Getting under the sheets

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Getting under the sheets

Selling the right material · February 2020

With such a wide variety of sheet materials, it’s easy to find a product for your customer’s specific end use, but are you selling the right material for the right job? Follow our tips to better understand the material you’re selling, and gain a sure footing for enhancing sales. 

Expanding universe of sheets

Whether it’s flame-retardant OSB, water-repellent or flexible MDF, structural or non-structural plywood, or decorative panels, it’s the end use that matters in offering the right product.

Increasing your sheet material knowledge is the way to increasing your business. Ask your supplier if they offer specialist training, or find Wood Campus TV’s introduction online.

Structural or non-structural?

Structural sheet materials are load-bearing so safety is critical. Ask customers where and how the material will be used to determine the right technical class of product for their needs. Check the product’s Declaration of Performance (DoP) to see if it matches the end use: some panels are not for use where they may get exposed to moisture.

With plywoods, if a price deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Tests have shown inaccurate species content and glue bond descriptions on the majority of Chinese plywoods. The wrong glue bond may cause delamination and product failure, even possibly causing an accident on site.

Remind customers about storage

As most sheet materials are not constructed to weather the elements, if they are likely to be delivered to site before they are needed then your customer must store them in dry conditions on a flat, level surface, and clear of the ground.

All sheet materials should be stored inside your timber shed, safely and flat. Make sure labelling is regularly reviewed. If stock gets moved around, less expert staff may offer customers the wrong products.

Giving customers the right advice

Under design standard such as Eurocode 5 there are different ‘technical classes’ of sheet materials which define the situations where they can be used. A key factor in choosing the right product is whether it will be used in a Service Class 1 (Dry) or Service Class 2 (Humid) situation: some products are not for use where moisture might be present. For your own reputation, it’s best to check the product’s DoP.

New Developments in plywood & panels

Wood-based sheet materials are good for the planet and can come with FSC®, PEFC™ and now also FLEGT certification. The breadth of flame-retardant materials, flexible panels and specialist products is rapidly increasing. They include water repellent OSB, exterior MDF, special products for dryliners, and biodegradable panels containing organically grown plants. Ask your supplier for information or find our Panel Guide on our dedicated Merchant channel.