Sheet materials have extreme versatility and are they are used in almost every form of the construction process. They come in a variety of types with different properties that will suit some specific purposes more than others.
Which ones the right one for you?
Plywood has been a popular choice for around 200 years now. It is an engineered timber and is created by layering wood veneer one on top of another rotating each layer to cross the grain, increasing the overall strength of the sheet.
Unfortunately, its what gives it strength is also a weakness, the layers that give it its strength also allow for moisture to penetrate and compromise the material.
Plywood has been developed more in recent years to be better suited to some tasks, marine plywood for example as the name suggests has been modified to withstand moisture better meaning it can be used on marine vessels and in situations where some exposure to water is expected.
Veneered Plywood is another example, this has had a decorative veneer layer applied to give it a more appealing look.
Lastly, there is Shuttering Plywood, this has been engineered to be more about function than aesthetics and is denser than the other Plywood’s and is often used if heavy-duty construction projects.
Chipboard or LDF (Low-Density Fibreboard) as it’s also known as multiple advantages regardless of its low cost.
This sheet material consists of compressed fibres and resin which gives it very smooth sides, though the edges will generally be rough and will require a veneer to make them more appealing.
Used mostly in the assembly of furniture and as kitchen worktops due to its effective cost, chipboards downfall is that its not very dense, meaning its susceptible to being damaged in transit and is not suitable for any load-bearing purposes as well as not dealing well with moisture.
Chipboard is a lot more environmentally friendly than other solid wood alternatives and is surprisingly popular for housing speaker systems because of its thermo-acoustic insulation.
MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) is another low-cost sheet material that although great at the loot of things like the others don’t do too well in water.
It is made in basically the same way as chipboard but is formed under more pressure. This makes it denser than plywood and means it does not have any gaps which set it apart from its close cousin chipboard.
Though both share the smooth surface it also shares its vulnerability to moisture.
After LDF and MDF, we get HDF (High-Density Fibre), you might have guessed but this is fundamentally the same as MDF but denser still.
Tough yet absorbent, it is made from compressing pulp that has been exploded and has been steam and heat treated. Hardboard will either consist of two smooth sides or just the one with the other being fuzzy depending on the required use.
As its denser, it will hold its form better meaning it can be cut into thinner sheets but as with all of the above its weakness is moisture, however, this can be overcome to a degree with tempering and wood treatments.
Here we have OSB (Oriented Stand Board), the last entry on the list. This is also called aspenite, flakeboard or sterling board and is formed by compressing layers of wooden strands placed at various angles to provide maximum strength and load-bearing ability.
Down to the way it is manufactured, OSB Board can be made into very large sheets, the process is also more cost-effective than others such as when making plywood and they can be treated to give them increased resista