Not all plywood sheets are made equal, and the weight can vary greatly depending on the type of plywood used.
But how heavy is a sheet of plywood?
|Plywood Type ↓||Weight of a 1/2″ plywood in lbs||Weight of a 13mm plywood in Kg|
|Softwood Plywood||40 lbs||18 Kg|
|Hardwood Plywood||45 lbs||20 Kg|
|Marine Plywood||50 lbs||23 Kg|
|Baltic Birch||48 lbs||22 Kg|
|Particle Board||61 lbs||28 Kg|
|MDF||67 lbs||30 Kg|
|MDO||38 lbs||17 Kg|
|OSB||47 lbs||21 Kg|
This article will provide a detailed guide on plywood weight and present a chart to help you select the right plywood for your project.
MellowPine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
How Much Does a Sheet of Plywood Weigh?
The weight of a plywood sheet may vary based on factors such as its thickness, size, and type of wood.
Generally, thicker sheets weigh more. Similarly, hardwood plywood like oak is generally heavier than softwood plywood like pine.
The tables below provide average values for the weight of commonly used plywood of varying thicknesses.
Please note that these weights can vary slightly based on the manufacturer, wood species, and moisture content of the wood.
|Plywood Type ↓||1/4″|
|Softwood Plywood||23 lbs||28.5 lbs||40.5 lbs||52 lbs||61 lbs||95 lbs|
|Hardwood Plywood||26 lbs||31.5 lbs||45 lbs||58 lbs||68 lbs||106 lbs|
|Marine Plywood||27 lbs||35 lbs||50 lbs||61 lbs||75 lbs||112 lbs|
|Baltic Birch||26 lbs||33.5 lbs||48 lbs||66 lbs||72 lbs||121 lbs|
|Particle Board||32 lbs||43 lbs||61 lbs||72 lbs||91 lbs||132 lbs|
|MDF||37 lbs||46.5 lbs||66.7 lbs||78 lbs||100 lbs||143 lbs|
|MDO||20 lbs||26 lbs||37.5 lbs||44 lbs||56 lbs||78 lbs|
|OSB||29 lbs||33 lbs||47 lbs||60 lbs||70 lbs||110 lbs|
|Plywood Type ↓||6 mm||10 mm||13 mm||16 mm||19 mm||28 mm|
|Softwood Plywood||10 Kg||13 Kg||18 Kg||23.5 Kg||28 Kg||43 Kg|
|Hardwood Plywood||11 Kg||14 Kg||20 Kg||26 Kg||31 Kg||48 Kg|
|Marine Plywood||12 Kg||16 Kg||23 Kg||28 Kg||34 Kg||51 Kg|
|Baltic Birch||12 Kg||15 Kg||22 Kg||30 Kg||33 Kg||55 Kg|
|Particle Board||14 Kg||19 Kg||28 Kg||32 Kg||41 Kg||60 Kg|
|MDF||17 Kg||21 Kg||30 Kg||35 Kg||45 Kg||65 Kg|
|MDO||09 Kg||12 Kg||17 Kg||20 Kg||25 Kg||35 Kg|
|OSB||13 Kg||15 Kg||21 Kg||25 Kg||32 Kg||48 Kg|
1. Softwood Plywood
Softwood plywood is made of softwood trees like pine, fir, and cedar, which makes it significantly lighter than hardwood plywood.
Generally, based on the thickness, a sheet of softwood plywood can weigh anywhere between 23 lbs and 95 lbs, with a 1/2" thick softwood plywood sheet weighing around 43 lbs.
Due to its lightweight nature, it can be easily handled, transported, and installed.
Apart from that, it is widely used for sheathing, subflooring, and general building projects when weight is more critical than strength and durability.
2. Hardwood Plywood
Hardwood plywood is manufactured using wood sourced from hardwood trees, including but not limited to oak, birch, and maple.
It is denser, heavier, and more expensive than softwood plywood. Typically, a heavier weight indicates greater strength, durability, and stability.
Generally, a sheet of hardwood plywood can weigh anywhere between 26 lbs and 106 lbs, with a 1/2" thick hardwood plywood sheet weighing around 48 lbs.
Although hardwood plywood is more difficult to transport and handle, its durability makes it ideal for indoor and outdoor applications that require strength and longevity, such as cabinetry, furniture, flooring, and wall paneling.
3. Marine Plywood
Marine plywood is made with waterproof adhesive and very dense, high-quality water-resistant outer plies., making them significantly more costly than standard plywood sheets.
These high-quality plies serve to keep moisture out of the panel, making it perfect for outdoor applications where moisture resistance is of utmost importance.
Generally, a 4' x 8' sheet of standard 1/2-inch marine plywood weighs approximately 51 pounds. However, the actual weight of marine plywood can vary based on its density.
Due to its excellent resistance to moisture, marine plywood is primarily used for marine applications such as vessels, docks, boats, etc.
