Weight of Plywood and OSB
And Other Engineered Wood Panels
Roof Online Staff
(Scroll to the bottom for the weight tables.)
The following tables provide typical weights (dead load, self-weight) for plywood, OSB, and other engineered wood panels. We provide metric and US standard weights for whole panels, weights per square foot, and weights per square meter. The weights we give were calculated using the product data sheets or manufacturer specifications of actual, specific wood panel products, and in most cases our weights are the average of product weights from more than one manufacturer.
Plywood is composed of approximately 92% - 97% wood, with the remainder made up by primers, sealants, and adhesives such as phenol formaldehyde resin. Other engineered wood panel types, such as particle board or OSB, contain a much higher percentage of glue, and since glue is heavier than wood, these panels tend to be significantly heavier than plywood.
Please note that the weight of plywood, OSB, etc., depends on the wood species used (different wood species have naturally different weights), the amounts and types of adhesives, sealants, and primers used, and other aspects of the manufacturing process, which can result in weight differences of up to 20% for the same kind of finished product from one manufacturer to the next, or even different weights for different batches of the same product from the same manufacturer.
Types of Plywood
And Other Engineered Wood Panels
APA Plywood Standard: The Engineered Wood Association (formerly the American Plywood Association) provides standard plywood weights for use in determining actual dead loads when performing structural engineering calculations. Softwood plywood is typically used as structural plywood (roof decking, sheathing, flooring). The APA Standard weights are not the weights of actual products and tend to be somewhat heavier than the weights of any real softwood plywood you will find.
A 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch APA Standard Plywood would weigh 48 lbs.
Baltic Birch Plywood: This is a high-quality plywood produced in Russia and other areas around the Baltic Sea. It is made up entirely of birch wood, so unlike some other hardwood plywood, it does not use softwood for the inner plies, and the inner plies are void-free, increasing its stability. Used mostly for furniture-making and cabinetry.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch Baltic Birch Plywood weighs around 55 lbs.
Hardwood Plywood: At least the front and back veneers (outer plies) of this plywood will be made of a hardwood species such as maple or oak. Although the inner plies may also be hardwood, more often they will be made of a cheaper softwood species. The hardwood veneers improve strength, stability, and impact-resistance, and it’s commonly used in applications where these qualities are desired, like flooring or wall paneling.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch Hardwood Plywood weighs around 48 lbs.
Marine Plywood: Despite its name, this is not a waterproof plywood. It is manufactured using water-resistant adhesive and very high quality outer plies which help prevent moisture from penetrating the panel. It is designed to be used where the material will be subjected to higher-than-normal amounts of moisture, such as in coastal environments.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch Marine Plywood weighs around 51 lbs.
Pressure-Treated Plywood: This is generally a softwood plywood that has been pressure-treated to help it resist decay caused by fungus, insects, and other organisms. Southern yellow pine is particularly well-suited for pressure treating, and most pressure-treated plywood will be pine. Special waterproof adhesives are used. Because of the adhesive and the fact that southern yellow pine is much heavier than other typical construction lumber species, pressure-treated plywood tends to be a heavy plywood, even after drying out. Before drying out, of course, it can be much, much heavier.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch Pressure-Treated Plywood weighs around 60 lbs.
Softwood Plywood: This is the type of plywood most commonly used in construction. Structural plywood is usually softwood plywood. It is used for wall sheathing, roof decks, subfloors, and more. Softwood plywood comes from coniferous trees, primarily fir, pine, or spruce. It is generally the lightest type of wood panel, due to the light weight of the wood species used, the (relatively) low amount of adhesive used in the manufacturing process, and the presence of unfilled voids within the inner plies. It is normally the cheapest plywood. CDX plywood is a grade of softwood plywood.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch Softwood Plywood weighs around 43 lbs.
MDF: Medium Density Fiberboard is produced from wood scraps left over from other wood product manufacturing activities. This waste wood can be either hardwood or softwood. The scraps are broken down into very small wood fibers, which are combined with wax and adhesive resin to form the MDF panels. MDF does not handle moisture well, and is normally only used for interior applications, such as flooring or furniture. Because of the high resin content, it tends to be one of the heaviest engineered panels.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch MDF weighs around 69 lbs.
MDO: Medium Density Overlay is a type of exterior plywood specifically designed to be painted easily, holding the paint better, and looking better after painting, than other plywoods. The wood plies are typically softwood, and a smooth layer (the overlay) of highly water-resistant resin is applied to one or both sides of the panel.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch MDO weighs around 48 lbs.
Particle Board: The product generally known as “particle board” is similar to MDF. It’s made with similar manufacturing techniques, but the end product is cheaper, weaker, and of lower density. It is also called LDF (low density fiberboard).
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch Particle Board weighs around 66 lbs.
OSB: Oriented Strand Board is plywood’s biggest competitor as a structural wood panel in North America. In large-scale commercial construction, it has largely replaced softwood plywood in wall sheathing, roof sheathing, and subflooring applications. This, of course, is due to the fact that a sheet of OSB costs about 20% less than the equivalent sheet of plywood. OSB is made by breaking down wood into small strips, or “strands”, up to 6 inches long, combining these strands with wax and adhesive resin under pressure and heat to form layers (in which the strands are all generally “oriented” in the same direction), and combining these layers to achieve the desired panel thickness. The wood strands in the outer layers are oriented one way, and the strands in the interior layers are oriented the other way, which increases panel strength. OSB is manufactured in a slightly different range of thicknesses than plywood.
A typical 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/2-inch OSB weighs around 54 lbs.
The values given in the following tables are meant to provide a general idea of typical engineered wood panel weights, and should not be used if precise values are needed for critical engineering calculations. When precision is necessary, always refer to the specification sheet for the actual, specific product you intend to use, or contact the technical department of the panel manufacturer.