Luan plywood initially came from the tropical hardwood known as "lauan," which belongs to the Shorea family originally found in the Philippines. On the international market, luan plywood has evolved into a standard term that pertains to any Asian or tropical plywood imported into the U.S. Lauan wood has a distinct softness, pliability and lightness that make it ideal for die cut plywood production used for a number of intricate home woodwork activities, except for major construction purposes.

Floor Underlayment

A floor underlayment is sandwiched in between the sub-floor and the finished flooring. This layer aims to provide additional support to ensure the floor finish is smooth, level and firm. For this reason, luan plywood is considered an acceptable underlayment material for its resiliency. It goes well with different floor finishes including carpet, vinyl tiles and hardwood floors.

Cabinets and Furniture

Luan plywood's distinct strength can be attributed to the different layers of wood glued together to make the panel. Because it is lightweight and relatively cheap, luan plywood — particularly those that are 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch thick — is considered good material for cabinet and furniture backing and drawer sides and bottoms. The thicker 3/4-inch plywood is used for less expensive grade furniture such as tables, chairs, book shelves and plant boxes.

Interior doors

Both white and red luan plywood can serve as a solid surface panel for doors with hollow cores. It has been used in the U.S. as a door-facing since the late 1950s, as reported by the non-profit organization Rainforest Relief. When red luan wood is stained, it bears resemblance to the surface of mahogany wood. On the other hand, the white luan door resembles cherry wood when treated and finished.


Apart from large woodworking projects that can be created from luan plywood, it is also used in making small crafts. The 1/8 inch thick plywood is a popular material for making doll houses and birdhouses. Since it will not split or splinter when cut into smaller pieces, it is also used as backing for picture frames and making miniature woodcrafts.