What is Lauan Wood; Price and Uses (2023)


Plywood and lauan woods are very similar. They are made by using thin layers that are glued together. But, they are not exactly the same products.

This means that we need to compare luan and plywood carefully to have a better idea about the slight differences that exist between them.

In united states, the term lauan wood is usually referred to a type of wood that is used for applications like flooring. This type of wood was originally imported from southeast of Asia. In fact, manufacturing of lauan panels for the first time took place in japan, Taiwan, and Korea.

Lauan plywood can be used for several applications like manufacturing furniture, lamination, paper overlay, and other woodworking projects.

Considering the differences between different species, by looking at the appearance and working properties of the lauan woods, each of them is suitable for a specific application.

To know better about the best type of plywood that is suitable for woodworking projects, it is important to provide enough information about the pros and cons of lauan and other popular plywood.

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Is Lauan wood a form of plywood?

Technically, luan is a form of plywood. But, as a form of tropical timber, the plywood from lauan is cheaper and more flexible than typical plywood in market.

If you compare mechanical strength of luan and normal plywood, it is less strong and more suitable for smooth finishes. In most cases, traditional plywood is better and harder than luan.

Keep in mind: Even in the united states, the name lauan is referred to a group of plywood. But, they are made by using the wood of a number of species from southeast Asian countries.

Is Lauan wood a form of plywood?

What is plywood?

Plywood is a type of composite wood that is made from thin layers hold together by using glues. The layers are known as plies. But, Is plywood strong?

As wood layers are glued together as sheets with different angles. This angle gives the final plywood a better physical property and is a key for success in making light, strong, and resistant product.

History of plywood goes back to ancient era. So, the technology is not new. As archeologists have found plywood from ancient Egypt.

But, the invention of modern plywood goes back to 1800. So, the use of this product in building construction and interior decoration in modern form does not have a long history.

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History of lauan plywood

Its history goes back to just around 40 years ago in countries like japan, Korea, and in Taiwan.

As plywood can be made by a variety of hardwood, by using timbers from several species in southeast Asia, lauan plywood were manufactured in Asian countries.

It worth mentioning that Meranti is another popular name for this type of wood. It is also called Philippine mahogany. But, lauan is very different than what we know in wood industry as “true mahogany”.

read more: plywood

History of lauan plywood

Where does the name lauan come from?

It comes from a name of a tree in Philippine. But, all over southeast of Asia, you can find similar species.

Plywood is made by using thin veneers of this tree which are glued together. It worth mentioning that as it is flexible, some sources introduce lauan as a soft plywood.

In the following, we’ve listed frequently asked questions:

Is lauan wood a commercial type of wood?

Yes, laun plywood is a commercial type of wood that is used throughout the US.

As a type of hardwood, typically they are plywood that are suitable for being used in applications like:

  • Flooring
  • Lamination
  • Furniture
  • Paper industry
  • Millwork application

Is lauan wood a commercial type of wood?

Does all luan plywood are the same?

No, the mechanical strength of lauan woods or their color is different. Therefore, we can several group of them that are known as yellow meranti, light red and dark red meranti, white meranti, and baulu.

Who manufactures lauan plywood?

Originally, manufacturers in Asia made this plywood by using woods of luan tree from Philippine. But, today it comes from several origins and shows different properties.

How to manufacture lauan plywood?

Most of manufacturers use a variety of woods to make luan. They are produced in thin layers with less than 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick.

This means that they are perfect solutions for small scale woodworking projects or where you need a flexible ply.

Is luan plywood cheap?

Various types of lauan plywood have different size and thickness.

So, a direct and exact comparison of the price is not always possible. But, as whole luan is among the cheap options available in the market.

Can lauan win the plywood market?

After comparison of different products in the market, you’ll know that there is no winner or loser.

In other word, each type of wood, timber or plywood has its own application in woodworking applications.

So, lauan plywood is definitely the best option for some applications. So, if used correctly, it can help a lot and be a winner in several projects.

But, there are other applications that use more expensive and resistant popular woods in market. In these applications, comparing to other types of hardwoods, softwoods, or plywood, lauan is considered as a loser.

Can lauan win the plywood market?

Is lauan similar to true mahogany?

The strength of lauan, as a type of commercial wood in southeast Asia, is similar to that of the true mahogany.

But, it is softer and coarser in its texture. Also, lauan wood is available is different colors from dark red to the grayish brown. So, the appearance of lauan and true mahogany is different.

Does lauan and true mahogany have the same price?

No, in the United states, the price of lauan wood is much less than true mahogany.

When it comes to compare lauan and mahogany, this is the most favorite property of lauan for manufacturers in the united states.

So, many of them try to purchase and use it in their woodworking projects. Fortunately, it is readily available in market in the form of plywood, lumber, and veneer.

Can I use lauan as a thin wood panel?

The pliable nature of this wood makes it a perfect choice for the applications that is in need of thin wood panels.

For example, it is an excellent hardwood for small crafts, toys, and doll houses.

Can we use lauan for interior decoration products?

As this type of plywood is extremely smooth, some manufacturers believe that it is a perfect choice for finishing.

Lauan wood is hard enough to be used for repairing doors in the interior.

You can easily cut this ply wood with a knife. The other beneficial characteristic is that it has a very high bending strength and will not break easily.

What are popular names of lauan wood?

We mentioned several popular names of this type of wood. below, you can see a list of its aliases:

  • Meranti
  • Luan wood
  • Wiggle wood
  • Wachy wood
  • Bendy wood
  • Philippine mahogany
  • Snake wood

Is lauan suitable for walls in the interior?

It has a light weight. On the other hand, as a plydwood, it’s strong and has bending strength.

So, it means that lauan is suitable for being used in the walls and interior doors. In fact, it was widely popular to be used as a wall material in mid-century houses and thousands of homes were built by this wood.

Is lauan plywood stronger than popular woods?

Plywood made from birch, oak, and maple are among strongest hardwood plywood. They are very stable.

Therefore, if you want to compare lauan with other popular types of hardwoods, you need to compare their mechanical strength and their load bearing abilities.

On the other hand, lauan refers to a product made from woods of several species. So, we need to distinguish between different types of lauan.

Can we paint on lauan wood?

Yes, but before painting, you need to prepare lauan doors. For example, as it is a bit coarse, it is important to smooth the surface.

A sandpaper can help you to have a better result. Also, a high quality primer is a must for having a good paint on luan doors.

Sandpaper helps in removing grains or imperfections. The primer is required to make door ready for painting and helps the final paint to adhere to the surface.

Can I use luan wood for flooring?

Yes, especially, if you are looking for a less expensive product for flooring, this type of hardwood can be used for house construction.

It acts as a finished flooring. You just need to cut the lauan plywood into tiles with the same size. A typical choice is 4*4 or 2*2 and in some cases 2*4 inches.

As this plywood is made by using thin sheets, it is easy to work with them and cut them into different sizes.

On the other hand, they are thin and flexible. They are even re-usable.

Does lauan withstands moisture?

No, one of the drawbacks of lauan is that its resistance toward moisture is less than other popular hardwoods.

So, keep in mind: even it is a great idea to use it for flooring material, but we recommend, when the floor is exposed to the moisture, do not use it as a subflooring under tile.

Final thought

Lauan wood is a type of commercial plywood that is widely used in the united states for woodworking projects.

It is suitable for flooring, furniture, doors, walls, and other projects. But, it is important to note the differences between lauan and plywood.

As, the similarity and differences that exist between lauan and plywood can have a great impact of the final result!

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