APA Panel Grades, Veneers & Finishes
You can identify APA plywood panels either by their veneer grade on the face and back of the panel e.g. A-C or B-B, or where the trademark identifies the panel’s end use such as Rated Sturd-I-Floor, Rated Sheathing, Rated Siding (cladding) or Underlayment.
See choosing the right plywood panel grade for specific applications.
For exterior plywood, the grades range from A to C. The D grade is only for applications protected from long-term exposure to weather. There are six veneers in the US PS 1-19 standard – N, A, B, C plugged, C and D. These equate to the E, I, I/II, II/III, III and IV grades in EN 635-3.
APA panels have three finishes – sanded, touch-sanded and unsanded.
Sanded: Factory-sanded for applications where smoothness and appearance are important. Face veneer is at least B-grade.
Touch-sanded: Panels which are ‘sized’ to uniform thickness by a light surface sanding during manufacture. Sander skips are permissible. Touch sanding is normally applied to panels with a C-Plugged face.
Unsanded: Sheathing grade panels are designed for utility applications. Left unsanded.