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When Plywood Took Over Planks

Plywood Subfloor by Dayton Hardwood Co.

Plywood is a widely-used building material that has revolutionized the construction industry. It is a type of engineered wood that is made by gluing together several thin layers of wood veneers. The invention of plywood is credited to a British inventor named Samuel Bentham, who first used it in shipbuilding in the early 1800s. However, it wasn't until the early 20th century that plywood became popular as a general construction material.

One of the most significant advantages of plywood over solid wood is its strength and durability. Plywood is much more resistant to warping, cracking, and splitting than solid wood, making it an ideal material for subfloors. Before the invention of plywood, subfloors were typically made from solid wood planks that were nailed directly to the floor joists. This method had several drawbacks, including the tendency for the planks to warp and the difficulty of achieving a level surface.

With the introduction of plywood, subfloors could be made from a single, flat sheet of wood that was much less prone to warping and could be easily leveled. This made it possible to create a much more stable and even surface for installing hardwood flooring. Plywood also allowed for greater flexibility in the design of subfloor systems, as it could be cut to fit any shape or size of room.

Another advantage of plywood as a subfloor material is its ability to resist moisture. Solid wood subfloors are susceptible to damage from moisture, which can cause warping, rotting, and mold growth. Plywood, on the other hand, is much more resistant to moisture and can be treated to make it even more so. This makes it an ideal material for use in rooms that are prone to moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

The use of plywood as a subfloor material has had a significant impact on the installation of hardwood flooring. Prior to the widespread use of plywood, hardwood floors were often installed directly over the joists or over a layer of solid wood planks. This made the installation process much more difficult and time-consuming, as each individual plank had to be carefully fitted and nailed in place.

With the introduction of plywood, hardwood flooring could be installed much more easily and quickly. A single sheet of plywood could be laid over the subfloor, creating a smooth and level surface for the hardwood planks to be installed on top of. This not only made the installation process faster and more efficient, but also resulted in a better-looking and more durable floor.

Today, plywood is used in a wide variety of construction applications, from subfloors to walls, roofs, and even furniture. It is a versatile and durable material that has become an essential part of modern construction. And while the invention of plywood may seem like a small thing, it has had a profound impact on the way we build and live in our homes and buildings.

In conclusion, the invention of plywood has changed subfloors and created a better substrate for hardwood floor installations. Plywood's strength, durability, and resistance to moisture have made it an ideal material for use in subfloors, allowing for greater stability, flexibility, and ease of installation. Plywood has revolutionized the construction industry and has become an essential component of modern building design.

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