Which Plywood is Strongest: All You Wanted To Know About Plywood

Buying plywood can be confusing. If you are wondering which plywood is strongest for your next project, read on to learn all about the various types of plywoods with their pros and cons.

Are you looking for the strongest plywood for your next woodworking project? When you go to a store, you may get confused as there are many different types of plywood sheets available, making it hard to decide which plywood is strongest for your project? 

As we know, plywood is a necessity for every wooden piece of furniture, from building a cabinet room next to your bedroom to constructing a gazebo in the backyard. But before you select one, you must know not every plywood is suitable for every project. 

Which Plywood is Strongest

Different types of plywoods vary in terms of material, layers, and grades. In this review, we are providing you an ultimate guide on plywoods, with their ratings and grading system.  

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Which is the strongest plywood? 

Whether you want to make a wooden flooring or an outdoor structure, you would require durable plywood. But if you think you should pick up the strongest plywood in the market, you would be wrong. Read on to know more intricate details about plywood.

Types of Ply

There are many types of ply, and your selection will depend on what you want to use it. Let us understand which kind of ply suits which application.


It is the most common type of plywood that has three layers of wood. 3-Ply is firm due to its three layers. It is about 2 to 3 millimeters thick and a solid and durable option. 

Which Plywood is Strongest

Where is it used?

  • You can use 3 Ply plywood for indoor uses. 
  • It is best used for cabinets, shelving, and more. 
  • Three-ply plywood can be a decorative option. 

Where should it not be used?

  • The three layers do not make it an ideal option for outdoor construction. 


5 Ply Plywood has five layers of wood about 4 millimeters thick. Although you can use it for outdoor surfaces, it is not viable for permanent structures like a shed or a home. 

Where is it used?

  • You can use five-ply plywood for both indoors and outdoors. 
  • It is a thick and more potent option for construction projects. 

Where should it not be used?

  • Not a suitable option for roofing. 


Multi-Ply is the most robust plywood that has seven or more layers of ply. It is solid and durable plywood that you can use for various structural projects. So, the answer to the question: “which plywood is the strongest?” is multi-ply. 

Which Plywood is Strongest

However, that doesn’t mean that it is the right answer for every application. Ideally, multi-ply is too hard to be used in indoor projects.

Where is it used?

  • An ideal choice for framing and roofing and other external uses. 
  • Made up of more than seven layers of wood, that makes a durable and robust option. 
  • Frame made up of multi-ply can withstand wind and water damage. 

Where should it not be used?

  • You can only use it for exterior purposes. 

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Common Types Of Plywood 

Now, if you thought that you had got the answer to your question from the section above, then you are mistaken, my friend! To use plywood, you must know the difference between various types of plywoods to put it to use. 

# Sanded Plywood 

Sanded plywood needs a sanding process at the time of manufacturing to make it smooth and even. Both face and back are sanded. They are used for internal use and where the wood will be seen. 

Which Plywood is Strongest


  • It has a finish-quality appearance due to its smooth and even sanding process. 
  • Due to its multi-ply, it is best used for structural projects. 
  • You can use the sanded plywood for cabinets, shelves, and paneling, as it is majorly used for places where it can be seen. 
  • With A high strength to weight ratio, it is the most robust plywood. 


  • Sanding is required, which is a time-consuming process. 

# Hardwood Plywood 

This type of plywood is well made of hardwood extracted from oak trees, maple trees, walnut trees, and birch wood. Technically, there is a maximum of seven layers of plies in hardwood plywood. When a manufacturer uses hardwood, they glue every layer at the perfect angle to give it an excellent and even finish. 


  • Due to seven layers of wood, it is amongst the most robust plywood. 
  • It is a perfect choice for furniture and musical instruments. 
  • For any other structures that require a solid and durable frame, use hardwood plywood. 
  • It is heavier than any other type of plywood. 


  • Not an ideal choice for roofing or sheds 

# Structural Plywood

Structural plywood is also known as sheathing plywood. While you are looking for an affordable option for constructing any permanent structure with plywood, structural plywood is a wise decision. Its low cost makes it a popular choice for flooring or framing. 

