types of plates

Today in the market we can find different classes or types of wooden boards, whether solid or composite. All of them with very different properties and prices.

For those who are not used to working with them, the decision can be complex, or worse, very simple when identifying everyone as similar, which would lead us to an error.

Each type of plate was manufactured with a number of uses in mind. Some are more resistant to knocks, others to twist, to water, some are designed to support decorative elements, etc.

Types of wooden boards

We can classify them according to several criteria. According to the material and manufacturing process or according to the finish or coating they receive. Don’t forget that the combination is common.

According to its composition

Laminated Board or Edge glue board

solid or slatted

Solid wood slabs are basically glued wooden slats that form a slab, which is known as a strip slab. For joining, in addition to glues and adhesives, billets, grooves or toothed connections can be used.

As for the characteristics of this type of board, the wood used for its manufacture will provide: aesthetics, durability or resistance.

For example, if we are going to manufacture a kitchen countertop, we will be interested in a dense and shock-resistant wood, for outdoor furniture a wood with durability against humidity and insect attack.


chipboard or wood particles

For the manufacture of these slabs, sawdust and / or particles of different woods are used, crushed, pressed and joined by glues or glues. Additives can be added to improve some characteristics: greater resistance to water or mold, fire …

They are mainly sold covered with melamine, a type of finish that we will talk about later.

Crude, without their characteristic melamine layer, these types of agglomerates have a very residual use due to their rough appearance.

Forms: Indoor furniture, crafts, insulation, panels and construction.

Fiberboard, DM or MDF

dm or mdf

For this type of cardboard, small wood fibers are used, less than those used for agglomerates, which are pressed and glued. During the industrial manufacturing process, chemical components are also often added to improve the properties of the board. More often, water repellent plates, of greater water resistance, and fire retardant, fire retardant.

They can be found raw and with layers of melamine, so their uses are similar to those of chipboard. However, a differential to highlight is that they are an excellent support for the application of finishes (varnishes, enamels, lacquers …), since their texture, besides being smoother, allows sanding.

Although these fiber boards are known as MDF or DM (medium density), these acronyms only refer to an approximate density of 650-700 kg / m³. If the density is higher, the logic is to talk about HDF (high density fiberboard), and if less, low density.

Forms: Indoor furniture, indoor carpentry (friezes, moldings, baseboards, …), coverings, floors …

Plywood board

plywood board

Plywood boards are formed by stacking wood veneers, with opposite orientations to improve strength and stability, and applying glues for fixing them. This type of board has great resistance and depending on the treatment applied it can even be used in contact with water, so it is also known in some places as marine veneer, marine board.

This possible resistance to moisture is due to the use of phenolic glues, so we speak of phenolic plywood.

In some cases, the outer leaves are made of noble or precious woods. The reason is that these wooden panels will be used for decorative and not just structural purposes. Melamine plywood for decorative purposes is also common.

Forms: Construction, panels, insulation, furniture, crafts, boat making.

Within the plywood there are also different classes:

  • Finnish panel or bodybuilder. Made of birch with the addition of phenolic film that improves abrasion resistance. It is used for floors or decks of boats, vans, stages …
  • Flexible plywood. The orientation of the plates is modified to facilitate the bending process. Its use is exclusively decorative.

3 ply board

three layer board

Halfway between the solid plates / strips and the plywood are the three-layer plates.

They consist of 3 layers of wood in which the directions alternate to improve stability and resistance to bending. It is common to recognize them by the yellow coating, which has the function of protecting the wood to maximize the number of times that can be reused.

Forms: Mainly in the area of ​​shape construction.

OSB: Oriented strand board

osb or oriented chips

It consists of using chips, larger than those used to make chipboard, to form layers. In each layer, all the chips are in the same direction. And these layers are coming together, alternating the direction of the chips. This achieves an effect similar to that obtained in plywood boards, alternating the directions of the sheets.

They offer considerable resistance, so their use is recommended in the construction of structures. In the construction sector, they have largely replaced plywood, as it has similar characteristics at a significantly lower price.

From the aesthetic point of view, it leaves much to be desired, so it is usually covered with other materials or paints are applied. Although on the other hand there are many people who seek this aesthetic.

