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7 Plywood Alternatives

A collage of different types of plywood alternative.

Plywood is an engineered wood that’s made by gluing together thin layers of wood veneers. It’s economical, durable, and can be used in a variety of ways, including flooring, paneling, and furniture-making.

While plywood has been a top choice among homeowners for furnishing home interiors, a variety of alternatives have sprung up offering a cheaper price, better appearance, etc. Check them out below.

Related: 18 Different Types of Lumber | The History of Plywood

1. MDF

MDF (medium density fibreboard)

This is a very economical choice that makes it fit well within the budget of many buyers. Whether you need MDF for a project or if you are buying furniture made of MDF, it is going to be a lot less expensive. You can easily paint MDF a lot of different colors without having to worry about how well the colors are going to take. This means that you can update your piece as you change your mind about its appearance.

MDF does not contract and expand as the humidity and temperature changes, which means that it is very reliable and durable. Because it uses recycled wood, MDF is a great environmentally-friendly option. Termites will not be able to eat MDF. There are chemicals that are used during the creation of this product that will make it poisonous to these pests.

You can attach veneer to MDF without a lot of difficulties, which will give the appearance of real wood. It is very easy to shape MDF, which will allow you to complete very elaborate designs when working with this material. There aren’t any knots in MDF, which means that you won’t have to worry about surface blemishes or how difficult it will be to attach components of this product to each other.

2. Particle Board

Particle board

This is one of the most cost-effective options available on the market, and it is generally even less expensive than MDF. If you are going to be working on your own, then you will love how light this product is, as it makes it much easier for you to handle by yourself.

Particle board is light enough to be used in construction without large-scale projects becoming overly heavy. Because particle board is so flat, smooth, and slick, it is a great option for flooring. You can easily glue hardwood, tile, or linoleum to the surface. It is easy to buy particle board in a variety of thicknesses, which means that you can quickly choose the right option for your project.

There are a number of particle board densities on the market, allowing you to choose ones with large particles for constructing projects that will be covered with stucco, or smaller particles that will have finer details. Made from scraps of other lumber, particle board is similar to MDF in that it is very environmentally friendly and does not produce waste. Formaldehyde isn’t used in the production of particle board.

3. Solid Wood

Solid wood

This is an incredibly sturdy and strong material to work with, which ensures that your final product will likely last for a very long time, without being damaged or needing serious repair. You can choose from a wide variety of wood to make sure that your final piece looks the way that you want it to.

The color of the wood and the wood grain itself are both things to consider when shopping for solid wood. Many people think that solid wood is one of the most beautiful materials that can be used in any type of construction.

Solid wood furniture and construction tends to hold its value a lot better than other items that are made with man-made materials. There is a wide variety of different types of wood to choose from. If you can’t afford the type that you are considering, then it is easy to find another option that may be in your price range.

4. Reinforced Polyurethane Foam Boards

This rigid foam offers very high insulation values with this product, which make it ideal to use in construction instead of plywood. This is a very lightweight material that is easy for one person to use and manage on their own, without any problems. The boards of reinforced polyurethane foam are incredibly strong. This is due to the fiberglass reinforcement that runs through the boards and makes them stronger than other options.

Unlike other building materials, these boards are waterproof, so you never have to worry about them warping or buckling when they have been installed or used in construction. They are perfect for both semi-structural and structural applications. Because they are not affected by water, there isn’t any risk of these boards rotting. Reinforced polyurethane foam boards weigh a lot less than plywood and are available in a number of densities.

5. OSB

OSB (Oriented strand board)

This engineered product may be similar to plywood in some ways, but it is much less expensive. Due to the way that OSB is made, it is generally much more uniform in construction, which gives it a clear advantage over other options. OSB can be used in many applications and is commonly used in roofing, walls, and flooring.

Because it is produced in very large mats and then cut down to size, OSB is generally very consistent in its quality. You can buy OSB in a number of different sizes, thicknesses, panel strengths, and rigidity. This allows you to choose the perfect product for your needs, without having to sacrifice quality.

OSB is water resistant, making it ideal for use in areas that are damp or areas that experience higher humidity levels, as it is less prone to warping or rotting than other products are. Because you can buy OSB in such large sheets, you can reach from the floor of your home to the ceiling with just one sheet, eliminating any horizontal seams that may weaken your project.

Because OSB is so inexpensive, it’s a great option if you want to create an experimental project, but don’t want to overspend. This material is much more structurally sound and consistent than plywood is.

6. EKOply

EKOplyClick for price

EKOply is considered as the environmentally friendly alternative to timber and plastic ply sheet materials. Devised to be sturdier and more durable than traditional plywood sheets EKOply is manufactured from 100% recycled materials helping reduce its environmental footprint while being 100% resistant to natural rot and corrosion – unlike traditional timber sheet.

It features a graffiti and chemical resistant exterior making it perfect for use in commercial environments like youth centers, gyms, and municipal undertakings. With minimal to no maintenance costs EKOply is the most recent version of its predecessor eco sheet. 

7. HDF

Hardboard, also known as high-density fibreboard

Hardboard, also called high-density fiberboard (HDF), is a type of fiberboard, which is an engineered wood product. It is similar to particle board and medium-density fiberboard, but is denser and much stronger and harder because it is made out of exploded wood fibers that have been highly compressed.

Hardboard has long been used in furniture, but it is also popular for use in the construction industry and with trades as a temporary floor protector. Hardboard has become less popular over recent years due to new environmental targets in the construction industry[6] to procure more sustainable temporary protection materials.