sheathing plywood vs plywood


Plywood is a broad term that covers a variety of sheets. They are categorized on the basis of how they are manufactured. Different types of plywood have different compositions and ratings. Their grades range from higher to lower- (A grade is the best, D grade is the lowest). Definitely based on the price factors and additives used when manufacturing plywood. 

Some are good for outdoor projects like beaming, while others are used for building home DIY projects or kitchen cabinets. In addition to that, there are plywoods that are used for sheathing walls, also called sheathing plywood.

Sheathing Plywood

The term Shearhing plywood is technically not correct. Because there is no specific plywood sheet that we call sheathing plywood. However, some types of plywoods are used for sheathing and it’s possible some manufacturers advertise their plywoods as sheathing plywood. 

In simple terms, sheathing plywood is no more than a type of plywood. As stated, plywood is a broad term, so many varieties are available when you go to any local hardware store. You will be impressed by the types of plywood. Some are made from softwoods, and others are from hardwoods. Moreover, waterproof plywoods are also available in the market, named marine plywood.

Sheathing plywood vs Plywood

The Sheathing term refers to a material that is used for covering walls, mainly to protect walls from warping, bending, and sheathing can also be used on walls as a base to insert nails etc. While there are types of materials used for sheathing, plywood sheets are also used. 

So sheathing plywood can be called a type of plywood used sheathing. Some common properties plywood for sheathing can have is:

  • They are in lower or lower grades.
  • Their surface is rough compared to high-quality plywood.
  • They are cheap.
  • They are water-proof, rated X plywood, a trademark that indicates the plywood is suitable to be used for outdoor projects.

What is sheathing plywood?

Since the fact is that there is no specific plywood sheet for sheathing, mostly the lower grade of plywoods are tagged as sheathing plywood. 

So sheathing plywood can be called a type of plywood used sheathing. Some common properties plywood for sheathing can have is:

  • They are in lower or lower grades.
  • Their surface is rough compared to high-quality plywood.
  • They are cheap.
  • They are water-proof, rated X plywood, a trademark that indicates the plywood is suitable to be used for outdoor projects.

What is plywood?

“Plywood” is a general term that can refer to a huge spectrum of materials. It’s almost as vague as just saying “wood”. Plywood can be made with different types of wood, different thicknesses, different types of adhesive for indoor, outdoor, or marine uses, different quality grades on one or both faces, etc.

Speaking of grades, as stated, the quality grade is rated from A to D. A grade indicates plywood has a smooth surface and is made of expensive wood. While the D grade indicates the plywood does not have a smooth surface.

In general, plywoods are graded as: 

  • AA plywood
  • AB plywood
  • AC plywood
  • AD plywood.
  • Etc

The alphabet shows how good one side of the plywood is, AA grade means both sides are of good quality. Similarly, the DD grade of plywood indicates that both sides of the plywood are of lower grade.

For sheathing the DD grade is mostly used, many local hardware owners named this grade of sheathing plywood. But mind that, Sheathing plywood also has X alphabets. For instance, CDX plywood, where X indicates the plywood is good enough to be used for outdoor projects.

Are plywood sheathing and plywood the same?

Plywood is made from thin sheets of veneer that have been peeled from debarked wood. These thin layers also called plies, are glued together in alternating, perpendicular directions to create a cross-graining pattern.

Sheathing refers to the board or panel material used in floor, wall, and roof assemblies of both residential and commercial construction. The most basic function of sheathing, in any application, is to form a surface onto which other materials can be applied.

Oriented strand board (OSB) is a type of engineered wood similar to particle board, formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands in specific orientations.

Both plywood and OSB can be used for sheathing, although sometimes the term ‘plywood sheathing’ is mistakingly used when referring to OSB sheathing installment.

OSB has better load-bearing performance characteristics than plywood and is applied for subfloor sheathing.

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