CDX Plywood: How Is It Different?

CDX plywood might be a familiar term for some. While the word “plywood” is something you hear regularly, its different types often overlap. For DIY home enthusiasts, learning about the different types of plywood can be helpful.

CDX plywoodView in gallery

Join us as we explore CDX plywood and how it is different.

Plywood is versatile. It can be used for walls and subfloor for your home. You can also use it for projects to transform any space you desire. Let’s explore and learn more. 

What Is CDX Plywood?

What Is CDX PlywoodView in gallery

Unless you understand the letters “CDX,” it won’t t help you when selecting which plywood to use for your project.

CDX stands for:

  • C – veneer grade for one strip of plywood. 
  • D – veneer grade for one strip of plywood. 
  • X –glue used to connect both veneers. This makes the plywood durable and rugged. It has nothing to do with “exterior.”

Plywood Grade

Plywood GradeView in gallery
Image from Flickr.

 All plywood is assigned a letter grade. The following letters are:

A – plywood is smooth and doesn’t have knots. Free of imperfections and defects have been repaired with synthetic filler. It is intended for indoor use and can be painted.

B – plywood is smooth and sanded but can have up to one-inch knots across its surface and include defects. It is almost as smooth as A-grade plywood but with more flexible rules when grading it. 

C – plywood is not sanded, and it may have defects. These imperfections will be noticeable, but you can sand the plywood yourself. If used for subfloors, sanding  won’t be required. 

D – plywood isn’t sanded and may have more significant defects and knots over two inches wide. The grade is for exterior usage and not be considered for indoor top surfaces.

Mixed Grade – mixed grade plywood combines multiple grades. When more than one veneer is used, the CDX label is used, indicating mixed-grade plywood.

CDX Plywood Vs. CD Plywood

CDX Plywood Vs. CD PlywoodView in gallery

Because CD and CDX have similar names, people often confused them. Both use C and D-grade plywood. 

The X stands for the type of glue used to join the “C” and “D” plywood veneers together. CD plywood uses standard glue, while CDX uses special glue for plywood intended for exterior use.

The glue used for CDX plywood adds greater durability but doesn’t make it more attractive. 

Plywood Size Differences

Difference Sizes Of PlywoodView in gallery

CDX is a specific type of plywood and not a thickness indicator.  

  • 1/4-inch – thinner plywood will break. For CDX plywood, you shouldn’t use anything less than 1/4-inch, which works for indoor projects and cabinetry. 
  • 3/8-inch – only slightly more significant than the minimum safety allowance. If you want something that won’t break without adding too much, this will work. 
  • 1/2-inch –  very common. 1/2-inch plywood is the most common size, and if you’re unsure which size you need, then 1/2-inch will work for any project. 
  • 5/8-inch – also typical for most projects. While not as popular as the next larger or smaller size, it does work well. If it’s available, then go for it. You won’t regret the decision.  
  • 3/4-inch – ideal for thickness, but isn’t too wide for most projects. The plywood isn’t recommended for interior projects due to its weight. For exterior projects, this works well. 
  • 1-inch and more –if it’s thicker than 1-inch, you should know beforehand what your project will entail. Projects requiring greater durability would use plywood thicker than 1-inch. Projects requiring greater durability will use plywood thicker than 1-inch.

CDX Plywood Projects To Make With Scraps

After you’ve finished your plywood project; evaluate what you have leftover. You can do some fantastic projects with plywood scraps and only a few tools.

Plywood Mirror

Plywood MirrorView in gallery

A DIY plywood mirror is simple yet eye-catching. You’ll need to cut the shape from the plywood and then glue the mirror to it. It’s best to stencil the mirror’s shape beforehand, so you know where it will lay.

Next, you could use gorilla glue to affix the mirror to the plywood. According to the plywood’s thickness, you can use any plywood when assembling a full-sized or pocket mirror.

Plywood Tall Shelf

Plywood Tall ShelfView in gallery

When building a tall plywood shelf, thicker wood is better for vertical usage, while horizontal designs require flexibility over thickness. Those with the right power tools would find this to be an easy project.

First, saw the slots for the shelves, preferably a jigsaw tool. From there, you can slide them in and glue them together. Feel free to paint the plywood after you finish or before you put it together.

Plywood Kitchen Shelves

Plywood Kitchen ShelvesView in gallery

Who needs kitchen cabinets when you can create adorable kitchen cubbies like this? You can create kitchen cubbies out of plywood simply by choosing a wood joint and using it to secure each piece together.

Then, you secure the cubbies to the wall. If you want to save time and money, don’t worry about adding backs to the cubbies. Paint and design the cubbies however you wish for your kitchen. 

Plywood Coffee table

Plywood Coffee TableView in gallery

If you’re feeling bold, this gorgeous plywood coffee table should float your boat. You can build it by using legs of any kind and, most importantly, finishing your table correctly.

You can accomplish this with sanding, dusting, and varnish. Choose a varnish or wood finish that matches with your decor rather than something used by another person.

Custom Plywood Sign

Custom Plywood SignView in gallery

A custom plywood sign may be what you need to make your home more inviting. You’ll need to learn how to cut plywood. Afterward, use stencils or freehand to write your favorite words or motto.

“Live, Laugh, Love” is just one famous phrase, but feel free to explore your creativity to discover one that fits your personality. Use a phrase that inspires you while also speaking to house guests, regardless of how complex or straightforward the phrase may be.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Is OSB The Same As CDX Plywood?

OSB is not the same as CDX plywood. While they can both be used for similar projects, they aren’t entirely interchangeable. Learn the differences between OSB and plywood with this guide on the subject. 

What Happens if CDX Plywood Gets Wet?

CDX plywood is made for outdoor use. It can absorb water without harming the wood and will dry out quickly. But it should always have a moisture barrier in place and be covered with some type of covering, like roofing. 

Is CDX Plywood The Best Plywood?

CDX is considered the best in many cases. However, there isn’t a number one plywood overall. There is simply the best plywood for each job. The prettiest is A grade, while the strongest is D grade. 

How Much Does CDX Plywood Cost?

For an average CDX  that is 4×8 feet and 1/2-inch thick, you’ll spend roughly $30. Some companies may sell the same people for $15 while others for $45, but $30 is a good reference number when shopping.

Is CDX Plywood Treated?

CDX plywood is not necessarily treated. You will need to look for the term “pressure-treated” on the plywood itself if you want to know. The plywood grade is not related to whether it is treated. 

Is CDX Plywood Fire-Rated?

CDX plywood is better to use around fires than other plywood. But the treatment is really what affects the fire-rating. Treated wood is more fire-resistant than untreated wood, so check for this detail.

What Is The Difference Between CDX And ACX Plywood?

The difference is that ACX plywood will have a pretty and delicate side, while CDX will look much rougher. One side of the ACX plywood will be sanded and smooth. 

CDX Plywood: Conclusion

Although CDX plywood is the common choice among professional contractors when building exterior walls and roofs, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it. The DIY home improvement spirit continues to thrive, and homeowners have discovered the useful qualities of CDX plywood. As the trend continues, you shouldn’t hesitate to explore your creative abilities to find out what you could make that would improve your home or lifestyle.