How Veneer and Plywood Differ From One Another



If you have ever delved into the world of woodworking or interior design, you might have encountered the terms veneer and plywood. While these two materials are often used interchangeably, they are actually quite distinct from one another. Understanding the differences between veneer and plywood is crucial for making informed decisions in various projects, whether it’s crafting furniture, designing interiors, or undertaking construction endeavors.

Composition and Manufacturing Process

Veneer is crafted from thin slices of natural wood, usually obtained by peeling or slicing a log. These slices are then glued onto a substrate, such as particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), to create panels with the appearance of solid wood. On the other hand, plywood is constructed by layering thin sheets of wood veneer, known as plies, with each layer positioned perpendicular to the adjacent ones. These layers are bonded together using adhesive under high pressure and heat.

Material Thickness

In terms of thickness, veneer is significantly thinner than plywood. Veneer typically ranges from 0.6mm to 6mm in thickness, making it ideal for applications where weight and flexibility are crucial. In contrast, plywood is available in various thicknesses, starting from around 3mm up to several centimeters, depending on the intended use and structural requirements.

Strength and Durability

While both materials offer strength and durability, they differ in their inherent characteristics. Veneer is more susceptible to damage from moisture and scratches due to its thin layer of natural wood. However, when applied correctly, veneer can enhance the strength and stability of the underlying substrate. Plywood, with its multiple layers and cross-grain construction, exhibits greater resistance to warping, cracking, and splitting, making it a preferred choice for structural applications.

Appearance and Aesthetic

One of the distinguishing features between veneer and plywood is their appearance. Veneer showcases the natural beauty and grain patterns of wood species, providing a rich and luxurious aesthetic that mimics solid wood. On the other hand, plywood may exhibit a more uniform and consistent appearance, although advancements in manufacturing techniques have enabled the production of decorative plywood with unique veneers and finishes.

Cost Comparison

When it comes to cost, veneer tends to be more expensive than plywood on a per-square-foot basis. This is primarily due to the higher quality of wood used in veneer production and the labor-intensive process of slicing and applying the thin layers. However, the overall cost can vary depending on factors such as the wood species, thickness, and finish.


Both veneer and plywood find extensive applications across various industries. Veneer is commonly used in furniture making, cabinetry, interior paneling, and decorative wall coverings, where its natural beauty adds a touch of elegance and sophistication. Plywood, with its structural integrity and versatility, is favored in construction, flooring, roofing, and packaging, offering strength and stability in demanding environments.

Environmental Impact

In terms of environmental impact, veneer is often considered more sustainable than plywood. Veneer production generates less waste since it utilizes thin slices of wood efficiently, reducing the need for harvesting large trees. Additionally, veneer can be sourced from sustainably managed forests or reclaimed wood, further minimizing its ecological footprint. However, both materials can be environmentally friendly when produced using responsible forestry practices and eco-friendly manufacturing processes.

Maintenance and Care

Maintaining veneer and plywood requires different approaches due to their distinct properties. Veneer surfaces should be protected from excessive moisture and abrasive cleaners to prevent damage to the delicate wood veneer layer. Regular dusting and occasional polishing can help preserve the natural luster of veneer furniture and surfaces. Plywood, being more durable, is easier to clean and maintain, requiring simple dusting or wiping with a damp cloth.

Suitability for Different Projects

The choice between veneer and plywood often depends on the specific requirements of each project. Veneer is ideal for decorative applications where aesthetics are paramount, such as upscale furniture, interior accents, and architectural features. Plywood, with its structural strength and dimensional stability, is better suited for structural elements, including subflooring, sheathing, and load-bearing components in construction projects.

Popularity and Trends

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in veneer as designers and craftsmen appreciate its natural beauty and versatility in creating bespoke furniture pieces and artistic installations. On the other hand, plywood continues to be a staple in construction and manufacturing industries, driven by its cost-effectiveness and reliability in structural applications.

