Knowledge Corner

Do you know What are the types of wood used in interiors design..


  • Base Materials
  • Finishing Types
  • Hardwares


Wood – Plywood/MDF/Particle Board


Plywood is widely used in interior industry, these are thin sheets of wood glued together; it comes in many specifications based on the chemical treatment & glue used to bind the sheets. The specifications determine the type of use. Plywood is available from 2 mm to 38 mm thickness.

  • A.Common Plywood: IS 303 specifications, it is divided into two:

  • 1.MR Grade
    • •MR grade stands for Moisture Resistant , is basically a regular plywood, it also called as commercial ply in layman’s’ terms, it can be used everywhere except bathrooms and kitchens.
  • 2.BWR Grade
    • •BWR grade stands for Boiling Water Resistant plywood (also called as Boiling Water Proof) can withstand up to 8 hrs in boiling water, this is ideal plywood used in Kitchens. The glue used to bind the ply sheets is formaldehyde.

  • B.Fire Retardant Plywood: BIS IS 5509:2000

    • •This plywood BWR grade ply coated with diammonium nitrogen phosphate and does not encourage spreading of flames and has the quality to retain strength for quite some time even under fire. They are used in railway pantry, malls, hotels and commercial kitchens.
  • C.Marine Plywood: BIS IS 710:

    • •This plywood is used for making ships and boats and can withstand upto 78 hrs in boiling water. The ply sheets are bonded with phenol formaldehyde.

MDF: Medium Density Fibre Board

These density fibre boards are made from wood pulp and fibers, bound with wax and resin and compressed under high temperature. They are engineered wood; they are relatively cheaper than plywood and have a very smooth surface.

  • Types:
  • 1.LDF – Low Density Fibre Board – Density 400-00 Kg/m3
  • 2.MDF- Medium Density Fibre Board – Density 600-800 Kg/m3
  • 3.HDF – High Density Fibre Board – Density 700-1450 Kg/m3

There are no ISI specifications for these fibre boards and there are no standard specifications on density and it differs brand to brand, it is still at the nascent stage in India

Particle Board:

Particle board is a composite material made up of wood chips, sawmill shavings, saw dust and other wasted wood particles which are ground and bound by synthetic resin and compressed to form a sheet. It is the cheapest among plywood and MDF.


Block Board:

Block Board is a wood based panel, made up of core of softwood stripes glued together, these stripes are about 28mm width and they are sandwiched between two layers of veneer (normally 4mm thick) under high pressure, the veneer can be of softwood, hardwood or MDF.

The internal stripes are generally made of light weight poplar wood or spruce or pine wood. Block board comes in two grades MR (Moisture Resistant) and BWR (Boiling Water Resistant). They comply with Indian standard specifications IS: 1659: 2004.

Block boards are lighter in weight, less expensive and offer very good resistance to bending; they are used as doors/shutters if the height of the shutter is more than 8 ft. Block board is stronger than MDF & Particle board.

Block Board

Since the edges are uneven, edge banding tapes are difficult to be pasted, so usually block board edges are finished with wooden beadings, and hence the edges are to be polished or painted.

Note: The stability of the block board depends on the sizes of the blocks and the gaps between the 2 consecutive blocks. Sometimes, the block board may also be having more gap in between the blocks, thus making it less durable.

MDF with membrane Finish

Particle Board

DescriptionPlywoodMDFParticle Board
ISI StandardsSpecifications available under Bureau of Indian standard (BIS).No specifications under BISNo specifications under BIS
StrengthVery Strong & Nail holding strength is very high.Nail Holding is very poorNail holding is very poor
MoistureBoiling Water ResistantNo Moisture ResistantNo Moisture Resistant
PropertiesFree from shrinking and warping.Very dense and uniformOffers good resistance to bending
PriceComparatively expensiveCheaper than plywoodCheaper than MDF
FinishPolish can be applied directly on the surface & Lamination possibleCan not be polished, available in pre laminated formcannot be polished, available in pre laminated form
MycologyInherently more resistant to termitesProne for termite attackProne for termites attack
PreferenceCarpenters preferred choiceLeast preferred by carpentersLeast preferred by carpenters
Laminates- Mica/veneer/ OST


Laminates are called as “Mica” in layman’s terms, also commonly called as decorative laminates; they are manufactured under high pressure not less than 1000 lb per sq inch.

  • There are two categories of Laminates:
  • 1.Inner Laminate
  • 2.Outer Laminate

Inner laminate are pasted in the inner parts of the cabinets and normally in 0.4 to 0.6 mm in thickness, Predominantly half white is used, as white color will act as natural pest repellent.

Outer Laminate comes in 0.8 to 1 mm thickness, in various shades and designs.

Laminates protects the plywood and also gives fantastic shades and also act as stain resistant making it easier to clean the surface.


One Side Teak:

One side Teak is shortly called as OST, for people who require a natural teak wood finish, OST is the ideal solution, OST is a 3mm thick veneer sheet with teak wood grain finish on one side, the sheet is pasted on plywood similar to laminate. The surface can be treated like teak wood and can be polished to give a glossy/matt look with natural teak wood grains.

Hinges – Cut Links/ Hinges


Hinges is a type of bearing which connects two objects, typically allowing only a limited angle of rotation between them. Concealed hinges closes the shutter automatically within the limits whereas cut links type hinges require manual push to close and thus require a magnetic catcher to keep it intact..

Cut Links Hinge

Concealed Hinge

Edge Bands

Edge Bands:

Edge bands are used to cover the exposed sides of the plywood, MDF, Particle boards etc, it is also used to seal the edges which protects the wood from moisture and strengthen the bonding.

PVC Foam Boards

PVC Foam Boards:

PVC Foam board also known as Closed-cell PVC Foam board, it is very light in weight (half of the weight of Solid PVC) and has a very rigid structure, They are used in making of Yatchts & Aircrafts, They can be used in place of Plywood for making cabinets. PVC Foam boards are highly resistant to water.

They are available in various sizes and can be cut easily like wood; since PVC foam board has the properties of thermoplastic it cannot be used in kitchen or high temperature areas (above 65 C). PVC foam boards are ideal for water prone areas.

Wood Surface Finishing

Wood Surface Finishing:

Wooden finish gives the natural elegant touch, in order to maintain it, the finishing plays a vital role

They are basically three types of wooden surface finish

  • French Polish
  • Melamine Polish
  • Polyurethane (PU) finish

French Polish:

French Polish is a not a material, it is a wood finishing technique by applying thin coats “Shellac” (resin secreted by the female lac bug) dissolved in ethyl alcohol, Although French polish is considered beautiful, it is prone to scratches and stains easily, also not resistant to water.

Melamine Polish:

The German word melamin was coined by combining the names of 2 other chemical products: Melam (a distillation derivative of ammonium thiocyanate) and Amine. Melamine is an organic compound that is often combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a synthetic polymer which is fire resistant and heat tolerant. Melamine resin is a very versatile material with a highly stable structure. Melamine can be easily molded while warm, but will set into a fixed form.

Melamine is water resistant, so the life is better than French polish

Polyurethane (PU) finish:

Polyurethane is a synthetic varnish used for finishing and sealing the wood, PU is harder and more resistant to abrasion than its natural counterparts. PU is available in two types

  • Water Based
  • Oil Based

Usage of water based or oil based depends on the finish, time and grain pattern required. Have a look at the picture, the left side (Lighter) water based PU is used and right side (Darker) Oil based PU is used. The middle portion is not varnished.