If you’re searching for the right type of plywood for your project, you’ve probably seen that there are several different grades to choose from. The variety can be daunting, and the labels can make the process even more confusing.

What are the grades of plywood? There are four main types of plywood veneer grades. These are known as A, B, C, and D. Within each sheet of plywood, there are two grades present. This compound is written out as AB, AC, and so on. The first letter is what’s known as the face veneer grade, and the second letter represents the back veneer. If the plywood compound has an X at the end, it signifies that it is “exposure” plywood and can be exposed to a bit of moisture. The letters progress like grades in school — A is the highest grade, D is the lowest.

BCX plywood, you can usually see a significant difference in quality. CDX plywood is going to have a lower quality veneer on the face of the plywood, as well as a much rougher texture on the back. As you might imagine, plywood with lower scores like this will typically be less expensive.

Plywood Grades A & B

The highest quality – and most expensive – types of softwood plywood are the A & B grades – which is perfect for shop projects like workbench plans. All large knots are replaced with football-shaped patches, which can be sanded and finished with the rest of the panel. Also, any gaps or voids along the edges of the panel are usually filled and smoothed off with wood putty. With the A & B grades, the number of repaired patches and voids on any given sheet will be low. Not all home centers carry the higher-quality A & B grades of plywood. Try contacting your closest lumber distributor of woodworking supply store for more information and availability.

What Is BCX Plywood Made Of?

BCX plywood is what is called a ‘composite graded’ plywood.

You see, plywood is available in four standard grades; A, B, C, and lastly, D. When plywood is rated ‘A’ it has been sanded smooth and even. However, when plywood is rated ‘D’ it is because it is rough, knotty, and has an overall unfinished appearance.

Now, a composite graded plywood is when two differently graded ply sheets are glued together. The first letter refers to the ‘front face’ of the plywood sheet. While the second letter refers to the ‘back face’.

The X in BCX indicates that a water-resistant glue has been used to stick the ply sheets together.

Difference Between Construction and Project Plywood

Construction plywood is a common material for building garages and roofing houses, and it’s also used for household projects like building cabinets. Here are some labels that differentiate the two:

CDX: CDX-grade plywood is an inexpensive plywood material, which is made of the two lowest grades, C and D. The X signifies that this material can withstand some exposure to moisture. CDX is oftentimes used for creating work tables and storage units.

Sanded Pine: Sanded pine is a versatile plywood material. It has a clean and smooth surface, and it holds nails and screws well. This type of plywood is commonly used to build cabinets and boxes.

Baltic Birch: Another versatile plywood material is Baltic birch. This is a more expensive option, as it has clean edges and has a nice finish.


What is BCX plywood for?

BCX plywood for projects such as shelving, paneling, stairs, exterior wall sheathing, soffits, a base for siding materials, the support structure for cabinets and other built-ins and more.

What does CDX mean in plywood?

What is CDX? CDX is veneer plywood, which is manufactured by gluing and pressing together sheets of wood. The letters C and D represent the grades of either side of the plywood, while X stands for exposure.

When would you use CDX plywood?

CDX Plywood is used primarily by contractors to build exterior walls and roofs. CDX plywood has one side veneer grade “C” and one side veneer grade “D”. The two are bonded together with glue which can withstand a little moisture. The APA would recognize CDX Grade Plywood as C-D Exposure 1 plywood.

Is BCX plywood good for exterior?

BCX plywood is readily available, but CCX not quite so much so. Both are suitable for exterior use. Be sure to consider appearance when making a decision about which of these plywoods to use, selecting BCX when looks are more important. Both types of plywood can be painted.

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