Solid wood vs Plywood, Which is Superior?

Wood is still the prima donna material among the many types of building materials available. Even though now many artificial materials have been created, wood is still an idol. Not a few people like wood because of its quality, strength, and charm. As a natural building material, wood is timeless and irreplaceable. Although now there are artificial wood materials, natural wood is still number one.

Currently, there are already so many artificial materials that are made to look as close as possible to the wood. Examples are MDF boards, particle boards, HPL, and others. Among these various artificial woods, plywood is the most widely used by the community. Plywood is also known as plywood or multiplex. This board is made of sawdust which is printed and then pressed using high pressure until finally the sheets of wood planks are formed.

Solid wood vs Plywood

Let’s compare the quality of solid wood / real wood with plywood/plywood from various aspects! Which wood is superior?


We are sure you can guess which wood is better if we compare solid wood and plywood according to its strength, right? Your answer is very correct. Solid wood has much better strength than plywood. Even some types of wood have a strength that is almost equivalent to iron so that they are called ironwood. The strength of plywood is nothing when we compare it to solid wood.


Actually whether or not a wood material lasts very much depends on the way we care for it. Likewise with the level of durability of solid wood and plywood. However, if we conclude from the average results, solid wood has a much better durability rate than plywood. Your maintenance is said to be good if your plywood product can last more than 5 years. But some types of solid wood have ages of up to hundreds of years.


The ease that is meant here is the ease of processing materials to form a product that we want. How easily can we craft solid wood or plywood? The raw material for plywood is quite difficult to process and form into work. You have to be extra careful in processing this material so that the results are neat and even. In contrast to solid wood which has various types. Starting from wood that is very easy to work with to solid wood that is very difficult to work with.


Every object must have an economic value. So it is with wood, regardless of its type. Wood definitely has a value that makes it valuable. If we compare the value of solid wood and the value of plywood, the result is that solid wood contains a higher value than plywood. Solid wood is a valuable and expensive item. Prices for some types of solid wood can even reach 100 times that of plywood. Plywood is a wood that has low economic value.


In terms of appearance, plywood is slightly superior to solid wood under certain conditions. The plywood is always produced with a very impressive appearance. The surface of this plywood is flat, the texture is smooth, and the appearance is neat. In contrast to solid wood, which is usually sold freshly cut and unmade. But once solid wood gets its finishing touch, its appearance can instantly beat plywood.


Honestly, maintaining plywood is a pretty solid job. Because this board material is not very resistant to water. Even air that is too humid can damage the plywood little by little. You have to pay extra attention to caring for plywood-based products so that they are in good condition. Meanwhile, wood products made from solid wood generally do not require too complicated maintenance. As long as you regularly clean and check the condition, the product will definitely last.


Because it comes entirely from nature, solid wood does not have any negative impact on human health. This wood is 100% safe to use. You don’t have to worry at all about using this solid wood. Even for some types of solid wood, it has good health benefits thanks to the natural aroma it releases. While on the other hand, plywood is a product that can hurt health. The chemicals used to make plywood give off a pungent, dangerous odor. Reportedly this smell can also lead to cancer.


The only advantage the plywood has is its price. The price of plywood is indeed cheaper than solid wood. Because basically plywood was created as a substitute for solid wood at a more affordable price for the community. At least the price of plywood is much lower than the prices for teak, rosewood, and other premium-quality woods. If your budget is limited, this plywood material can be the right choice.

Plywood is also called artificial wood. Wondering what is the difference between solid and artificial wood.

Here it is:

Solid wood vs artificial wood

When you walk into a furniture store or furniture store, you might glance at cool furniture or furniture that catches your heart, then what is the first time you check? The price is definitely right!

Did you know that one of the factors that affect the price is the material used? Furniture or furniture made of solid wood always costs more than artificial wood furniture, but this is wrong! At certain furniture websites, you can make furniture or furniture such as shelves, cabinets, dining tables, kitchen sets, and others with solid wood but for artificial wood.  How come? Because certain furniture websites have worked directly with professional household craftsmen, eliminating various costs such as employee salaries, shop electricity costs, showroom rental fees, and warehouse/inventory costs.

