Core Comparison

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:

VENEER CORES
COMPOSITE CORES
HYBRIDS OR "COMBINATION CORES"

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 $$
2 Step Veneer 3 3 2 5 5 5 2 $$$
Particleboard 5 3 5 3 1 3 5 $
MDF 5 5 5 3 3 3 5 $$
1 Step Armorcore ® 4 4 5 4 4 5 2 $$
2 Step Armorcore ® 5 4 5 4 4 5 4 $$$

Click here for a PDF of this chart.

* Lumber and OSB cores represent less than 1% of US domestic production.