Plywood grades & selection: What’s right for your home?

Plywood is widely used in making furniture because it is a versatile material, has a great finish and gives a polished look and appearance to your furniture. Besides, choosing plywood over normal solid wood comes with much more flexibility and at a lower cost.

Advantages of Plywood over Solid wood

Plywood is highly water-resistant, which is why it is used to make outdoor and kitchen fittings.

  • It is cheaper than solid and pure wood furniture as well.
  • It is easier to modify and change the design on plywood.
  • Unlike normal wooden furniture, plywood doesn’t warp off and stays in its original shape or design.

The quality of construction of the furniture depends on the quality of plywood. Plywood is available in different grades and varieties in the market, and each plywood grade is used to manufacture a different kind of furniture. The strength of each grade is dependent on the layers of the wood strip placed to form the plywood. Generally, many varieties of wood including oak, pine, spruce, maple, fir, etc. are used in the making of plywood.

BWP and BWR are two different grades used for waterproof plywood.

Many dealers and retailers often used these two terms interchangeably to confuse buyers. Let me clear this confusion for all buyers and especially Home owners who are the victims most of the times.
Firstly let me explain what these terms stand for, BWR denotes boiling water resistant grade plywood. While BWP stands for boiling water proof grade plywood. Well technically there’s very small difference with regards to technology and treatment used to manufacture each of these plywood. The glue used to manufacture each of these is synthetic plastic resin i.e. phenol formaldehyde which is said to be better than urea formaldehyde resin used to make MR grade commercial plywood.

To simplify, BWP and BWR are plywood standards. These standards are set by government. For factories manufacturing plywood, they need to meet assured quality, tests. Also the process of manufacturing too is customary. And therefore you have set standards for each BWP and BWR grade plywood.

BWR plywood can also be made in Garjan wood, which is an imported wood. You also have BWR grade plywood made from poplar Indian species wood.

In Plywood Industry, BWR grading is used to grade plywood while BWP grade is used to mark block-boards or ply-boards.

BWR Grade Plywood: All you need to know

BWR plywood or boiling water-resistant plywood, as the name suggests, is highly water-resistant plywood. It is completely waterproof and is widely used to make furniture for home, office as well as outdoors. BWR plywood is made from phenolic resins.

The important features of BWR plywood are listed below.

  • As an exterior plywood grade, BWR plywood can be used indoors, outdoors and semi-outdoor purposes with humid conditions.
  • BWR plywood’s waterproofing characteristics come from A grade phenolic resins or phenol formaldehyde adhesive used in its manufacturing.
  • It can resist water better than the Interior grade MR or moisture-resistant plywood. So, it is generally used for meeting those furniture requirements in the home, where the plywood may be exposed to water, such as kitchen cabinets and kitchen furniture.
  • BWR plywood is warp free and has super strong bonding and zero surface core gaps.
  • The core layer is treated with various toxicant chemicals using VPI technology that makes BWR a termite proof plywood.
  • The Indian Standards specification number for BWR plywood is IS:303.

BWP Plywood: All you need to know

BWP stands for weather and boil proof. BWP Plywood is considered to be an exterior grade or marine grade. Using BWP glue for the plywood ensures that the panel can be exposed to humidity or moisture for a long time without delamination. Plywood is quite durable as it is made of three or more thin sheets of wood called veneers that are glued together. Each layer of wood is laid with the grain running at right angles to the next layer.

To test the durability of BWP plywood, you can take a few samples of the plywood and put it in boiling water. If the samples do not delaminate for a long period, we can conclude that the plywood has BWP property. The glues used in BWP plywood are melamine glue and phenolic glue. BWP plywood made with ordinary melamine can resist delamination in boiling water for four to eight hours. However, if better melamine is used, the plywood can withstand boiling water for around ten to twenty hours.

Phenolic glue is the best one to use in BWP plywood as they can go on without delamination for 24 to 72 hours in boiling water. Therefore, they are sometimes regarded as permanent adhesives. In addition to the quality of WBP glue, the water boiled proof period of plywood also depends on the craftsmanship of production.

The important features of the plywood can be summed up as follows.

  • BWP plywood is specially treated so that it could withstand a high-moisture environment.
  • Through specific stress-relieving treatment, the plywood gets its anti-warp properties, which makes it dimensionally stable in both dry and wet conditions throughout its life.
  • It is chemically treated with selected preservatives to seal it off from termites and pests.
  • Its high resistance to boiling water, moisture, dry heat and rough weather and climatic conditions, makes it perfect to be used in boat and ship building.

Raw Material Used for making Plywood

Many enquire for the raw material used to manufacture plywood. But truly that doesn’t really make much of a difference. Also May home owners enquire for BWP as marine ply or waterproof ply. Well waterproof ply can be made from Garjan wood and other popular Indian species wood too. Which material is used for making plywood is a different in-depth topic altogether. Let’s not get into those details for now.
Here we are talking about BWR and BWP and these have set standards. For e.g for BWP plywood, has to pass 72 hour boiling water test. The glue used, pressing technique and pressure used for BWP is different then for a BWR plywood.

How Homeowners Are Misguided?

With technology and science there are various types of plywood easily available in market today. Home owners often get confused which is the best to buy to make a product.Home owners are often confused between BWR and BWP waterproof plywood.

As I said earlier technically BWR grade is used for grade waterproof plywood and BWP is sued to grade waterproof block-boards. But BWR is a lower grade than BWP. Many dealers and retailers handover BWR grade plywood as BWP grade, especially to those who fail to distinguish between two types of plywood. What happens is home owners end up buying a lower quality plywood then required.

I therefore suggest every home owner to always look for the mark “BWR” and “ BWP” on plywood before buying it. Branded plywood will always have the grade of plywood mentioned on it. If the board is marked as BWR, it mean it is waterproof exterior grade plywood and if its BWP grade, it is an exterior grade waterproof blockboard.

Well Costwise too, there’s 10% to 20% difference. BWP is costlier than BWR wood. BWP plywood price is generally a notch higher than BWR plywood price.

BWP grade plywood is widely used to make furniture where water contact is expected. For home interiors BWP is the most preferred plywood.

Entrust a Professional

Usually, unless you understand and can differentiate between the different kinds of Plywood grades, it becomes impossible to source the best quality plywood for your home. We at Contractorbhai make the decision easy for you by providing access to top quality plywood vendors from our vetted and verified list. We also provide the service bundled with our Interior Design services.

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