Which Plywood is Strongest


  • You can use structural plywood for the interiors or exteriors of a building. 
  • This plywood is made up of hardwood. 
  • While you want to use it for flooring or paneling, it serves as an affordable and excellent option. 


  • It is not weather-resistant plywood. 
  • If you are looking for an excellent plywood appearance, then structural plywood is not the option. 

# Softwood Plywood 

Softwood plywood is pine, redwood, and cedarwood combined. As the name says, it is not as strong as other plywoods, but still, many constructors use this for subflooring and roof sheathing. 


  • While you plan to make a dog house or temporary flooring, softwood is a good option. 
  • Many constructors use softwood for exterior purposes. 


  • It is only suitable for temporary construction. 

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Gradings Of Plywood 

When you know the different types of plywood, you must also know their strengths in terms of grades. Plywood gradings are alphabetical ratings ranging from A to D. 

The alphabets depict the quality of the front and back of the panel. The first letter will tell you the quality of the front face, and the last letter explains the quality of the rear of the plywood. 

Which Plywood is Strongest

For example, if you get plywood with AB grading, it shows the A grade is for the front face, and the B grade is for the back face quality of the panel. You will usually see two letters for one plywood. Let us understand what grades depicts: 

A Grade 

The highest quality of plywood comes with an A grade. It is considered the top quality, and there are no tiny knots or defects in A-grade plywood. Usually, all exterior panels use the highest-grade plywoods. 

B Grade 

The second highest quality of plywood is B grade. You will find minor knots or defects on B-grade plywood. Even B-grade plywoods are also best used for outdoor surfaces. 

C Grade 

The economical option of plywood is the one that has a C grade. When we talk about the quality of C-grade plywood, it is somehow on the lower side. But due to its low cost, it is used by many manufacturers for internal uses like cabinets, paneling, and more. 

D Grade 

The lowest quality plywood has a D grade; it is cheap and readily available plywood. You will find many knots, defects, and other imperfections in D-grade plywoods. 

Which Plywood is Strongest

Other Grades 

Sometimes, you may come across other Plywood grades, like ACX or CDX; the additional X at the end of grades depicts that the plywood is perfect for external uses. X means it meets the requirements of external purposes. So don’t get confused when you get X-grade plywood sheets. 

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Answers To Common Questions Regarding Plywood

# Which plywood is strongest, CDX or OSB?

Before we get into the differences between CDX and OSB, you must know CDX is plywood manufactured by fixing many sheets together, and it depicts C and D grades with X as an exposure. At the same time, OSB is an Oriented Strand board, a cheaper version of CDX, made up of wood chips and resins to make plywood like CDX. So clearly, CDX is stronger than OSB. 

# Which plywood is strongest for tile underlayment? 

For tile underlayment, it is essential to get water-resistant plywood. So hardwood plywood with A or B grade is recommended. OSB is also suitable for tiles underlayment. 

Which Plywood is Strongest

# Which plywood is the strongest? 

While you wonder which plywood is most robust? It depends on your usage. If you are looking for permanent outdoor structures, then go for hardwood or structural plywood. Whereas for temporary installations, softwood is advisable. 

# What is the difference between CDX and ACX plywood?

The significant difference between CDX and ACX is their quality ratios. ACX is made up of a high-quality front face, whereas CDX is inexpensive and has low-quality plywood. So if you want a smooth finish of your construction, go for ACX instead of CDX. 

# What’s stronger plywood or OSB?

Plywood is more substantial than OSB, as plywood comprises different layers of veneers, whereas OSB is made up of wood chips and resins to give the same look like plywood. 

# Which is stronger, birch or oak plywood?

Both birch and Oak are hardwood, but the stronger one is birch plywood. It is used mainly for exterior purposes and cabinets or paneling. 

# Which direction is plywood stronger?

When we talk about the stronger direction of plywood, the front face is considered stronger as it has the highest quality layer. 

Which Plywood is Strongest

# How big is a sheet of plywood?

The standard size of the plywood sheet is 4 X 8 that covers the 32 square feet area. 

Any Other Questions About Plywood?

I hope the above guide has given every detail about different plywoods and has solved your question about which plywood is strongest. To conclude, we recommended using hardwood plywood for external structures as they are the strongest plywood sheets.