adhesive. As it is made up of multiple other layers of wood veneers, the finished product is more tensile than wood, prone to splitting, and stronger than any other type of engineered wood.
When combined with the fact that plywood is so easily available, is easily renewable, more affordable than solid wood, and can be replaced quicker than any other material, it makes birch plywood arguably one of the strongest and most environmentally friendly substitutes to solid wood.