Alternatives to plywood: 7 eco-sustainable materials

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Although it is still widely used in construction and furniture because it is versatile, economical and resistant, today there are many alternatives to plywood which can offer you even more advantages in terms of price, duration and aesthetics.

Let’s find out which ones.

Alternatives to plywood

Plywood is a material obtained by gluing together several layers of wood to form an economical and resistant surface that can be widely used in the construction, DIY and furniture sectors.

Although plywood has always been one of the most appreciated materials by professionals and enthusiasts, today it is possible to find alternative materials with an even more competitive price and with better finishes, even from a point of view. aesthetic view.

Here is the list of alternatives to plywood:

1. MDF (medium density fiberboard)


L’MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) is an extremely economical material, within reach of all pockets. Whatever project you have in mind, it will adapt, and if you are looking for trendy but inexpensive furniture, you are bound to find many contemporary MDF alternatives.

Unlike the laminateMDF can be painted easily, so even buying a piece of furniture with a rough finish, you can customize it to your liking to turn it into exactly what you wanted, and repaint it countless times when that color has tired you or you want to change its location.

Another amazing benefit of MDF is that it won’t swell or shrink with sudden changes in temperature or humidity, making it ideal for harsh environments like bathrooms and kitchens.

Being made of recycled wood, it is also an eco-friendly choice.

You will also not have to fear the incursion of termites or other parasites since, to manufacture it, the wood is first treated with substances that repel them.

MDF can also be easily covered with films that reproduce the grain of wood to give it the appearance of a real solid.

2. Particle board

wood particle board

It is one of the options with the best value for money currently on the market, even cheaper than MDF.

If you work alone, you will like the lightness of this material.

the chipboard it has a smooth, flat and fine surface which is ideal as a base for all kinds of coatings. It has excellent adhesion to adhesives and is available in different thicknesses and densities so you can choose the one that best suits your project.

Chipboard is made with waste wood, like MDF, it is also a green option that does not generate production waste – and does not involve the use of formaldehyde.

3. Solid wood

Solid wood

Obviously the solid wood it is the pure, solid and resistant material, capable of ensuring superior quality in any work.

The market offers a wide variety of choices of wood speciessome cheaper and more common (like conifer), others more valuable (like ebony or briar), and each with a distinctive color that should blend well with the product you want to make.

Solid wood is considered by all to be the construction material par excellence, therefore malleable, warm and natural.

It is no coincidence that the wooden houses it is becoming more and more popular also in Italy.

Solid wood products are more valuable than those made of other materials, but it must also be said that real wood is more expensive than composite alternatives and may not suit everyone’s budget.

4. Polyurethane sandwich panel

Polyurethane sandwich panel

Formed by a layer of polyurethane foam and reinforced by two layers of rigid material, i polyurethane sandwich panels they are lightweight and durable, perfect for use as building materials.

They are extremely resistant sheets because they are partly made up of glass fibers.

Unlike other materials, sandwich panels are water repellent, which means zero risk of warping or warping after installation.

They are ideal for semi-structural and structural applications.

Since water does not harm them, there is also no risk of rot or mold.

Sheets of this material are much lighter than plywood and come in a multitude of thicknesses.

5. OSB (oriented strand board)

Oriented strand board

This engineered material may resemble plywood in some ways, but it is less expensive.

Due to its manufacturing process, it has a more uniform composition which makes it better than other alternatives.

L’OSB (or more commonly “oriented splinter panel”) can be used in many applications and in particular in green building.

Being a durable, natural, recyclable material with low environmental impact, OSB can be used with excellent results both for the structural part and for the manufacture of coverings or for the construction of furniture.

Also in this case, the market offers a wide range of options both in terms of size and thickness, strength and stiffness, allowing you to choose the best solution for your project without sacrificing quality.

OSB is also water resistant so can be used in humid environments without fear of warping, warping or rotting.

Among the many advantages of this material there is also the excellent price: having a very low cost, you will not have to worry about using it in experimental projects or skimping on the quantity for fear of not fit within the budget.

At the endOSB panels are also much stronger and more resistant than plywood.

6. EKOply

Perhaps it is known only to initiates, but theEKOply it is considered the most innovative green material par excellence.

Designed to be stronger and more durable than conventional plywood, EKOply is made from 100% recycled plastic and is also 100% recyclable.

It has a smooth surface, is versatile, very durable and resists mold and moisture.

But not only that, it is practically impossible to damage it because it is particularly resistant to paints and chemicals, unsurprisingly, it is used in environments with high public traffic such as schools, shopping centers, public offices , gymnasiums, youth centers, gymnasiums .. .

7. HDF (high density fiberboard)

High density fiberboard

L’FHD (High Density Fiberboard) is a wood fiber board constructed from high density pressed waste wood and joined by special adhesives and resins.

Its appearance is similar to rebuilt wood or medium density fiberboard, but it is more durable and much harder in comparison.

This material has been used for a very long time in furniture but is also appreciated in construction, especially as a insulating thermoacoustics, even if more and more often more sustainable alternatives are preferred.



Particleboard –

Formaldehyde emission classes europe – formaldehyde-emissions-in-europe

Sandwich panel –

Fiberglass –

OSB panel –

Green building techniques –

EKOply Sheets –

Wood fiber – differences between HDF, MDF and LDF –

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