This makes it important to analyze the weight of the plywood, as weight considerations are crucial for buoyancy, load distribution, and fuel efficiency.
Typically, for smaller boats, lighter-weight marine plywood is used, while heavier plywood is used for larger vessels.
4. Baltic Birch Plywood
Baltic Birch plywood is multi-ply plywood made from birch veneers.
The interior plies of this material do not consist of softwood and are void-free, resulting in enhanced stability.
It is renowned for its impressive strength, stability, and fine-grained texture.
This plywood is a good compromise between ease of use and durability due to its moderate weight. A typical 4' x 8' sheet of 1/2-inch baltic birch plywood weighs approximately 55 pounds.
Baltic Birch plywood is the preferred material for precise and stable interior woodworking projects such as cabinetry and furniture.
5. Particle Board
Particle board plywood, also called low-density fiberboard, is a composite material composed of compressed wood particles and resin.
It is usually denser and heavier than plywood. It is very much like MDF but less durable.
It is less expensive, less dense, and simpler to work with, making it ideal for cheap furniture, cabinet interiors, and underlayment applications.
MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, is a form of engineered wood produced from leftover wood scraps that have been broken down into extremely fine wood fibers.
The fibers are compressed and resin-bonded together.
It is one of the heaviest forms of engineered wood panels due to its extremely high resin content. The added weight helps to increase its stability and strength, making it more resistant to cracking or warping.
MDF can be used for a wide range of indoor applications, such as furniture, cabinetry, shelving, countertops, doors, molding, trim, and paneling.
7. MDO (Medium Density Overlay) Plywood
MDO is a type of plywood with a fiber overlay impregnated with high-density resin on one or both faces.
MDO plywood has almost the same weight as hardwood plywood, providing an excellent combination of strength and durability.
However, its smooth surface and moisture resistance features make it more expensive than plywood.
Apart from that, compared to other types of engineered wood panels, it absorbs paint better and appears more attractive once painted.
This makes it suitable for outdoor applications requiring high strength and durability, such as signs, concrete forms, and outdoor furniture.
8. OSB (Oriented Strand Board)
OSB is an engineered wood panel composed of wood strands bonded with resin. The wood strands are arranged in an alternating orientation which gives the OSB its strength and stability.
It is often denser, heavier, and approximately 20% less expensive than equivalent sheets of plywood.
However, OSB is available in slightly different thicknesses than plywood. So, make sure to consider that when selecting OSB for your project.
Generally, it is preferable for structural applications such as subflooring, sheathing, siding, and roofs, where weight and strength are essential considerations.
Calculating the Weight of Plywood per Unit Area
When working in the practical world, an entire sheet of plywood is rarely used. Most construction projects require cutting plywood in custom shapes and sizes to get the required fit.
As a result, it is important to understand the procedure to calculate the weight per unit area of plywood.
Here are the steps involved in calculating the per unit area weight of plywood:
- Measure the weight of the whole sheet, or use the plywood weight chart to identify its estimated weight. For the metric system, measure the weight in kilograms, and for the Imperial system, in pounds.
- Calculate the area of the plywood sheet by multiplying its length and breadth. For the metric system, measure the dimensions in meters, and for the Imperial system, in feet.
- Now divide the total area of the sheet with the weight of the plywood.
- This will give you the estimated weight per unit area of the plywood sheet.
The tables below give the estimated weight per unit area of different plywood sheets in the Imperial and Metric standards.
|Plywood Type ↓||1/4″|
|Softwood Plywood||0.72 lbs||0.90 lbs||1.26 lbs||1.62 lbs||1.91 lbs||2.97 lbs|
|Hardwood Plywood||0.81 lbs||0.98 lbs||1.41 lbs||1.81 lbs||2.12 lbs||3.31 lbs|
|Marine Plywood||0.84 lbs||1.09 lbs||1.56 lbs||1.91 lbs||2.34 lbs||3.50 lbs|
|Baltic Birch||0.81 lbs||1.05 lbs||1.5 lbs||2.06 lbs||2.25 lbs||3.78 lbs|
|Particle Board||1.0 lbs||1.34 lbs||1.91 lbs||2.25 lbs||2.84 lbs||4.12 lbs|
|MDF||1.10 lbs||1.45 lbs||2.08 lbs||2.43 lbs||3.12 lbs||4.47 lbs|
|MDO||0.62 lbs||0.80 lbs||1.12 lbs||1.37 lbs||1.75 lbs||2.44 lbs|
|OSB||0.90 lbs||1.03 lbs||1.47 lbs||1.87 lbs||2.18 lbs||3.44 lbs|
|Plywood Type ↓||6 mm||10 mm||13 mm||16 mm||19 mm||28 mm|
|Softwood Plywood||3.3 Kg||3.4 Kg||6.0 Kg||7.9 Kg||9.4 Kg||14.4 Kg|
|Hardwood Plywood||3.6 Kg||4.7 Kg||6.8 Kg||8.7 Kg||10.4 Kg||16.1 Kg|
|Marine Plywood||3.9 Kg||5.4 Kg||7.6 Kg||9.4 Kg||11.4 Kg||17.1 Kg|
|Baltic Birch||4.2 Kg||5.0 Kg||7.4 Kg||10 Kg||11.1 Kg||18.5 Kg|
|Particle Board||4.9 Kg||6.5 Kg||9.4 Kg||10.9 Kg||13.8 Kg||20.2 Kg|
|MDF||5.3 Kg||7.0 Kg||10 Kg||11.8 Kg||15.1 Kg||21.8 Kg|
|MDO||3.6 Kg||3.9 Kg||5.7 Kg||6.7 Kg||8.6 Kg||11.8 Kg|
|OSB||4.1 Kg||5.0 Kg||7.0 Kg||8.4 Kg||10.7 Kg||16.1 Kg|
Once you identify the per unit area weight, you can calculate the total weight of the plywood workpiece used for your project.