Let’s Have a Look at the Types of Plywood Offered by Lakshmi Timbers and Plywood:

Fire Retardant Plywood

Discover Lakshmi plywood is one of the fire-retardant plywoods that is low flammable, has low fire penetration, and has a low burning rate. Infused with PEN Technology, fire-retardant plywood gives a protective mesh between the veneer layers and also on the plywood. Get two times more fire-resistant plywood from Lakshmi, making it 2 times safer. It allows people to evacuate a fire hazard safely, buying them some extra time.

Boiling Waterproof Plywood

Club 700 is one of the best quality BWP plywood available in the market. Made of selected hardwood species, it is appropriate for places lying in high humidity, like the kitchen area. Club 700 can be used in the interiors and the exterior as it will not get damaged even when exposed to high moisture.

Zero Emission Plywood

In today’s time, there is so much pollution around. So, at least breathe fresh being in your own home. Lakshmi range of plywood is made with 3 mg of formalin in 100 gms of plywood, making it an E-0 plywood. Zero Emission Plywood gives the purest indoor air quality without suffocation or eye irritation. Thus, ensuring a healthier environment for you and your lovely family.

Termite-Resistant Plywood

Are you worried about termites that can turn beautiful furniture into piles of dust? Your problems end with our range of plywood – Platinum, Club 700, Club 5 Hundred, 710, and Gold. Lakshmi termite-resistant plywood is made with a special termite-resistant resin that resists termite infestation.

Veneers – Thin, Flexible, Good Looking and Multi-Purpose

Veneers are thin sheets of wood peeled from wood blocks using a lathe or slicing machine. The wood veneer sheets are manufactured from the inner layers of a block of wood often exhibit interesting grains and can be used to create beautiful wood veneer furniture or wall art. Multiple layers of wood veneer sheets can also be glued together to create medium-density fibreboard (MDF) or even plywood. Veneers made to create artwork, referred to as decorative veneers, are often stained or dyed in different shades. At times, they may also be treated with chemical solutions to make them resistant to moisture and fire, as well as dirt and dust.

Pros and Cons

To summarize, veneer offers the following advantages:

  • Natural beauty and grain patterns
  • Luxurious aesthetic
  • Versatility in decorative applications

However, it also has some drawbacks, including:

  • Susceptibility to damage from moisture and scratches
  • Higher cost compared to plywood

Plywood, on the other hand, boasts the following advantages:

  • Structural strength and stability
  • Versatility in construction and manufacturing
  • Cost-effectiveness

But it also has its limitations, such as:

  • Less visually appealing compared to veneer
  • Limited options for decorative finishes

Innovations and Future Outlook

As technology advances and consumer preferences evolve, both veneer and plywood are likely to undergo further innovations and improvements. Manufacturers continue to explore sustainable sourcing methods, eco-friendly adhesives, and innovative surface treatments to enhance the performance and aesthetics of these materials. Additionally, the growing emphasis on environmental sustainability and circular economy practices may drive the development of alternative materials with reduced environmental impact.


In conclusion, Lakshmi Timbers and Plywood stands out as a leader in the field of veneer and plywood supply. With their unwavering commitment to quality, extensive range of products, and dedication to customer satisfaction, they have earned a reputation as the go-to choice for discerning craftsmen and builders alike.


  1. What is the main difference between veneer and plywood?
    • Veneer is a thin layer of natural wood applied to a substrate, while plywood consists of multiple layers of wood veneer bonded together.
  2. Can veneer be as strong as plywood?
    • While veneer enhances the strength of the underlying substrate, plywood typically offers greater structural integrity due to its cross-grain construction.
  3. Is veneer more expensive than plywood?
    • Yes, veneer tends to be more expensive than plywood on a per-square-foot basis due to the higher quality of wood used and the labor-intensive manufacturing process.
  4. Can plywood be used for decorative purposes like veneer?
    • Plywood can be used decoratively, especially with advancements in manufacturing techniques that allow for unique veneers and finishes.
  5. Which material is more eco-friendly, veneer, or plywood?
    • Veneer is often considered more sustainable due to its efficient use of wood resources, but both materials can be eco-friendly when produced using responsible forestry practices and eco-friendly manufacturing processes.

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