Plywood can get a little confusing, which is why Mr. Handyman is here to help. When it’s time to buy a few sheets for your next project, use the information below to make sure it’s the right size and thickness.

A standard sheet of plywood is 4' x 8' and will cover 32 square feet. The 4' x 8' size correlates to the spacing on floor joists, roof trusses, or wall studs for easy installation. The next common size down is 5' x 5' and will cover 25 square feet.

Many home improvement stores sell smaller sheets, or they can even cut it to size for you for easy transportation.

How Thick Is Plywood?

Plywood comes in many different thicknesses, and the size you buy will depend on where it’s being used. Plywood comes in different thicknesses ranging from 1/8" to more than 1".

For roofing or flooring applications, the thickness will depend on the truss or joist spacing. For common rafter and joist spacing (24" on center) 5/8" plywood is recommended. However, it’s always best to check with local building codes to be certain.

Keep in mind that the thickness labels are not often the actual thickness of the sheet. This is common with sanded sheets of plywood where up to 1/32" of the material may be removed by the sanding. Once it hits the shelves, that 3/8" sheet of sanded plywood is actually 11/32", and that 3/4" thick sheet is really 23/32". Just keep this in mind when buying sanded plywood (Grades A and B).

Don’t forget, a 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" plywood weighs 60 pounds! Be sure to have a helping hand when loading or unloading sheets by yourself.

Plywood Core Types

Not all plywood cores are created equal. The plywood core is what makes up the material between the exterior wood veneers.

Certain types of plywood will have different cores for reduced cost, strength or even to increase flexibility. You’ll want to tailor the type of plywood core to your project. In most cases, a veneer core will do just fine and is what most home improvement stores sell.

No matter the core, these panels will always have a wood veneer on the exterior to give it the appearance of one sheet of solid wood:

  • Veneer Core – This is the most common type of plywood core, which consists of thin sheets of wood (veneer) glued together at opposing wood-grain angles on the same plane for increased strength.
    • For high-end applications or projects that will leave the laminated edges exposed, look for Baltic B-birch plywood or hardwood veneer plywood.
    • Veneer core plywood commonly has either 5 or 7 sheets of veneer. For stronger sheets less resistant to bending and warping, purchase 7-ply sheets. Some sheets used in heavy-duty applications can have as many as 13 ply or more. 
  • Lumber core – This consists of edge-glued strips of wood with a wood veneer. This results in a stronger product that resists deflection (doesn’t bend easily), which makes it great for long shelves. It is more expensive and can be hard to find. 
  • MDF core – Not common for home construction, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is commonly used in art projects and speaker boxes. It is heavy and has a uniform thickness, size, and appearance. 
  • Particleboard core – This is the least expensive plywood core. It isn’t very strong and is susceptible to water damage. It’s best for inexpensive furniture and projects where strength isn’t required.

Hardwood Plywood Veneers

Decorative plywood (overlaid plywood) uses different types of wood species (typically hardwood) on the exterior veneer. These plywood sheets have rich character, grain structure and are great looking. You wouldn’t use this plywood to cover a roof or side of a shed, but it’s perfect for furniture, cabinets, or woodworking.

This hardwood veneer allows the sheet to take on different characteristics of certain wood species, such as:

  • Baltic Birch
  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Walnut
  • Mahogany
  • And more!


No matter the project, the experts at Mr. Handyman are experienced in working with all types of plywood. For your next home project, call us. We’ll select the best material for the job and guarantee you a professional result. Give Mr. Handyman a call at (877) 685-1377 today or request service online for professional carpentry services you can trust.


Mr. Handyman s is a Neighborly Company. Handyman repair services are one of the many home maintenance solutions available to you through Neighborly. At Neighborly, we are committed to being there for all your home service needs.

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