Specifying Structural Plywood Grades

Specifying Structural Plywood Grades

Structural plywood face veneer qualities can be specified to suit the appropriate application, for

example, where one face is required to meet a specific requirement and the back will not be visible. This is

typical for plywood flooring which may require a quality C solid face, but in most applications, a quality D

back veneer will suffice. The structural plywood is specified with the required face veneer quality first

followed by the back veneer quality e.g. CD. A guide for selecting suitable grades for various uses is shown

in TABLE 2.1. Availability of the higher face grades should be checked before specifying.


Description and Suggested Uses




Used where the appearance of both faces is important. Boats,

signs, cabinets



For uses similar to AA panels, but where the appearance of one

side is less important



Use where the appearance of only one side is important. Feature

walls, soffits, furniture

A C or D


Uses where high quality paint finish is required both sides.

Hoardings, furniture



Used where a high quality paint finish is required one side and

the appearance of the other side is not important. Hoardings,

internal walls, soffits

B C or D


A utility grade panel with two sanded, solid faces. Flooring,

gussets, containers



A utility grade panel with one solid face. Flooring, containers,

pallets, gussets



A utility grade intended for structural applications where

appearance is not important. Bracing, gussets, webs in beams





TABLE 2.1: Grade Use Guide

Veneer Quality A

Veneer quality A describes a high quality appearance grade veneer

suitable for clear finishing. This appearance grade quality should be

specified as a face veneer for plywood where surface decorative

appearance is a primary consideration in addition to structural

performance and reliability.

Veneer Quality S

Veneer quality S defines an appearance grade veneer which

permits natural characteristics as a decorative feature, subject

to agreement. The type and frequency of the natural characteristics

that are acceptable is to be based on a written specification,

acceptable to both the manufacturer and the purchaser.

Veneer Quality B

Veneer quality B is an appearance grade veneer with limited

permitted amounts of sound inter-grown knots and filled splits

and holes. Plywood with a quality B face is suitable for high quality

paint finishing.

Veneer Quality C

Veneer quality C is defined as a non-appearance grade with a

solid surface. All open defects such as holes or splits are filled.

Plywood with a quality C face is intended specifically for applications

requiring a solid non decorative surface such as in plywood flooring

which is to be covered with carpet or other flooring overlays.

Veneer Quality D

Veneer quality D is defined as a non-appearance grade with

permitted open imperfections. Unfilled holes up to 75 mm wide

are permitted in Veneer Quality D. Plywood manufactured with a

quality D face has the lowest appearance grade of structural

plywood under the Standard. It is designed specifically for

applications where decorative appearance is not a requirement and

structural performance is the prime consideration.


plywood bracing is such an application.

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