There’s more to marine plywood than just its resistance to water damage when properly treated. Woodworkers and do-it-yourself enthusiasts can use the natural properties of marine plywood in a variety of indoor and outdoor applications.

Commonly used in maritime applications, marine plywood is known for its tremendous resilience to water damage.  Its legendary durability, especially when properly treated, is just one of several reasons why it is used extensively for high-quality woodworking projects. Many types of marine plywood are available for sale in the market today. Suppliers’ selections often offer marine plywood in several differently sized sheets and a diverse array of decorative veneers ideal for woodworking projects for both interiors and exteriors.

The Nature of Marine Plywood

Contrary to what its name sounds, marine plywood doesn’t get its name from the wood itself being waterproof, although they may also be treated for waterproofing at extra cost. There are, however, several features that make marine plywood resist extensive water damage that make it ideal in maritime settings and other areas where water and fungal damage is a potential hazard.

Marine-grade plywood gets its name from the waterproof glue used to bind the individual layers. The adhesive has been tested to withstand prolonged immersion in boiling water, which makes it durable in the face of water damage. Even if the waterproofing coating of the plywood is somehow damaged, the glue will prevent the board from delaminating and allow it to keep its structural integrity even when wet.

Although more expensive than standard plywood, marine-grade plywood has fewer knots and knotholes and lacks the large voids at the core that are typically seen in other types of plywood. In ordinary plywood, these holes and inconsistencies in the grain create pockets that retain water, which prolongs exposure and creates an environment for fungi to grow.

Other Advantages

The lack of voids in marine plywood also make it an excellent material for woodworking. The thinner layers used in most sheets of marine plywood make it cut more cleanly than thicker, less dense plywood panels. Marine plywood is also easier to smooth out and retains its structural strength and integrity even when bent, making it applicable not only for boats but also for furniture items with a lot of curves.

Marine plywood is also impact-resistant and can take the constant wear and tear of regular use. This makes it an optimal material for high-traffic surfaces that experience a lot of abuse.  Because of its resilience, even in the face of constant usage, one does not need to worry about replacing the surface for a very long time.

Indoors or Outdoors

Plywood

As the name suggests, waterproofed marine plywood is commonly used by sailing enthusiasts for the maintenance and repair of boats.  Marine-grade plywood is the chief material used for the decks and bulkheads of wooden boats, and those restoring older boats can use marine plywood extensively to make their vessels seaworthy once more. Any wood furniture destined for use in seafaring vessels is also usually made of marine plywood.  Marine plywood can also be used for jetties and piers for boats.

Because of their price, marine-grade plywood is usually used almost exclusively for exterior woodworking. Although entire homes can be made of marine plywood, most do-it-yourself enthusiasts prefer using the material on chiefly outdoor structures such as pergolas and decks. Marine plywood can also be used in the construction of wooden furniture for both indoor and outdoor uses, owing to its pliable nature.

Despite the extra cost, the structural integrity of marine plywood makes it an optimal substance for flooring that’s constantly exposed to moisture. Indoors, marine plywood makes an excellent, high-quality medium for floors, wall panelling, and furniture in areas exposed to frequent moisture, such as the kitchen and the lavatories.