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US Voluntary Product Standard PS 1-09 Structural Plywood

PS1-09 Structural PlywoodPS 1-09 is a product standard covering the requirements  for American plywood intended for structural (loadbearing) use. It includes the wood species, veneer grading, adhesive bonds, panel construction and workmanship, dimensions and tolerances, marking, moisture content and packaging. The standard also covers performance-based test methods and criteria for most grades of panel.

APA  has a technical guide to PS 1-09 structural plywood. PS 1-09 – APA’s Technical Guide, with APA Typical Trademarks

The standard details various grades of structural plywood such as sheathing for roofs, walls and floors, sanded grades and plywood used in concrete formwork.  It also provides prescriptive layups using common North American species at defined veneer thicknesses, layers and panel thickness.

In addition to laying down the grade requirements for plywood, PS 1-09 also includes performance-based test methods and requirements to determine bond, heat resistance and dimensional tolerances for compliance with the standard.

A quality certification programme is also provided. This enables qualified testing agencies such as APA  to inspect, sample and test plywood panels to ensure factory production control at each mill is functioning correctly.


The standard defines the terms associated with plywood manufacture to provide a clearly understood, common language across the industry.  All plywood panels conforming to this standard must meet or exceed the stated requirements as follows:

Wood species:  Acceptable species are defined. This includes North American trees as well as those from other parts of the world.

Synthetic repairs: The use of synthetic fillers to repair minor characteristics and their performance must be to the same standard as required for a wood repair.

Veneer Grade: Grades of veneer are identified for manufacturing the plywood (A, B, C, C-plugged & D) with A being the best and D the lowest grade.

Veneers and Layers: The thickness of veneers needed for specific panel thicknesses. This includes parallel-laminated veneers, explaining where they can be used in the manufacturing process.

Panel grades: Provides the permitted combinations for veneer grades to be assembled into various panel grades such as – sheathing, single-layer floor, marine, decorative panels, underlayment, concrete form panels, Structural 1 panels, special exterior and overlays.

Adhesive bond requirements: American structural plywood is manufactured as either an Exposure 1 bond classification or an Exterior bond classification.  Both use the same exterior adhesive.

Panel construction and workmanship: The standard sets down exacting rules to cover the construction of all plywood panels, including the minimum number of plies and layers.

  • This ensures that the percentage of wood grain which is perpendicular to the panel face grain must be between 33% and 70% of the total panel thickness.
  • General rules covering the characteristics prohibited or restricted in certain panels grades are tabulated along with details on sanded, un-sanded and touch-sanded panels.  Information on the span rating requirements of panels includes a testing regime covering structural performance is given as are testing qualifications for requirements for panels which are not span rated.  Various other aspects of the plywood construction are similarly given.

Dimensional tolerances and squareness of panels: Tolerance levels covering panel sizes, the performance category and thickness requirements, squareness and straightness.

Grade Marking and Certification: This section defines a qualified inspection and testing agency, and gives details on panel marking.

 Specimen preparation and testing: The standard sets out testing requirements for –

  • The quality of the adhesive bond
  • The structural requirements of performance-tested plywood
    • Concentrated static and impact loads
    • Uniform loads
    • Panel bending
    • Planar shear strength
    • Shear through the thickness strength.





APA in Europe Wizard

All Questions OSBPlywood

What is a ‘life cycle stage’ and how do these link to the environmental assessment of whole buildings?

How do core category rules link with environmental product declarations?

Whose responsibility is it to check that wood products being imported into the EU do not originate from illegally sourced timber supplies?

Does the EUTR require mills to provide any extra documentation for customs entry into the European Union?

Must all plywood and OSB panels carry a CE marking?

What is the definition of a construction product under the CPR?

What is a Declaration of Performance referred to under the Construction Products Regulation?

What is the difference between Structural 1 and Exposure 1?

Does structural panel siding have shear values?

What are mould and mildew, and do they compromise the integrity of engineered wood?

The CE-mark on an APA plywood panel means it conforms to European Standards – but which ones?

I want to use a Rated Sheathing panel for flooring/ roofing application, what info do I need to know?

Plywood: Span rating
OSB: Span rating

What extra strength benefits do Structural 1 OSB panels provide over standard Rated Sheathing panels?

Do APA panels give off formaldehyde?

Plywood: Formaldehyde
OSB: Formaldehyde

What is the difference between a touch-sanded panel and sanded panel?

I’d like to know how APA veneer grades match those given in the European standards

How do I correctly gauge the face appearance a plywood Siding panel?

I want to specify an APA panel for concrete formwork – what do I need to know?

Are APA panels tongue and grooved on all four edges?

I am not familiar with the term ‘Sized for Spacing’ – what is its significance?

How are Performance Category and thickness related?

I’d like to know more about a panel’s Span Rating and how it links to thickness.

Plywood: Span rating
OSB: Span rating

What is Span Rating on the APA trademark and why is it important?

Plywood: Span rating
OSB: Span rating

What is the difference between Exposure 1 and Exterior plywood panels? What are their appropriate uses?

What are the main OSB panels likely to be available in Europe?

What are the main plywood panels likely to be available in Europe?

What are the main European standards that I would need to be aware of for OSB panels?

The main standards are: EN 13986 and EN 300

What are the main European standards that I would need to be aware of for plywood panels?

The main standards are: EN 13986, EN 636, EN 314, EN 635-3