Plytanium is a trade name, registered to Georgia Pacific, the nation’s largest manufacturer of plywood products. It is their premium softwood plywood product and although not rated as such, it should probably be considered an ACX rated plywood. The Plytanium line of plywood products contains a number of different products, designed for different applications.
Plytanium panels are advertised to be “stiff and strong,” flatter than some other plywood products and clearly better able to handle impact, without breaking, than OSB and some other plywood products that it competes with. It also provides considerably less edge swell than OSB, which is notorious for this problem.
Since the general term “plywood” now means all plywood products, specifying Plytanium on a construction project ensures that a softwood plywood product, made of alternate wood veneers, bonded together by rosin, is used. Otherwise, simply specifying plywood could leave the contractor the wiggle room to use OSB to save money, as it meets building code and is a plywood product. While there is nothing wrong with OSB as a building material, it is not as strong as softwood plywood, regardless of what the building code says.
Georgia Pacific makes a number of claims about this plywood, including that it is “green-certified,” and that it has low formaldehyde emissions. This tells us that they have taken care to produce a quality softwood plywood product, which is using bonding resins that are less harmful than those used in some other plywood products. While not the only formaldehyde-free plywood product around, considering that formaldehyde is considered to be a carcinogen, using a plywood product in your home which is formaldehyde free, can provide a health benefit to your family.
Although Plytanium is not a “treated” plywood, it is an exterior grade plywood. That means that it can be used for home sheathing, without concern that it will delaminate due to rain during construction. This rating doesn’t mean that the plywood can be left exposed to the elements, without problem; merely that it can during the relatively short time that construction is going on.
Many Plytanium products are also sanded sheets, which is not common for most softwood plywood products, as they are used primarily for construction. However, many construction applications require a smooth surface, such as subflooring. By providing an already sanded surface, Plytanium reduces the labor necessary for subflooring prep or for use of their product for a variety of other non-construction projects.
Specifying Plytanium for any project ensures a quality softwood plywood product, which will provide strength and attractive appearance in the finished project. The quality level will be consistent, even if additional material is ordered to add to the project at some later date. It is available throughout the United States.
Georgia Pacific’s Plytanium subflooring is referred to as “Sturd-I-Floor,” obviously intending to send a message to the buyer. It is designed to provide stiffness and stability and is available in 19/32”, 23/32” and 1-1/8” thick sheets. While 19/32” doesn’t meet code for subflooring, without a second layer, 23/32” and 1-1/8” thick does. For applications where ceramic tile is to be installed, the 1-1/8” thick sheets provide the stability necessary, without a second layer of subflooring.
These 4’ x 8’ sheets are cut tongue and groove for positive location and connection, leaving no gaps between sheets. The face surface is sanded, ensuring a smooth surface for any type of flooring applied. While important for any sort of flooring, this is especially important for ceramic tile or vinyl flooring.
Roof and wall sheathing in the Plytanium line are not sanded, as there is no need for it. Sheathing is always covered with other materials, which do not require a smooth surface, unlike flooring. However, as an exterior-grade product, Plytanium sheathing provides weather protection, with lower risk of edge swelling than OSB and other products.
Plytanium sheathing is available in 3/8”, 15/32”, 19/32” and 23/32” thicknesses, in 4’ x 8’ sheets. The 15/32” and 19/32” are most commonly used for exterior wall and roof sheathing, while 3/8” is only used in non-structural applications.
There is also T-101 siding in the Plytanium line. Finished with a rough-sawn texture, this is an excellent siding choice for low-cost construction, where a rustic appearance is desired. Being made of softwood plywood, it is considerably stronger than T-101 panels made in other ways, as well as being much less prone to delamination and edge swelling.
Plytanium Siding is made with a shiplap edge, allowing for a seamless installation, with no gaps that water can seep through. Nevertheless, it should be installed over a house wrap to meet building code. Panels are available in 11/32”, 15/32” and 19/32” thicknesses.
Plytanium Sanded Panels
Plytanium also comes in sanded panels for furniture and a variety of other projects where plywood is an appropriate material. Being pre-sanded provides an attractive, high-quality surface, which can be painted, stained or torched, depending on the application. Unlike other softwood plywood, Plytanium sanded panels provide a smooth, defect-free surface for these projects.
These sanded panels can also be used in home construction applications where the plywood is left exposed, such as soffits, built-in shelving and painted cabinets. It is available in 1/4”, 11/32”, 15/32”, 19/32” and 23/32” thicknesses.
As with any other plywood product, care should be taken when cutting Plytanium, especially when cutting across the face grain. While this is not much of an issue in some applications, such as siding, splintering can be a major issue with some projects, especially where the plywood will be the visible surface.
Always use a sharp blade when crosscutting, preferably one with a high tooth count. Carbide tipped blades will remain sharp longer, helping to provide a clean cut, with minimal tear-out. Because the carbide tips are wider than the body of the blade, there is less friction to cause tear-out or burning when cutting.
Even so, it’s a good idea to cover the cut line with masking tape, before making the cut. That will hold the wood fibers in the face veneer together, preventing splintering. The tape can then be removed, after cutting, leaving a clean, splinter-free edge.