Almost all hardwood plywood is available in several optional cores or "substrates". This is the material over which a thin decorative face and back veneer is applied. Core selection is often a compromise between performance characteristics and price. While the core makes up most of the volume of wood in a panel, it has much less impact on the price of a panel than the face and back veneers. There are three common categories of cores*, and each category contains several variations. The categories are:
CORE SELECTION COMPARISON CHART
|Flatness||Visual Edge||Surface Uniformity||Dimensional Stability||Screw Hiding||Bending Strength||Thickness Tolerance||Costs|
|1 Step Veneer||1||3||2||5||5||5||1||$$|
|2 Step Veneer||3||3||2||5||5||5||2||$$$|
|1 Step Armorcore ®||4||4||5||4||4||5||2||$$|
|2 Step Armorcore ®||5||4||5||4||4||5||4||$$$|
* Lumber and OSB cores represent less than 1% of US domestic production.