Forms: Construction, panels, insulation, furniture.


microlaminate panel

Plate formed by the union of wood veneers, although unlike plywood, in the microlaminate the veneers are glued, keeping all the same grain sense. On some occasions, to improve the stability of the tray, the blades are inserted in the transversal direction, although they never exceed 20%.

They represent an improvement over solid or sawn wood in terms of stability and strength, although they are not as balanced as plywood. In other words, it has considerably more resistance in the direction perpendicular to the fiber.

This type of wood is used much more as a structural element (beams) than as a board. Firs, pines or beech are mainly used for their manufacture.

Forms: Furniture, countertops, stairs, shelves, floors …

HPL boards

hpl sheet metal

This type of cardboard is composed of cellulosic and phenolic glues subjected to high temperatures and pressures. The result is plates with excellent technical characteristics. It is not only resistant to abrasion and shock, it is also resistant to moisture and can even be used outdoors.

These sheets or HPL can be used to form plates, which would become a compact HPL plate, or to cover other plates and thus improve their characteristics. The last case is that of some types of kitchen countertops, plywood, etc.

Forms: Indoor and outdoor furniture, coverings, countertops for bathrooms and kitchens, carpentry (doors, partitions) …

Wood and cement board

wooden cement board

They consist of a combination of wood and cement. The result is a very versatile and resistant plate, which can be used even outdoors.

The main component is cement, then crushed wood, water and, finally, pigments and other components.

Its characteristics include resistance to water, fire and ease of mechanization. They are good value for money.

Forms: Facade cladding, carpentry (doors, partitions, floors) …

Lightened Boards

light plates

On some occasions, plates with greater lightness may be necessary, although this implies some disadvantages, such as less resistance. This need may occur in the manufacture of doors, some types of wall and ceiling coverings, furniture, etc.

There are different methods for lighting the plates. The main ones are:

  • Replace a percentage of the particles used to make the agglomerate with much lighter synthetic polymers. In this case, the result in terms of resistance is not compromised. It is necessary to add MDF sheets to the sides of the card to obtain a smooth surface.
  • Hollow structures. In this case, wooden structures are constructed (other materials such as cardboard can also be used) that allow empty spaces or are emptied, and that are later covered with leaves. They can be honeycomb, honeycomb or knotted … They are used in the manufacture of interior doors, shelves, desks, furniture …

Phenolic Boards

This time it is not a type of advice in itself, however, given the relevance of the concept, we believe it is important to treat it as such.

When we talk about phenolic plates, what we are really talking about is the use of phenolic glues or adhesives. These used on materials that have sufficient stability make them suitable for outdoor use and to withstand certain levels of humidity. This is the case for plywood, OSB or compact HPL.

Types of plates according to their coating

In this case, it is some kind of plate like the ones mentioned above, to which some coating is applied, usually for decorative purposes, although this does not have to be the only reason.

They are used mainly for the manufacture of furniture, but also for panels, interior carpentry, etc.


melamine coated

They are basically chipboard or MDF boards to which layers of printed melamine are superimposed for aesthetic purposes. This is the most common way to find wooden planks. We can also find, although not as commonly, plywood melamine.

They are an economical solution on wooden boards. They allow you to get the look and feel of any material at a much lower cost. Ironically, what is most often imitated are the different types or species of wood.

When using melamine sheets for coating, it is common to use chipboard or MDF water repellent and fire retardant.

The advantage of this type of melamine plates is that they come with a durable and resistant finish. They significantly reduce the labor and labor required and therefore also the cost of labor.

Forms: Furniture, coatings, crafts.

With veneer


Inside the decorative wooden panels, the veneers are on top. They consist of plates on which a decorative natural wood veneer. This affects not only the appearance, but also the texture.

They can be sanded and finished. They can even be repaired if the damage is not great. It costs more than melamine panels, but never solid wood.

As a support for veneer, agglomerates, MDF and plywood can be used. The decision will depend on the use.

HPL coating

It is increasingly common to cover other types of slabs with a few millimeter sheet with high pressure laminates.

This achieves not only a decorative surface, but also a resistant one. It is common in the manufacture of countertops (made of chipboard and coated with HPL), plywood, etc.

Varnished, Varnished …

These are essentially slabs to which some type of finish has been applied: varnish, lacquer, enamel …

They are unusual. It is much more common for this type of finish to be applied on site or in the workshop upon request.

Articles of Boards