Plywood is a popular building material that is widely used in construction and home improvement projects. There are several types of plywood available in the market, including CDX and RTD plywood.

Both CDX and RTD plywood have their own unique properties and uses, and it is essential to understand the differences between them to choose the right plywood for your project.

This blog post will provide a comprehensive comparison of CDX vs RTD plywood, including their composition, characteristics, and applications, to help you make an informed decision.

Cdx Vs Rtd Plywood

Understanding Cdx Plywood

CDX is a type of plywood that is commonly used in construction and home improvement projects. It is made from thin sheets of softwood veneer that are glued together, forming a strong and durable panel. The “C” in CDX stands for “C-grade,” indicating that the surface of the panel is made from the lower-quality side of the veneer.

The “D” stands for “one side,” meaning that one side of the panel is rough and the other is smooth, while the “X” indicates that the panel is exterior-grade, meaning it is suitable for use in outdoor applications.

Advantages and disadvantages of CDX plywood


  1. Affordability: CDX plywood is one of the most affordable options for construction projects, making it accessible to a wider range of customers.
  2. Easy Availability: CDX plywood is widely available in most lumberyards and home improvement stores, making it an easy choice for those who need it quickly.
  3. Moisture and Rot Resistance: CDX plywood is treated with preservatives to prevent rot and moisture damage, making it a good option for outdoor projects and high-humidity areas.
  4. Strength: CDX plywood is strong and durable, making it a good choice for many construction projects.


  1. Rough Side: The rough side of the panel may not be suitable for visible applications, making it a poor choice for projects where appearance is important.
  2. Durability: Although CDX plywood is strong and durable, it may not be as strong or durable as other types of plywood, such as marine plywood or hardwood plywood.
  3. Surface Quality: CDX plywood may have knots, voids, or other surface imperfections, which may affect its overall appearance and quality.
  4. Limited Uses: CDX plywood may not be suitable for certain projects, such as furniture or cabinetry, where a smoother surface is required.

Uses of CDX plywood in construction

  1. Roof decking: CDX plywood is a popular choice for roof decking due to its strength and resistance to moisture.
  2. Wall sheathing: CDX plywood is often used as wall sheathing to provide structural support and stability to the building.
  3. Flooring and subflooring: CDX plywood is commonly used for flooring and subflooring, as it is strong and durable enough to withstand heavy foot traffic.
  4. Cabinetry and furniture-making: CDX plywood is also used for cabinetry and furniture-making, as it is affordable and easily available.
  5. Backing material for siding: CDX plywood is often used as a backing material for siding, providing stability and support to the exterior of the building.
  6. Base for tile or carpeting: CDX plywood is a good choice for use as a base for tile or carpeting, as it is strong and durable enough to support the weight of these materials.
  7. Temporary floor covering: CDX plywood is also used as a temporary floor covering for painting and other projects, as it is easy to install and remove.
  8. Outdoor applications: Its strength and resistance to moisture make CDX plywood a popular choice for outdoor applications, such as decks, sheds, and playhouses.

Understanding Rtd Plywood

RTD stands for “Ready-to-Assemble” plywood and refers to a type of engineered wood product made from thin layers of veneers glued together with a resin adhesive. The veneers used in RTD plywood are carefully selected and rotated to ensure that each layer has the same grain orientation, which results in a more stable and uniform product.

Advantages and disadvantages of RTD plywood:


  • Stability: Due to its uniform grain orientation, RTD plywood is more stable than traditional plywood, which makes it ideal for use in applications where strength and stability are important, such as flooring, paneling, and cabinetry.
  • Ease of Use: RTD plywood comes pre-cut and pre-drilled, making it easy to assemble and install. This reduces the amount of time and effort required for construction and makes it an ideal choice for DIY projects and home renovations.


  • Cost: RTD plywood is typically more expensive than traditional plywood because of the extra steps involved in manufacturing.
  • Limited sizes and thicknesses: RTD plywood is often limited in terms of size and thickness, which can make it difficult to find the right product for certain applications.

Uses of RTD plywood in construction

  • Flooring: RTD plywood is often used as a subfloor for new or renovated homes.
  • Wall paneling: RTD plywood can be used to create a smooth and uniform wall surface.
  • Cabinetry: RTD plywood is a popular choice for kitchen cabinets and other custom cabinetry because of its stability and ease of use.
  • Furniture: RTD plywood is often used to make furniture, such as bookcases and shelves, due to its stability and uniform appearance.

Cdx Vs Rtd Plywood

Comparison of Cdx and Rtd Plywood in Terms of Quality, Cost, and Durability:

CDX and RTD are two of the most commonly used types of plywood in construction. Although they are both made of thin layers of wood veneer glued together, they have several differences that affect their quality, cost, and durability.

