February 21, 2023
Consider the weight of the Plywood to avoid serious issues later if you’re structural support or frame is incapable of holding the weight of the Plywood. Thus, before you even plan to use Plywood in your project, ensure that you factor in the weight of the Plywood to avoid any issue or problem related to its weight.
Planning your woodworking projects ahead of time can help you succeed in your projects even before you commence building them. The reason is that the more perfect your plan, the higher the chance you can create a quality project. However, during the planning process, one factor you should consider when selecting wood is the weight of the wood material. For example, if you opt for Plywood in your project, you should factor in the weight of the Plywood. Remember that the heavier the Plywood you use, the stronger your structural support should be.
Different Weights of Plywood Sheets
Plywood comes in various dimensions. Thus, you can buy 4’x8′ plywood sheets heavier than other 4’x8′ plywood sheets. The reason is that 4’x8′ comes in multiple thicknesses of ¾”, ½”, ¼”, 1/8″, and 1-1/8″. Below is a short description of the weights of 4’x8′ plywood sheets with different thicknesses:
1) ¾”-thick Plywood
The typical plywood thickness in the market is ¾” thick. You can use this variety of Plywood for many applications, including structural usage ranging from subflooring to finished furniture. The standard ¾”-thick 4’x8′ plywood sheets may weigh approximately sixty pounds.
2) ½”-thick Plywood
Another type of 4’x8′ plywood sheet is the ½”-thick Plywood. It is thinner than the ¾”-thick Plywood. Thus, it doesn’t carry similar strength and structural integrity compared to the abovementioned ¾”-thick 4’x8′ plywood sheet. Nevertheless, the ½”-thick plywood sheet gets used for applications that don’t necessitate supporting weighty loads. Thus, you can use this to close up any broken window or replace a decayed soffit. You can also use this for some furniture. The typical ½”-thick Plywood may weigh approximately 40 pounds.
3) ¼”-thick Plywood
The ¼”-thick Plywood might bend with ease under load. Thus, it is best for applications that don’t require supporting a load. You can use this Plywood for backing for cabinets or shelving. You can also use it for small projects. The typical ¼”-thick Plywood may weigh around 22 pounds.
4) 1/8″-thick Plywood
The 1/8″-thick Plywood is susceptible to bending and can break easily. You can’t use this Plywood to support anything. But if you want a smooth surface for painting or staining, this Plywood is perfect. A typical 1/8″ Plywood may weigh approximately 15 pounds.
5) 1-1/8″-thick Plywood
The 1-1/8″-thick plywood is heavy. It is often used for subflooring and features a tongue and groove end for ship-lapping. Thus, you can quickly secure this Plywood together as floor panels. Since it is thick, it can weigh around 85 pounds.
Factors that May Affect Plywood Weight
Several factors may increase or decrease the Plywood’s weight. These factors include the plywood dimensions, the wood species used to make the plies, the density of the Plywood, and many other factors. Of course, these factors contribute to the overall weight of the Plywood. Below is a short discussion of these factors:
The Plywood’s size can give you a rough estimate of the weight of the Plywood. Most plywood sheets, of course, have a 4’x8′ standard size. Yet, you can also purchase Plywood in a quarter or half sheets. It is easy to calculate the full sheet’s total weight.
Yet, with irregularly shaped sheets, you must go the extra mile to calculate their overall weights. Calculate by square foot based on the Plywood’s thickness. Using the weight per square foot, you can quickly get the total weight of the Plywood.
If you have a 1/2″-thick 4’x8′ plywood, for example, and want to calculate its total weight, you can multiply four by eight to come up with 32 square feet.
A typical ½”-thick 4’x8′ Plywood is 40 pounds, meaning you need to divide 40 by 32 to come up with the weight of one square foot ½”-thick Plywood. The result is 1.05 lbs per square foot. If you have five square feet of a ½”-thick plywood, five square feet will weigh around 5.36 lbs.
As mentioned above, you also need to factor in the Plywood’s thickness to get the plywood sheets’ overall weight. Remember that the thicker the Plywood, the more material it has and the weightier it is. Since Plywood consists of plies, the more plies it has, the thicker and heavier.
Thus, if you have a 4’x8′ plywood that is ½” thick, you can expect it to be 40 pounds in weight. Therefore, if you have 12 square feet of ½”-thick Plywood, you can get the total weight of this Plywood by getting the weight of one square foot of Plywood multiplied by 12. Then, 12 square feet multiplied by 1.05 per square foot equals 12.6 lbs.
Nevertheless, you also need to factor in the material in which the Plywood gets wrought. If it gets wrought in softwood, then it is light. But if it is made of hardwood, then it is heavier.
Material: Hardwood or Softwood
Another factor to consider when figuring out the weight of Plywood is its material. Softwood gets commonly used for making Plywood. Thus, the Plywood should be made of softwood for most structural usage, like sub-flooring and sheathing. Hardwood plywood, however, is often used for applications like furniture and other finishing carpentry products.
Softwoods are less dense than hardwoods. Examples of softwoods include Spruce and Pine, which are less dense than their hardwood counterparts. Thus, they are lighter and weigh less than ten percent of hardwood plywood.
On the other hand, hardwood plywood weighs significantly higher than softwood plywood. Besides, the type of hardwood used in the Plywood impacts the weight of the Plywood.
