Which Sheet Material Suits Your Job
Sheet materials are an extremely versatile material which is why they're used in pretty much all forms of construction. Available in various types, each with different properties that suit specific purposes more than others.
Let’s find out more.
For around 200 years, Plywood has been the popular choice when it comes to sheet materials. It is made from wood veneers that are layered on top of one another, each time rotating the layer to create a crossed grain which increases its overall strength.
Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword, those layers that give the strength also let moisture penetrate the material, potentially compromising it.
In recent years there have been developments with plywood that make it better suited to some tasks, for example, you can get marine plywood which is plywood that has been altered to increase it's water-resistant allowing it to be used on boats.
You can also get veneered plywood which is simply plywood with a veneer applied to give it a more aesthetically pleasing look and also Shuttering Plywood which is a denser type of plywood designed more for heavy-duty projects rather than for its appearance.
Chipboard or also known as Low-Density Fibreboard (LDF), comes with numerous advantages despite its low cost.
Made form compressing wood fibres and resin together, this material has a smooth finish on the sides but generally require a veneer to be applied to the rough edges for a more appealing look.
This material is mainly used for assembling furniture or creating kitchen worktops thanks to its cost-effectiveness. It is more eco-friendly than other materials in this list but its downfall is its density. Not being a very dense material means it can be damaged easily in transit and can not be used for load-bearing needs as well as susceptible to moisture damage.
It is a popular choice for speakers though down to its good thermo-acoustic insulation properties.
Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF), this is another low-cost material and like the two above, it’s good for a lot of things but is equally bad at handling moisture.
Made by the same process as chipboard but using greater pressure to do so, this gets rid of the gaps that you get with chipboard and makes it denser than plywood.
Following in their footsteps we have High-Density Fibreboard (HDF), which you can probably guess is essentially the same as the MDF sheet material but even denser.
Tougher but still absorbent, the wood pulp used for the compression process has been exploded and heat treater beforehand. Depending on the required use HDF will either consist of two smooth sides or just one with the other being more rough and ready.
Being denser does mean it can be cut into thin sheets and maintain its rigidity better, again though like the others its not too good with moisture but this can be overcome to a certain point with the use of tempering and treating the wood.
The last one, Oriented Stand Board (OSB) which also goes by the name flakeboard, sterling board or aspenite if made from compressing layers made from wooden strands that are put at different angles to maximise its strength and ability to bear larger loads.
Because of the way this material if manufactured it can be produced in very big sheets compared to the others. OSB can be treated to give better water resistance and is a better cost-effective option than plywood.
In terms of decoration, OSB will provide a rustic look and though it can be difficult to paint you can easily deal with that by using a primer and good oil-based paints