But actually, this is not what I want to talk about here. I will reveal the important secrets of the difference between solid wood and artificial wood from various sides. Now let’s see what artificial wood is.

Artificial wood

Artificial wood is wood that has been processed using a machine to form a board or wooden planks that are ready for use. The most popular types of artificial wood are plywood (multiplex or plywood) and medium density board (MDF). Surely you hear this often, right?

Plywood (multiplex or plywood)

Plywood is made of veneer sheets (3mm thick wood layer) which are stacked together using a press machine. Humans started making plywood because of the need for very wide boards where the use of solid wood was at risk of shrinkage effects (warping, twisting, and breaking/cracking). In appearance, plywood is very similar to solid wood but on the sides, the layers of a pile of wood are clearly visible.

MDF (medium-density board)

Medium-density board is artificial wood made from crushed pieces of solid wood. MDF is currently popular in the furniture industry and is usually used in offices. These flakes are washed and then boiled at a certain temperature and time until they become soft. Then after the defibrillator process, these small soft flakes are mixed with wax and glue before entering the pressing process. MDF is usually used for economical furniture or furniture combined with veneers (wood veneers).

Note: however, you need to be careful with furniture made from MDF because it has a high risk of causing cancer. A mixture of glue made from formaldehyde resin as a wood adhesive and dust into planks of boards can cause eye, nose, throat, and even lung irritation even though it is only a low level of contact.

Apart from formaldehyde, MDF surfaces can easily store wood dust. This dust has very small particles that can cause asthma, especially for workers in factories. If you have just bought office furniture such as a computer desk or cabinet, you will often find thin dust (especially at the bottom).

According to the iarc ( international agency for cancer research), a sub-organization of the who (world health organization) found that wood dust is a carcinogen (cancer-causing) and formaldehyde also has the same likelihood at carcinogen 3 levels, which means it has the potential to cause cancer, so the suggestion is that I am reducing the use of furniture made from MDF.

These cancer-causing materials can last a long time and spread to all corners of your home or office. Imagine your children or family sleeping on them and inhaling these harmful substances. Do a little research on formaldehyde on google to get a better understanding. There is also a great article written by an investor, financial author, and business owner named Joshua a. Kennon entitled  “why I avoid MDF and furniture built with MDF and think you should too”.

For those who have continued to have furniture made from MDF, pay attention to the following tips:

  1. Leave the doors and drawers of recently purchased furniture or furniture open unused for several days or weeks to release the formaldehyde content of the artificial board material.
  2. Ask a furniture or furniture seller about the type of MDF they use. Furniture that uses the e1 or e0 type is definitely more expensive because e1 and e0 are international standards. E0 has less than 3 milligrams of formaldehyde for every 100 grams of glue used. E1 and e2, are classified as containing 9 and 30 grams of formaldehyde per 100 grams of glue.

Solid wood

Wood that is cut straight from the tree into wooden sheets. Popular tree species in Indonesia are teak, mahogany, tamarind, pine, and nyatoh. I have discussed in detail the types of solid wood in the previous article. The household craftsmen who work with certain furniture websites mostly use teak wood, which is wood of the highest quality in its class. Craftsmen rarely use plywood or MDF because furniture or handmade furniture usually uses solid wood.

Why is solid wood better than artificial wood?

  • The appearance of the
    wood grain and its color will look very natural, elegant, and very beautiful.
  • Durability
    solid wood can last a very long time from generation to generation. Unlike artificial wood, most solid wood will withstand water.
  • Treatment
    slight scratches on wood surfaces can be easily repaired. Wood finishes are also very diverse and can be changed easily.
  • Design
    furniture artists or furniture craftsmen can make ornaments and detailed carvings on solid wood. Classy classic furniture requires quality solid wood.

Note: Now you may be aware of the difference between the two, please also consider other websites for their opinion like mine and then decide what is good for you.

Coming back to the price, solid wood is definitely and rightly more expensive than artificial wood. But you need to know that the craftsmen at certain furniture websites can make your dream furniture with solid wood which is very economical. Of course, still prioritizing the best quality because as you know that certain furniture websites have cut unnecessary costs as is usually the burden of large furniture companies.

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