How To Eliminate Plywood Confusion

plywood stacked in lumberyard buildingThe plywood market is a difficult one to discern, and no one is arguing that fact. But that doesn’t mean you can’t become better able to navigate the twists and turns that are part of the plywood industry. In short, your confusion doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. In addition to the suggestions we make in our “Buyer’s Guide to Quality Plywood,” we’d like to offer a recommendation that might not be exactly the formula or simple how-to formula you’d like: You need to educate yourself about plywood. Lumber knowledge is free, but it can save you a lot of money, in the long run.

Where To Start

Start with a general knowledge of (1) plywood pricing and grading, (2) plywood cores, and (3) composition of plies. As you realize the many variations and how they influence the quality, appearance, and pricing of plywood, you’ll begin to understand why the issue is so complex. Once you understand what impacts pricing in general, it’s time to get more specific and hands-on in your educational pursuits.

types of plywoodWhere To Go Next

Visit your local lumber dealer and take the time to peruse the plywood they have in stock. Instead of shaking your head, wondering why one sheet is $9 more than the seemingly identical sheet beside it, ask what the difference is. Now, do the same thing the next time you’re at another lumber yard, even if you’re not there for plywood.

Soon, you’ll realize that the issue typically isn’t about one dealer’s profit margins versus anothers, but plywood pricing differences indicating product differences. As you become more accustomed to the variables that influence price variations, you’ll be more equipped to make knowledgeable choices when it comes to plywood selection. Knowing what price point you can expect to pay for your “perfect panel,” whatever that may be, will be key in your being able to actually realize your plywood dreams or requests.

marine grade plywoodWhere To End Up

While you don’t want to compromise quality when it comes to your plywood order, you can save money other ways. For instance, when you purchase lumber from J. Gibson McIlvain, you can be assured of top quality materials and ready explanations for pricing variations. We carefully document our supply chains for all lumber and lumber products we sell and can help you save money in many ways.

For one thing, we can help you discern whether you really need top-grade plywood for your project. For another thing, we can combine shipment on all your solid hardwood, solid softwood, millwork products, and plywood, saving you valuable time and money by delivering all the lumber you need for a given project to the job site at the same time.

McIlvain lumberyard

McIlvain lumberyard

J. Gibson McIlvain Company

Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company ( is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.

As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.

Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.

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