What is Marine Grade Plywood and How is it Used?

When you first start working with wood projects and go to the supply store to make your selection you’ll discover that there are a variety of different types of plywood. The type that we’re focusing on today is Marine Grade. If you’re not yet familiar with this type of wood, you’re in the right place to learn. Marine grade plywood sounds like a type that would be treated with waterproofing but in fact, it isn’t. The wood has not been treated with any type of chemicals so it’s not resistant to rot, but it is recommended for a variety of projects because it is a good quality plywood that is made with hardwood and waterproof glue.

Different quality in Marine grade plywood

When choosing the best possible quality of marine grade plywood, the best option will be free of defects, lightweight and strong. It’s one of the most popular materials chosen for making boat parts and even entire boats. It’s also used in the creation of outdoor furniture, especially for coastal and other environments with high humidity. Marine plywood is available in the following grades:A-A, A-B, and B-B. It is usually made from Western Larch or Douglas Fir wood.

Where marine grade plywood gets its strength

Plywood is made with thin sheets of wood veneer. These sheets care called plies and these are arranged in perpendicular layers to get the plywood its strength. They are cross laminated and it gives plywood its strength in both directions. Plywood undergoes a heat and pressure process of bonding and this is what gives plywood its finish.

The role of waterproof glue in marine plywood

Waterproof glue holds the wood together even when the environment has a high degree of humidity and in very hot temperatures. This ensures that they layers of wood within the plywood will not separate and come apart. Even if he wood gets wet, the structure of marine grade plywood remains structurally intact.

The difference between plywood and marine grade plywood

You can purchase plywood in grades that are A, B, C and D. The A grade is the very best quality and D is the lower quality, often having knotholes and other defects. Even the highest grade regular plywood isn’t considered to be as high in its quality as marine grade hardwood plywood. The reason for this is because standard plywood does not have as many layers and the layers that it does have are thicker and usually made of soft wood such as pine. There are also holes and voids within the interior layers of the plywood and you discover them when you cut into a panel of standard plywood. On the other hand, the marine grade plywood is made of hardwood layers which are thin and they are made with 100 percent hardwood. There are more layers which makes the plywood stronger and it usually has a finer grain than the standard made of soft wood. There are no voids or holes which are hidden on the inner layers of marine grade plywood and it creates a more dense and stronger panel of wood. Another benefit of marine grade plywood is that the edges tend to both cut and sand cleaner than the standard plywood.

Examples of projects marine grade plywood is best for

If you’re considering making outdoor patio furniture or even outdoor structures that are made of wood, and you live in a moist climate, then Marine grade plywood will hold up longer than standard plywood. Some of the outdoor projects that marine grade plywood is best for include garden furniture including benches, tables and chairs, porches, decking, planters, pergolas, and gazebos.

Final thoughts

Marine grade plywood has several advantages over standard plywood. The grading system is a bit different and if you want to get the very best, look for the AA grade. It is stronger, denser and more resistant to water damage because of the waterproof glue that it is constructed with. This type of wood panel is more highly resistant to separation and it lasts longer in warm and moist climates. It’s also easier to cut and sand with cleaner edges. It’s not the best solution for all woodworking projects, but for some it is clearly the superior choice.


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