Does Plywood Expand or Contract? (Interesting Facts)

Unlike solid wood, plywood doesn’t expand or contract so easily. Plywood is mostly made out of wood, but the structure is different. The thin sheets of wood are stacked crosswise from the direction of the fibers, with layers of glue in between. The glue causes the sheet to become strong and sturdy so no one can break it easily.

Does Plywood Expand or Contract

Will Plywood Expand?

Due to its rigid assembly and cross layering, plywood does not expand or contract. However, it is similar to hardwood, and you can also produce it with the use of veneer.

You can consider plywood as a strong and stiff output, and this property makes it stand out from all other kinds of wood. However, it is highly durable, strong, but lightweight. There are some rigorous uses of plywood in construction, such as plywood vehicle flooring, trailer floors, buses, and railway rolling stock.

In aviation, propellers and aircraft structures have used plywood and are also used in windmills place as structural components. Concrete forming is a very big end-use of plywood and also different kinds of moldings and so on.

One of the major properties of plywood is its high resistibility, strength, and flexibility. All these factors make plywood a top wood in the market, which is ideal for all types of work, such as construction. Cross layering and stacking of sheets is what causes plywood to remain highly stable and rigid.

Does Plywood Have Movement?

No, plywood is less likely to move. This is because plywood is a highly stable and rigid material and is very much recommended in almost all types of construction. It is an excellent choice for uses such as a tabletop. A tabletop made of plywood will hardly move. Therefore, the wooden case or table base will remain stable and tight for a long time.

Does Wet Plywood Expand?                                                

Yes. There are slight chances of wet plywood expanding if not taken proper care of. However, if you expose plywood to moisture for a prolonged period, there are higher chances of plywood swelling and expanding and thus, losing its actual shape.

How to Dry Out Wood?

You might want to dry out your wood before using it for any project. There are two ways of doing this. You can either dry your wood with a kiln, which most people do not have access to. The second option is to air dry it. After cutting your wood and letting it dry, you can trim or break it and then even it from all sides. Next, just clean up the wood.

Then, you can give it a nice coating of sealer to even out the surface and add finishing to it. After stacking the sheets, leave them to dry completely. After it dries fully, you can use it for your project.

This is most common when plywood’s stored outside and when it gets wet due to rain or any other reason. If you fail to bring it inside and let it dry immediately, it can lose its shape and rot. Nevertheless, you can fix things if you’re quick enough. If you need your plywood to return back to its previous state, you should use effective techniques and measures to dry it up quickly. This way, you can easily fix it without any major loss.

Is MDF or Plywood More Stable?

MDF stands for Medium Density Fiber, its essential sawdust glued and compressed together. This is highly stable and has some great uses. One good thing about this is that you can shape it with a router for a clean finish.

It is like a perfect paintable surface. This is great for a variety of projects, whether you’re looking to give it a paint job or want to use it for trim. On its own, MDF comes in brown or light yellow color.

It is an incredibly tight dense structure and works well with machines. It cuts smoothly and is easy to paint over. If you prime it nicely before giving it a paint job, you’ll see that it has a high gloss finish on it. However, it doesn’t like moisture, so you’ll need to take special measures to prevent water or humidity from getting inside.

Because it’s made up of sawdust, it easily sucks up water. Then, it swells and looks terrible. In a nutshell, this stuff is not recommended for use around water. But overall, MDF offers a good, smooth finish and is highly stable. While it doesn’t bend, it warps very easily, and sometimes, contractors use it as a substrate for things like veneers. So, if you are looking for a stable version of hardwood, MDF is a good choice.

Now, if you talk about plywood, you see how it differs from the previous one. Then, you’ll realize that plywood is all real wood. Its thin slices of real wood are glued one upon the other in opposite directions. Each different layer in different directions, and the more layers you get, the more stable the wood is and the better the plywood is.

Sometimes, you have layers that are one, two, three, and four, and sometimes, you get seven, eight, or even twelve or thirteen layers in a sheet of plywood. The more layers, the better the plywood is. Therefore, plywood is all real wood, and it’s made up of actual timber crisscross glued on with various kinds of glues and adhesives.

However, both MDF and Plywood are fantastic products in their functions. Unlike MDF, plywood you can get wet if you need to because it can handle a bit of moisture.


So this was all about plywood and its properties you learned in the above article. One of the major reasons why plywood is so popular and easy to use is its stable and unique properties and how it’s highly cost-effective due to its high use in the construction processes. We hope this article was useful for you and you got all the required information which you were looking for.

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