Our countertops are often a showpiece in our home. There are also times when we want to use something different to save money. Can you use plywood for countertops and be happy with it?
Plywood can be used for creating affordable and durable countertops. It is an excellent choice if you prepare the area and add a suitable finish. Using plywood is a great way to save money and show creativity when making countertops.
As you can imagine, there are differences in the type of plywood you can use for this purpose. When choosing your plywood, keep a few different things in mind. Options would include the thickness, the grade, and the finish.
When creating plywood countertops for clients, the most important thing we consider is the thickness of the material. The thickness can make a difference in the quality of the countertop and its durability.
You would rarely ever use plywood under 3/4 inch thickness for any countertop. The only reason you would use thinner plywood is if you use plywood as a cover on an existing countertop.
Three-quarter-inch thick plywood can stand up to most day-to-day use. If you are going to be storing heavy items on the countertop or if you will be using it for a crafting workbench, then three-quarter inch is also sufficient for your needs.
On the other hand, there may be instances where you want to use thicker plywood. It can add some durability and strength, especially if using the countertop for heavy use, such as an occasional workbench.
Along with the thickness of the plywood, it’s also essential to choose the correct grade. The plywood grade will make a difference in the appearance and the possibility of future issues.
Grade A: As the highest quality option, this plywood will have fewer flaws but will not be flawless. All plywood is going to have some issues, so it’s crucial to inspect the plywood before purchasing.
Grade B: You will likely have to do some minor repairs to grade B plywood before the project is finished. Most of the minor flaws are cosmetic and not structural.
Grade C: Once you reach this grade of plywood, you can expect knots and other visible issues to be evident. The knots can be up to 1.5 inches, so they can cause serious problems if they pop out.
Grade D: This is not recommended as plywood for countertops if esthetics are important. The knots can add character, but the flaws can be significant in grade D plywood. Even if you build a countertop in a workshop, it’s better to go with higher quality.
Exterior: Use this plywood with caution. It can be a benefit if you make an exterior countertop or one in an area exposed to moisture. Because of the chemicals used for treating it, it is better to make a different choice.
Along with your plywood selection, you should also be cautious when working with it. Cutting plywood can expose you to unknown dust, including formaldehyde. Make sure you wear a respirator and safety glasses.
Should You Use Plywood For Countertop?
Plywood is an excellent choice for countertops. It can be used in any area of the home, but are there any concerns to consider in advance?
Below, you will see some of the primary problems with using plywood as a countertop. As a contractor, I can tell you that these are valid concerns, but they should not keep you from using plywood.
When you understand the problems with using any product, you can take the necessary steps to avoid significant issues.
Cost: It may surprise you that we consider costs to be one of the issues with plywood. Many people choose plywood because it is less expensive than other countertop materials.
Consider the entire cost of using plywood. You have an extra cost associated with finishing it. If it is used frequently, it will need to be replaced more often.
The initial cost may be less when using plywood, but that is not the only financial consideration.
Moisture: It is not uncommon for plywood countertops to be damaged when exposed to moisture. Like any wood, plywood will soak in water, but it can warp more than other types of wood.
Even exposure to changes in humidity can make a difference in using plywood. That is why it is important to treat and protect the wood properly.
Standing water on the plywood countertop is a severe problem. You can avoid that, but you should also finish the countertop with mineral oil or another material to protect it.
Refinishing: Once you begin using the countertop regularly, you may find that it gets damaged easily. Plywood will look great when it is finished properly but the surface is still somewhat soft and could easily scratch or dent.
As you use the countertop, you may sand it occasionally to remove the imperfections. The good news is when you do so, you have a beautiful countertop again. The bad news is, you will likely replace the countertop within 10 years.
Heat: If you plan on using plywood in an area of the home where heat is an issue, such as in the kitchen, you may be in for some trouble. You would not want to put a hot pan directly on the plywood or it would damage it.
You can overcome this issue by using hot pads or protecting the countertop in other ways.
Resale Value: If you sell your home, you may not get the best value if you have a plywood countertop. Other upgraded countertops, such as granite or marble are a much better choice for improving the resale value.
What Preparations Do You Need To Use Plywood For Countertop?
Preparing for your new plywood countertop is important. It will help to make the job easier and when you install it, you will be happier with the finished product.
Consider the following steps when preparing for a new plywood countertop.
1. Countertop Removal: The first step in the process is to remove the old countertop. Countertop removal can be an extensive project, depending on the countertop you are removing.
When removing the countertop, you must be cautious not to leave anything behind. Any nails or screws sticking up above the surface will affect the installation of plywood.
Copyright protected content owner: ReadyToDIY.com and was initially posted on May 16, 2023.
In some cases, you may be able to put a thin layer of plywood over an existing countertop. That is an excellent way to dress up a damaged countertop if you don’t want to remove it.
2. Measure: At times, countertops may have some unusual angles, making measuring for the plywood countertop difficult. The key is to install the new countertop using as few sheets of plywood as possible.
Depending on the grade of plywood being used, you may need to choose the sheet of plywood carefully. Even lower-grade plywood can be used at times if you can strategically work around larger knots and flaws.
PRO TIP: Create a template countertop using cardboard. You can then lay out the pieces on the sheets of plywood to create your new countertop using as few sheets as possible.
3. Acclimate: Bring the plywood sheets into the area where the countertop will be installed at least 48 hours before work begins. Doing so will allow the plywood to acclimate appropriately to the temperature and humidity.
Copyright article owner is ReadyToDiy.com for this article. This post was first published on May 16, 2023.
4. Cut the Plywood: One of the biggest problems with plywood is that it tends to splinter when you cut it. You can minimize the splintering, but it is practically impossible to avoid it altogether.
One way to minimize the splintering is to cut the plywood with the finished side up using a table saw. Use a fine-toothed saw blade.
You can also score the cut line with a utility knife on both sides of the plywood before cutting. Use a piece of painter’s tape to help minimize splintering during the cutting process.
5. Protect the Bottom: The bottom of the countertop may be hidden from sight but it is not hidden from moisture. Protect the bottom of the plywood sheet as much as possible to avoid future problems.
How To Use Plywood For Countertop
Now that you have adequately prepared to install a plywood countertop, it’s time to install it. Here are some options to help you make the most of your new countertop.
Use Glue: It is important to use glue when attaching the plywood countertop to the top of the cupboards. Doing so will add an extra bond and help the screws or nails to hold better.
Screw from Underneath: The countertop should be attached from underneath. You must pre drill the holes and measure carefully so you don’t pop a screw through the top of the countertop and ruin it.
Installing Sinks: If you have a sink or another item to install, you can cut the plywood after it has been installed. Use a router to clean up the edges properly. It is better to use a sink with a lip to hide imperfections.
Seams: Wood filler should be used to fill any seams. It can be sanded smooth for a practically flawless finish.
Finish: Either stain or paint should be used to finish the plywood countertop. It will offer some protection and make the countertop look beautiful.
Plywood can be used for countertops if you prepare the area properly and seal the plywood after installation. It’s a cost-effective way to add beauty to the home and functionality to any space.
ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 16, 2023.