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Plywood vs. HDHMR — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 24, 2024
Plywood is versatile building material made from thin layers of wood veneer glued together. HDHMR (High-Density High Moisture Resistance) is an engineered wood product known for its high density and moisture resistance, often used in high-humidity areas.
Plywood vs. HDHMR — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Plywood and HDHMR


Key Differences

Plywood is made by gluing together thin layers of wood veneers, with the grain of each layer oriented at right angles to the adjacent layers, enhancing its strength and reducing expansion and shrinkage. HDHMR, on the other hand, is an engineered wood product made from wood fiber extracted from chips and pulped wood waste, designed to have higher density and moisture resistance compared to conventional plywood, making it suitable for areas with high humidity.
In terms of application, plywood is widely used for a variety of purposes, including furniture, cabinetry, and structural applications, due to its strength and ease of workability. HDHMR is particularly favored in environments where exposure to water or high humidity is common, such as in kitchen cabinets and bathroom furniture. While plywood offers versatility, HDHMR provides enhanced performance in moisture-prone areas.
Plywood can vary in quality and is available in various grades, depending on the type of wood used and the manufacturing process. HDHMR is generally consistent in quality and density, given its engineered nature. Plywood's quality may vary based on factors like wood type and adhesive used, whereas HDHMR offers more uniform quality and performance.
Plywood has a natural wood appearance, which can be an advantage when a natural look is desired. HDHMR boards usually come laminated or pre-finished and can mimic the appearance of wood, but they do not have the natural wood grain texture of plywood. Aesthetic preferences often dictate the choice between the natural look of plywood and the more uniform finish of HDHMR.

Comparison Chart


Layers of wood veneer
Wood fibers with high density and moisture resistance


Furniture, cabinetry, structural uses
Kitchen cabinets, areas with high moisture

Quality Variability

Varies depending on grade and wood type
Generally consistent in quality and density

Moisture Resistance

Moderate, varies with grade
High moisture resistance

Aesthetic Appearance

Natural wood look
Laminated or pre-finished, lacks natural grain

Compare with Definitions


Natural Appearance: Features a wood grain look.
I prefer the natural look of plywood for cabinets.


High Density: Known for its density.
HDHMR boards are ideal for heavy-use furniture.


Strength: Has cross-grained strength.
Plywood's strength makes it ideal for load-bearing structures.


Engineered Wood: Made from compressed wood fibers.
HDHMR is a strong, engineered wood product.


Versatile Use: Suitable for various applications.
Plywood is great for both furniture and construction.


Moisture Resistance: Highly resistant to moisture.
We used HDHMR in the kitchen due to its moisture resistance.


Layered Wood: Made of thin wood veneers.
We used plywood for the bookshelf.


Uniform Quality: Consistent in quality and texture.
I appreciate HDHMR's uniformity for my projects.


Grade Variability: Available in different grades.
We chose high-grade plywood for better quality.


Laminated Finish: Often comes with a laminated surface.
The HDHMR board came with a sleek laminated finish.


A structural material made of layers of wood glued together, usually with the grains of adjoining layers at right angles to each other.


(uncountable) Construction material supplied in sheets, and made of three or more layers of wood veneer glued together, laid up with alternating layers having their grain perpendicular to each other.
After the hurricane there was a severe regional shortage of plywood, especially exterior plywood.


(countable) A specific grade or type of this construction material.
We stock exterior plywoods, interior plywoods, and furniture plywoods.


(transitive) To fit or block up with plywood.


A laminate made of thin layers of wood

Common Curiosities

Is HDHMR suitable for outdoor use?

HDHMR is better suited for indoor applications, particularly in high-humidity areas.

How does the cost of plywood compare to HDHMR?

Plywood varies in cost based on grade and type, while HDHMR tends to be more consistently priced, generally on the higher end due to its specialized features.

What is HDHMR?

HDHMR is an engineered wood product, high in density and moisture resistance, used in moisture-prone environments.

What is plywood?

Plywood is a material made by gluing layers of wood veneer, known for its strength and versatility.

Can plywood be used in outdoor applications?

Yes, but it should be specially treated or graded for outdoor use.

How does HDHMR perform under heavy load?

HDHMR, with its high density, performs well under heavy loads, making it suitable for robust furniture.

Can you paint over HDHMR?

Yes, HDHMR can be painted, though its laminated surface may require specific preparation for best results.

Is plywood environmentally friendly?

Plywood's environmental friendliness depends on the source of the wood and the manufacturing process; sustainably sourced plywood is more eco-friendly.

Does HDHMR contain formaldehyde?

Like many engineered woods, HDHMR may contain formaldehyde, but levels and safety depend on manufacturing standards.

What is the lifespan of plywood compared to HDHMR?

Both have long lifespans, but HDHMR often lasts longer in humid conditions due to its moisture resistance.

How do I know if HDHMR is right for my project?

Consider using HDHMR if your project requires material with high moisture resistance and durability, particularly for indoor use.

Can plywood be recycled?

Plywood can be recycled or repurposed, but its recyclability depends on the type of glue used and whether it has been treated or painted.

Can HDHMR be used for structural purposes?

HDHMR is typically not used for structural purposes; it's more for cabinetry and furniture in moisture-prone areas.

Is plywood easy to work with?

Plywood is generally user-friendly, easily cut, and shaped for various projects.

Are there different types of plywood?

Yes, plywood comes in various types and grades, each suited for different applications.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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