Feb 24, 2022

Wood being the most versatile material in the building industry has won many hearts when it comes to the stage of making furniture or even during building construction.  Talking about wood, there are multiple options to choose from the market as there are a lot of wooden products like plywood, particleboard, blockboard, MDF, etc.  Among these, plywood has been ruling the industry with its sophisticated appearance and great endurance for many decades. It is one of the most common building materials and a demanded one to be used in almost every interior spacemaking and furniture.

In today’s sustainable world, let’s see how well plywood has performed the trend. Plywood is a wooden  panel of stacked thin layers of wooden veneers compacted together with the use of adhesive. Depending on the mother wood of the veneers, the quality of the ply gets decided and this defines its usage and application. Plywood is available in the form of a sheet which is generally coated with strokes of varnishes or laminates.

What do you need to know?

There are gradations of plywood in terms of its water resistant capacity.

  • BWP: Boiling Waterproof plywood has the highest resistance to water and it can withstand prolonged exposure to water , under the regulation of IS 710 grade standard.
  • BWR: Boiling Water Resistant plywood is regulated by IS 303 grade. It is considered to be better resistant to water due to the application of phenolic resins.
  • MR, moisture resistant, confirms its limited resistance to  moisture only.

This stratification helps one in deciding the area of usage of plywood. For example, waterproof and water resistant will be suitable for spaces where there is higher chances of water exposure, i.e, washroom and kitchen while moisture resistant is ideal for spaces with very less exposure to water.


Boiling water proof plywood is the most expensive one among the three for its superior water proof quality. It is manufactured with uniform thickness resulting in maximum strength. The shape retention property of the ply ensures higher load bearing capacity. The Indian standard specification for quality assurance of BWP grade plywood is IS: 710 which is a quality assurance parameter for the same.


Boiling water resistant ply is a good choice for areas prone to water spillages and high moisture, kitchen counters. Besides, it finds its place in semi outdoor spaces. As BWR is superior to MR ply, it warrants its slight premium on price. The Indian standard specification for BWR grade plywood is IS:303, which determines the standard value of all the properties such as, strength, porosity, sound attenuation, water absorption capacity for BWR grade plywood.


Moisture resistant plywood could withstand exposure to moisture but not exposure to water. They are commonly referred to as commercial ply since they are widely available and economical. It is not suggested for outdoor application and places where there is a higher chance of water exposure. The Indian standard which regulates the specification for this grade plywood is IS:303.


The most common plywood sheet size is 2449 x 1219 mm (8’x4’).  Other sizes (7’X4’ 6’X4’ 8’X3’ 7’X3’ 6’X3’) are also available with various of thicknesses (4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 15mm, 16mm, 18mm, 19mm, 24mm, 25mm, 26mm)

Buying of plywood includes a number of considerations catering to a number of specifications such as:

  • ISI Mark: The ISI mark is a standards-compliance mark for industrial products in India. The mark certifies that a product conforms to an Indian standard (IS).
  • Plywood Grade: Plywood grade is always mentioned on the plank which needs to be checked because different grades possess different properties.
  • CM/L Number: License number is given along with the Standard Mark. This helps in identifying the unit which has manufactured the product at a specific location.
  • Batch No. : A batch number is a powerful tool that can help in tracking down goods that are about to expire or need to be recalled.
  • Thickness of Plywood: Thicknesses need to be checked while purchasing plywood as variations of the thickness are suitable for and particular to different applications. For example, 12mm plywood can not be substituted with 20mm plywood for an application like partitions, paneling where the strength is not the deciding concern.


Some easy manual testing can be conducted in order to check the quality of the plywood.

  1. The four edges of the ply can be measured to understand if any variation in thickness is present.
  2. Any undulation can be confirmed by moving your hand slowly over the flat surface of the plywood.
  3. ISI mark is a must in verifying the quality of plywood. IS:303 and IS:710 mark are Indian Standard guidelines number, which is given after the plywood and assure the quality.


Plywood has been the epitome of the construction industry. It provides elegance  where it is being applied and sustains its longevity upto 10-12 years. In terms of strength, durability and weather resistance properties plywood is a go-to material at any point of time.

Ranjinee Mallick

The pen is mightier than the sword. I take this very personal. I read more books, articles and write more than designing spaces. Got all the passion to keep up the zeal till I’m able to hold the pen!!