What is the difference between commercial board and plywood?


When it comes to construction and woodworking projects, the choice between commercial board and plywood can significantly impact the outcome. These two materials, although similar in appearance, have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different applications. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key differences between commercial board and plywood, helping you make an informed decision for your next project. Additionally, we’ll highlight some of the top plywood manufacturers in Delhi, a hub for quality wood products in India.

What is Commercial Board?

Commercial board, also known as particle board or chip board, is an engineered wood product made from wood chips, sawmill shavings, and sawdust. These materials are combined with a synthetic resin binder and pressed into flat panels under high temperature and pressure. The resulting board is dense, uniform, and relatively inexpensive.

Characteristics of Commercial Board:

  • Composed of wood particles and resin binder
  • Dense and uniform structure
  • Economical choice
  • Suitable for interior applications
  • Limited moisture resistance
  • Available in various thicknesses and sizes

What is Plywood?

Plywood, on the other hand, is a versatile engineered wood panel made by layering thin sheets of wood veneer, called plies or plies. These plies are arranged in alternating grain directions (cross-grained) and bonded together with a strong adhesive, typically phenol-formaldehyde resin. The cross-grained structure and adhesive bonding provide plywood with exceptional strength and dimensional stability.

Characteristics of Plywood:

  • Cross-grained construction with wood veneers
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Dimensional stability
  • Moisture resistance (depending on the grade)
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications
  • Available in various thicknesses, grades, and sizes

Strength and Durability

One of the most significant differences between commercial board and plywood lies in their strength and durability. Plywood, with its cross-grained construction and adhesive bonding, offers superior strength and resistance to deformation compared to commercial board. This makes plywood an ideal choice for load-bearing applications, such as flooring, roofing, and structural components.

Commercial board, while reasonably strong, is more susceptible to denting, cracking, and warping over time, particularly in environments with fluctuating moisture levels. Its uniform particle composition makes it less resistant to impact and wear compared to plywood.

Moisture Resistance

Moisture resistance is another key factor to consider when choosing between commercial board and plywood. Plywood, particularly the exterior-grade varieties, is designed to withstand moisture and humidity better than commercial board. The adhesives used in plywood construction, combined with the cross-grained layers, provide enhanced moisture resistance, making plywood suitable for outdoor and high-humidity applications.

Commercial board, on the other hand, is more susceptible to moisture damage and swelling. While some commercial boards are treated with moisture-resistant resins, they are generally not recommended for outdoor or high-moisture environments.


The differences in strength, durability, and moisture resistance make commercial board and plywood suitable for different applications.

Commercial Board Applications:

  • Interior furniture (shelving, cabinets, etc.)
  • Underlayment for flooring
  • Packaging materials
  • Bulletin boards
  • Temporary construction projects

Plywood Applications:

  • Flooring (subfloors and finished floors)
  • Roofing and sheathing
  • Concrete formwork
  • Furniture and cabinetry
  • Outdoor structures (sheds, playhouses, etc.)
  • Boat and marine construction

Cost Considerations

One of the advantages of commercial board is its relatively low cost compared to plywood. Due to its composition and manufacturing process, commercial board is generally more affordable and can be a budget-friendly option for certain projects. However, it’s important to note that the long-term durability and performance of commercial board may be compromised, potentially requiring more frequent replacements.

Plywood, while more expensive than commercial board, offers better value in terms of durability, strength, and longevity. The initial investment in plywood can be offset by its ability to withstand various environmental conditions and provide a longer service life.

Plywood Manufacturers in Delhi

Delhi, the capital city of India, is home to several reputable plywood manufacturers that produce high-quality products for a wide range of applications. Some of the prominent plywood manufacturers in Delhi include:

  1. MRS Woodcraft
  2. Greenply Industries Ltd.
  3. Kitply Industries Ltd.
  4. Anchor Plywood Mills
  5. Himalaya Plywood Industries

These manufacturers offer a variety of plywood types, including interior-grade, exterior-grade, marine-grade, and specialized plywood for specific applications. Many of these companies have established a strong reputation for quality, innovation, and sustainability, contributing to the growth of the Indian plywood industry.

Can commercial board be used for outdoor projects?

No, commercial board is not recommended for outdoor projects or applications with high moisture exposure. Its particle composition makes it susceptible to swelling, warping, and deterioration when exposed to moisture.

Is plywood more expensive than commercial board?

Yes, plywood is generally more expensive than commercial board due to its superior strength, durability, and moisture resistance. However, the initial investment in plywood can be offset by its longer lifespan and suitability for a wider range of applications.

Can plywood be used for load-bearing structures?

Yes, plywood is often used in load-bearing structures, such as floors, roofs, and walls, due to its high strength-to-weight ratio and dimensional stability.

Is commercial board environmentally friendly?

Commercial board is considered to be moderately eco-friendly as it utilizes wood waste and byproducts from other manufacturing processes. However, the synthetic resins used as binders can have environmental impacts.

What types of plywood are available?

Plywood comes in various grades and types, including interior-grade, exterior-grade, marine-grade, and specialized plywood for specific applications like concrete formwork or high-moisture environments.

Comparison Table: Commercial Board vs. Plywood

CharacteristicCommercial BoardPlywood
CompositionWood particles and resin binderCross-grained wood veneers
StrengthModerate strengthHigh strength-to-weight ratio
DurabilityLess durable, prone to denting and warpingHighly durable, dimensionally stable
Moisture ResistanceLimited moisture resistanceExcellent moisture resistance (exterior grades)
CostRelatively inexpensiveMore expensive, but better value in the long run
ApplicationsInterior furniture, underlayment, packagingFlooring, roofing, outdoor structures, construction


When it comes to choosing between commercial board and plywood, the decision ultimately depends on your project requirements, budget, and desired performance characteristics. Commercial board offers an economical option for interior applications with minimal moisture exposure, while plywood excels in strength, durability, and versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of indoor and outdoor projects.

If you’re in Delhi and seeking high-quality plywood for your construction or woodworking needs, consider exploring the offerings from reputable plywood manufacturers in the city, such as Century Plyboards, Greenply Industries, Kitply Industries, Anchor Plywood Mills, and Himalaya Plywood Industries.

Remember, investing in the right material can not only ensure the success of your project but also provide long-lasting value and peace of mind. By understanding the differences between commercial board and plywood, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your project goals and budget.

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