Remember, hardwoods vary in density. As such, the type of hardwood used in the Plywood also impacts the overall weight of the Plywood.
However, hardwood plywood utilizes more softwood fillers, making the Plywood lighter. The lighter the type of fillers of the hardwood plywood, the lighter the Plywood becomes.
Treated and Untreated Plywood
Plywood can be treated or untreated. Pressure-treated Plywood, for example, is more often used for outdoor applications. The pressure-treated Plywood is imbued with chemical preservatives and additives to make it more resistant to decay and insect attacks. Thus, the chemical preservatives add extra weight to the overall weight of the wood.
Besides, most pressure-treated Plywood gets wrought in Yellow Pine which is heavier than other softwood types. Thus, you will discover that pressure-treated Plywood is heavier than standard Plywood by almost 50 percent, even if they have the exact dimensions.
Hardwoods and softwoods, used for making Plywood, vary in density. Thus, they also differ in weight because of the variations in the density of each wood type. Remember that two plywood sheets may have similar mass, but their density can differ because of the wood species used to make them.
Poplar and Oak, for example, are often used for making Plywood. Poplar weighs around 35lbs/ft² while Oak weighs around 45lbs/ft². Thus, despite having similar masses, they may have different weights.
Thus, when selecting Plywood, it will also help if you figure out the wood type used for making the Plywood beforehand. The wood density used to make Plywood may also impact the overall weight.
Glue or Adhesive Used for Bonding the Plywood
Standard Plywood usually uses glue different from the glue used to make marine Plywood. Because marine Plywood uses stronger adhesives, it can resist water well. Yet, because these glues are more robust, they are also denser. Thus, they add weight to the overall weight of the Plywood. Hence, you will often find marine Plywood heavier than standard Plywood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from knowing the factors that impact the overall weight of plywood sheets, it will also help if you are familiar with the following FAQs about Plywood’s weight, for they may also be the questions playing on in your mind:
Why Should You Know the Plywood’s Weight?
Wise men often say that knowledge is power, which also applies to woodworking, primarily if you use Plywood. Plywood gets often utilized for subfloors and sheathing. As such, they need to be supported by frames and structures. These structural frames have load capacity or limits on the weight they can support.
Thus, if you don’t know the weight of the Plywood, you might assume that the structural framing you’ve installed can support the assumed weight of the Plywood. Yet, you might be surprised if the structural frames crack up and cave in due to overload.
If you know the actual weight of the sheets of Plywood you will install on a structural frame, you can avoid overloading the framing. Calculate the overall weight of the plywood sheets you will install. This way, you will have a clearer understanding of how the plywood sheets will impact the supporting frames.
Besides, if you know the overall weights of the plywood sheets you will use, you will know which method of transportation can handle the overall weight of the plywood sheets. So, knowing the overall weight of the plywood sheets has a practical implication.
And if you carry the Plywood from the ground to the roof, you might as well know the overall weight of the plywood sheets you will lift. This way, you can safely transport or lift the plywood sheets without compromising your safety and the safety of your coworkers.
How Can You Reduce Plywood Weight?
You have several ways to reduce the overall weight of the plywood pieces you carry around. One way is by cutting the plywood sheets down to smaller and more manageable sizes when you buy them. This way, you can reduce the weight of each piece you need to carry around while reducing their dimensions and the space they consume during transportation.
You can also reduce the plywood weight you will use for the structure or cabinet by drilling holes in areas not visible or in parts not crucial to the structure’s integrity.
Lastly, you can opt for thinner plywood sheets that are still sturdy enough not to compromise the integrity of your projects. For example, if you can opt for a ½” plywood sheet instead of a ¾” one, that is much better.
Remember that ½”-thick plywood sheet weighs 33% less than the ¾”-thick plywood sheet. Thus, if you opt for thinner plywood sheets without compromising the safety and integrity of your project, it will be best.
Plywood and OSB: Which is Heavier?
Another engineered wood, the OSB, is often used in construction. This engineered wood type comes with a haphazard look because it gets formed using thin veneer strands with a cross-orientation. Compared to Plywood, it is approximately 31% heavier than Plywood made of softwood.
Baltic Birch plywood, however, is 9% lighter than OSB. Overall, OSB is heavier than most plywood variants saved for the pressure-treated ones. Since OSB lacks knots or voids, it is denser than plywood sheets.
MDF and Plywood: Which is Heavier?
Another engineered wood product is a Medium-density fiberboard (MDF). This EWP is known for being heavy. Compared to softwood plywood, it is approximately 55% heavier. However, the premium Baltic Birch sheet of Plywood is 20% lighter than MDF. Hence, it is heavier than most plywood variants saved for pressure-treated ones. The pressure-treated plywood sheet is approximately 34% heavier than the same-size MDF sheet.
As you read through this post, you will learn how important it is to determine the actual weight of the plywood sheets you will use. You must know the plywood sheets’ overall weight to figure out the type of structural framing you will install. Besides, knowing the overall weight of plywood sheets has a practical application. It will enable you to zero in on the proper transportation method for those plywood sheets.
Besides, you can easily lift the Plywood from one place to another. So, the next type you have a project that requires using plywood sheets, it will help to know the kind of Plywood you are using and the overall weight of these plywood sheets to facilitate everything for you.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.