The name “marine plywood” may immediately make you think of docks and boat hulls. However, this type of plywood is perfect for many areas around your home or commercial property that are exposed to moisture.
Marine plywood has been used in many construction projects over the years. Find out why it’s such a favourite timber material by builders around the world.
What is marine grade plywood?
Marine grade plywood (also known as marine plywood) is a timber product made from high quality wood plies. Its sheets are bonded together using special weather and boil proof (WBP) glue. This helps give the plywood its high resistance against water and moisture.
To make marine plywood, manufacturers typically use timber sheets from tropical hardwood. They arrange 5 or more plies in a perpendicular manner. This allows the grains to be in an alternating manner from vertical to horizontal.
The manufacturers then bond the plies under heat and pressure. They also use the waterproof adhesive to keep the sheets together. They wrap up production by applying water-resistant finish to the plywood’s exterior.
What sets marine plywood apart from other plywood is its lack of voids. It also doesn’t have any knots or air pockets. This, along with its use of waterproof glue, is the plywood’s defining feature.
Most plywood products use fewer, thicker layers of lower-quality wood. However, marine grade plywood uses more, thinner layers of high-quality wood.
You can buy marine grade plywood in different grades. Each grade comes with a distinct knot size and frequency. Every one of them also has a unique weight and thickness.
- Medium-density overlay (MDO)
- High-density overlay (HDO)
Pros and cons of using marine grade plywood
Using marine grade plywood has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. The following are some of its most common pros and cons.
Durable — Marine plywood inherits its parent wood’s natural durability. The plies’ unique arrangement and bonding also add to the plywood’s toughness.
Pliable — This plywood has excellent pliability compared to other structural plywood. You can bend or shape it any way you like without breaking easily.
Impact-resistant — The plywood’s hard exterior makes it resistant against impact damage. It doesn’t easily sustain any dents even when dropped accidentally.
Water-resistant — The weather and boil proof glue used to make the plywood helps give its water resistance. Manufacturers also typically apply a water-resistant finish to protect it from moisture and humidity.
Readily available — Marine grade plywood is easily available on the wood market. You can also buy it in different lengths and thickness. Unlike solid wood products, this plywood is available in large sizes.
Chemicals — Just like other plywood products, marine plywood can also contain chemicals. These are used to help protect its wood veneer from ants and termites. However, these same chemicals can also be harmful to people’s health, especially their lungs.
We recommend buying plywood only from suppliers who sell volatile organic compound (VOC)-free timber products.
Expensive — Marine plywood is not as affordable as other engineered wood like Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). The higher the plywood grade, the more expensive it gets.
Uses of marine plywood
Marine grade plywood is one of the most versatile plywood around. It’s strong and durable enough to be used as a structural plywood. It’s also water-resistant, so you can use it to build in wet conditions.
You can often find marine plywood used in bathrooms. Its high water-resistance helps keep benchtops and cabinets safe from moisture and rotting. You can also use it as waterproof wall panels.
Marine plywood also makes excellent subfloor material. It prevents water and moisture from seeping through it, whether from the surface or below.
Other popular uses of marine plywood include:
Plywood for all building settings
Whether your building in a residential, commercial or industrial setting, you can use marine grade plywood. Few other timber products offer the same level of toughness and water-resistance as this plywood.
If you are considering marine plywood for your building project, contact us today for guidance and a quote.