Plywood Grades: What They Are and Why They Matter

Posted by Nathan Sangster on Apr 3, 2019, 5:50:38 PM
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If you’re looking for a timber that’s attractive, strong, versatile and durable, it’s hard to go past plywood.

From designer cabinetry, and stunning large-scale interior and exterior features, the beauty and flexibility of plywood make it the timber of choice for residential and commercial projects.

When it comes to choosing the ideal plywood, getting the grading right is critical to ensure the look and feel suits your purpose.

To help you find the plywood that will give your design a flawless finish, read on to learn about the different gradings of plywood and why they matter.


The Different Gradings of Plywood

A Grade B Grade C Grade D Grade


A Grade

If you’re looking for quality plywood to use on a design feature with a clear finish, A grade timber is your best bet.

A grade plywood has the highest quality finish, with no visible defects. This makes it a great choice for decorative surfaces on display in homes, offices, retail outlets, community venues and public spaces.


B Grade

B grade veneer faces also have a high quality finish, however small sound knots may occur. Features using B grade plywood can be painted, stained or lacquered to stunning effect.

B grade is well-suited to situations where the natural look of the wood grain will enhance the design or where the surface area is to be finished with paint.


C Grade

When the veneer quality is C grade, it’s best used for non-decorative surfaces. C grade plywood generally contains knots and defects, and although these have been filled, the appearance is still affected.

Plywood with a C grade veneer face is used when a solid surface is needed on non-visual elements.


D Grade

D grade veneer face is a non-appearance grade plywood which can include knots and defects that have not been filled.

Because the finish can vary significantly, it’s best to limit its use to structural applications where aesthetics are not a concern.

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What about the back?

The back veneer is graded using the same criteria as the face, and the grades can be different from front to back.

For example, an AB graded sheet would have an A grade face and a B grade back, a CD refers to plywood with a C grade front and D grade back, and so on.

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The right grade matters

When selecting the perfect plywood to use on your design, there are some important considerations.

From the type of timber, to the colour and style, it all contributes to the success of your project.

For the best results, using quality plywood of the highest grade on features where appearance matters is a must.


At Maxiply, we grade all our plywood by hand, and pride ourselves on the highest quality A and B graded timber.

This means you can be confident that all ply sourced from us will be of the highest quality every time, and your finished design will turn heads for all the right reasons.

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Want to know more? Our Team can help.

Where others would see problems, we only see opportunities. If you have a question about the best plywood for your unique project, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch with our team on 1300 761 741 or email for samples.

Topics: Architectural Plywood