The Uses of Film-Faced Plywood

Written by natasha parks
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The Uses of Film-Faced Plywood
Melamine or phenol film-faced plywood is useful in a variety of applications. (build new image by Yulaki Khvenchuk from

Film-faced plywood is an exterior birch plywood used in building and construction projects. It has a special film coating on its surface made from phenol or melamine on either or both sides which gives the plywood a higher resistance to moisture, abrasion, chemical degradation and fungal attack compared to ordinary plywood.

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Building and Construction

Because of its increased stability and resistance to moisture, ultraviolet radiation and corrosive chemicals, film-faced plywood is ideal for outdoor applications such as the external surfaces of new buildings. The extra film layer and acrylic varnished edges of this type of plywood make it more durable and less able to distort when used outdoors in harsh weather and adverse conditions. Buildings in direct sunlight are less prone to wear and tear if they are made from film-faced plywood, at least as part of the overall structure.

Shuttering Boxes

Ordinary plywood is also used in the construction industry for processing; for example, to create what are known as shuttering boxes, which are used to stabilise and constrain wet concrete as it dries. Film-faced plywood is especially resistant to damage from water, so makes a resilient, long-lasting shuttering box which can be used repeatedly before it needs replacing. The standard density of film-faced birch plywood is 680 to 700 kilograms per meter squared, compared with only 650 to 700 kilograms per meter cubed for ordinary plywood.

Industrial Development

An interesting application of film-faced plywood is during the construction and maintenance of dams. The plywood is useful for forming level moulding boards and girder moulding boards, which need to be resistant to strong forces, large amounts of fast-flowing water and yet still maintain their structural integrity and shape. There is a choice of thicknesses available, depending on requirements, from 12mm, 15mm and 18mm to 21mm, 24mm and 27mm. Some examples can reach 30mm.

Domestic Applications

Film-faced plywood remains strong and geometrically sound during several successive mechanical treatments, which means it can be put through the different stages of furniture making, for instance, without warping or bowing and undergoing the common effects of mechanical stress. Added together with its other properties, including water resistance, anti-slip and flexibility, it is clear why this type of plywood suits the furniture industry. According to the blog See See Plywood, film-faced plywood is also referred to as "WBP" or water-boiled proof plywood, which can be boiled in water for up to 20 hours without delamination, meaning the loss of its melamine laminated surface.

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