  • Quality: CDX plywood is considered to be of higher quality compared to RTD plywood. This is because CDX is made of higher-grade veneers and has fewer voids or knots compared to RTD. However, RTD plywood is still a viable option for some applications where the strength and appearance of the finished product are less important.
  • Cost: CDX plywood is typically more expensive compared to RTD plywood, as it is made from higher-grade materials. On the other hand, RTD plywood is a more budget-friendly option and is a great choice for projects where cost is a major concern.
  • Durability: Both CDX and RTD plywood are durable and long-lasting, but CDX plywood is generally considered to be more durable due to its higher quality materials and construction. RTD plywood is also durable but is more prone to warping and delamination than CDX.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Cdx and Rtd Plywood:

When deciding between CDX and RTD plywood, there are several factors to consider, including the intended use, budget, and personal preference.

  • Intended use: The intended use of the plywood should be a major consideration when choosing between CDX and RTD. For projects where appearance and strength are important, CDX plywood is a better choice. However, for projects where cost is a concern, RTD plywood is a viable option.
  • Budget: Budget is another important factor when choosing between CDX and RTD plywood. CDX plywood is typically more expensive, so it may not be the best choice for projects with limited funds. On the other hand, RTD plywood is more budget-friendly and is a great choice for projects where cost is a major concern.
  • Personal preference: Personal preference also plays a role when choosing between CDX and RTD plywood. Some people prefer the higher quality and durability of CDX plywood, while others may prefer the lower cost and ease of use of RTD plywood.

Recommendations for Different Construction Projects

For interior applications, such as wall and ceiling panels, RTD plywood is a good choice. It is also a good option for temporary structures, such as formwork for concrete pouring.

For exterior applications, such as sheathing for walls and roofs, CDX plywood is the recommended choice. Its higher quality and durability make it better suited for exposure to the elements.

For projects where appearance is important, such as furniture making, CDX plywood is the recommended choice. Its higher quality and fewer voids or knots make it a more attractive option.

Ultimately, the choice between CDX and RTD plywood will depend on the specific requirements of each project, including intended use, budget, and personal preference. It is important to consider all of these factors carefully when making a decision.

Comparison of CDX and RTD Plywood

FeatureCDX PlywoodRTD Plywood
CostAffordableMore Expensive
Ideal UsesOutdoor structures, roof sheathingInterior finishes, furniture

Note: The table provides a general comparison of CDX and RTD plywood in terms of quality, cost, and durability. It is important to consider specific needs and requirements for a construction project when making a final decision.


What is the difference between CDX and RTD plywood?

CDX plywood is an economical grade of plywood made from lower-quality woods and has a rough surface, while RTD plywood is a high-quality plywood made from premium woods and has a smooth surface.

Can CDX plywood be used for exterior projects?

Yes, CDX plywood can be used for exterior projects, but it is recommended to use it as a sheathing material and not as a finishing material.

Is RTD plywood more expensive than CDX plywood?

Yes, RTD plywood is typically more expensive than CDX plywood due to the premium quality of woods used and the smooth surface.

Can RTD plywood be used for flooring projects?

Yes, RTD plywood can be used for flooring projects, but it is important to consider the load-bearing capacity and thickness of the plywood for the specific flooring project.

How long does CDX plywood last?

The lifespan of CDX plywood depends on various factors such as the climate and exposure to moisture, but it typically lasts anywhere from 10-20 years.

Can either CDX or RTD plywood be painted or stained?

Yes, both CDX and RTD plywood can be painted or stained, but it is important to properly prepare the surface by sanding and applying a primer before applying paint or stain.

Editor’s Note

RTD and CDX are both types of plywood used for sheathing in walls and roofing. RTD stands for “Rated,” and is a conformance stamp that the plywood meets APA specifications for sheathing.

CDX is a grade of plywood that typically has more knots and imperfections compared to higher-graded plywoods, but is still suitable for use as sheathing.

RTD sheathing is less expensive than CDX sheathing because RTD is made with lower quality materials, but both types of sheathing can still be used for sheathing applications if they meet the required span and exposure ratings.

The actual ratings are listed on the panel and depend on the manufacturer and the intended use of the sheathing. Ultimately, the local building code may dictate which type of sheathing is required, if any.


CDX and RTD plywood are both popular choices for construction projects. CDX plywood is a basic-grade material that is affordable and widely used in home construction, while RTD plywood is a higher-quality material that offers better durability and stability.

When deciding between the two, it’s important to consider factors such as the quality, cost, and intended use of the plywood.

A professional in the construction field can offer guidance on which type of plywood is best suited for your specific project. It is important to seek out their expertise, as the right choice of plywood can have a significant impact on the quality and longevity of the final product.

In summary, understanding the differences between CDX and RTD plywood, and considering factors such as cost, quality, and intended use, can help ensure that you make the right choice for your construction project.

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