For example, consider a 1/2-inch softwood plywood panel cut in a 2' by 2' rectangular workpiece.
Total area of the workpiece = 2' x 2' = 4 square feet
Weight (pounds) = Total area * Weight per sq. ft
= 4 x 1.26 = 5.04 lbs
Therefore, the approximate weight of the softwood plywood panel used in the project is around 5.04 pounds.
To calculate the weight of the workpiece in the metric system (kg/sq.m), you can use the estimated weight values from the kg/sq.m table in a similar manner.
Ensure that the length and width of the plywood panel are measured in meters and that the area is multiplied by the weight per square meter.
Why Is It Important to Calculate the Weight of Plywood?
Calculating the weight of plywood is crucial for several reasons, especially in the field of construction and other practical applications.
A few essential points highlighting the significance of estimating the weight of plywood are:
1. Structural Integrity and Load-bearing Capacity
Plywood is used for ceilings, walls, floors, and roofs in construction. Estimating plywood weight is critical for evaluating the load-bearing capacity of these structures.
By evaluating the overall weight of plywood ceilings, architects and engineers can verify that the supporting structure can bear the predicted load, eliminating structural failures or safety hazards.
2. Design and Cost Optimization
Early plywood weight determination helps architects and engineers make decisions. Knowing the weight helps them evaluate the structural implications and optimize the design.
After evaluating the load-bearing capacity of the structure, you can alter the design to ensure that the overall weight of the plywood structure does not exceed the calculated limit.
A handy trick to minimize weight is to cut circular holes and other patterns in the plywood sheets wherever the strength of the plywood is not of significant importance.
Apart from that, you can also consider alternate types and thicknesses of plywood to optimize the design.
This knowledge helps estimate project costs by accounting for plywood and support structures.
3. Installation Considerations
Installing plywood requires estimating its weight.
The number of personnel needed to handle and install plywood sheets depends on the weight of the plywood panel being used.
Estimating the overall weight of the structure helps the project manager utilize the workforce efficiently while ensuring proper safety precautions.
4. Material Handling and Transportation
Plywood weight is important for logistics like material handling and transportation.
It helps the construction team plan the labor and equipment needed to safely lift and move plywood to the construction site.
It also ensures the selection of the right vehicle capable of handling the load of the plywood sheets that are to be transported.
Use the following equation to calculate the total weight of plywood:
Total weight = (number of sheets) x (weight per sheet)
For example, if you have ten sheets of 1/2-inch plywood weighing 5 pounds each, the total weight is 50 pounds.
Once you calculate the overall weight of the plywood, you may compare it to the pickup vehicle's maximum payload capability.
If the overall weight of the plywood sheets exceeds the vehicle's payload capacity, you will either have to reduce the number of plywood sheets or look for a vehicle with greater payload capacity.
Plywood weight affects handling, installation speed, structural requirements, and application considerations.
The weight of a plywood sheet varies based on its thickness, density, and wood species.
For projects requiring strength, durability, and stability, such as decks, roofing, and flooring, heavy sheets of plywood are recommended.
Lightweight plywood sheets are suitable for applications such as shelving, cabinets, etc., that require less strength, easier handling, quick transportation, and effortless installation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the Various Grades of Plywood?
The various grades of plywood include A, B, C, and D. While A-grade plywood denotes the best quality, D-grade plywood has a poor surface finish with less load-bearing capacity. You can also find mixed-grade plywood with different-grade veneers on either side.
What is the standard size of a sheet of plywood?
The standard size of a sheet of plywood is 4 x 8 feet. However, you can also find some plywood sheets in 5 x 5 feet sized panels.
What precautions should be taken when working with plywood?
Safety precautions that must be followed while working with plywood include: wearing safety glasses, anti-cut gloves, and masks to avoid inhaling the dust generated when cutting plywood.