What is plywood, and why is it used?
Plywood is a type of wood made by cross-laminating thin layers of wood veneer. This process creates a light, durable, and affordable sheet of plywood. Plywood also has many uses and can be used indoors and outdoors.
With its many benefits, it’s no wonder why plywood is one of the most popular building materials! For instance, you can use waterproof plywood for the boat, deck, floor, door, etc.–making it perfect for any exterior project. Plywood is also excellent for indoor projects such as furniture or cabinets.
Why should we waterproof plywood?
Waterproofing plywood is crucial because it helps protect the wood from moisture damage. When exposed to water, the veneers and adhesive glue on plywood slowly deteriorate and eventually peel off into pieces.
The thin separation between layers in the center of a plank makes it a prime spot for mold growth when exposed to water for an extended period of time.
Plywood is a readily available material used in residential and commercial projects. It can be damaged by water or humidity, so it needs to be waterproofed. Protecting the plywood from water damage is essential to prolong its longevity.
There are many ways to waterproof plywood, including painting with a sealant or using the Right Stuff spray-on adhesive. More types of waterproofing exist, but most are DIY projects that people can do themselves.
Various Methods to Waterproof Plywood for a boat
Using Epoxy Resin
There are many methods to waterproof plywood, but epoxy resin is one of the most popular. Epoxy resin is a two-part adhesive that cures to form a hard, durable surface. You can use it to coat, bond, and laminate plywood.
Epoxy resin offers many advantages to the boat builder, such as:
The ability to create any shape they wish – boats can be made in any desired shape without worrying about the wood cracking or splitting
Durability – epoxy resin is long-lasting and highly resistant to water and weathering
Versatility – You can use it on both indoor and outdoor projects, as well as on vertical surfaces
Color options – epoxy resins come in a wide range of colors so that you can choose the perfect hue for your project
Using Latex-Based Paint
Some other methods to waterproof plywood for a boat that you may want to try are using latex-based paint. Latex is the most common type of paint to use on boats because of its ability to withstand the elements.
It is also relatively easy to apply and provides excellent coverage with a single coat. However, it may not be as durable or water-resistant as an epoxy coating.
Using Plastic Sheeting
Covering the plywood with a plastic sheet will protect the wood from absorbing water. Also, the sheet will protect you from splinters that can occur when working with plywood. The sheet will also contain dirt, grime, and insects that can damage the plywood.
Covering your plywood with a plastic sheet is easy and quick, but it requires some planning. You need to cover the plywood before you paint it or apply any other type of finish.
Polyurethanes are popular as they provide a high level of water resistance. To apply polyurethane to plywood, you should use a lapping technique with the grain of the wood, as you would with paint.
Also, you should use high-quality polyurethane that you can apply to wet wood. Make sure you sand the wood down to bare wood before you apply polyurethane, as this will ensure that the sealant adheres well.
How to Waterproof Plywood?
Plywood is water-resistant when applied in this manner because it creates a thin layer of coating that does not peel off or crack easily and can be easily repaired if damaged.
The first step in the lapping process is to sand down any rough or splintery edges on your plywood with a hand-held sander and 80-grit sandpaper.
Next, you will need to apply a wood sealer to your plywood. A good sealer should be able to withstand the moisture in the air, protect against water damage, and be easy to repair if damaged.
When applying the sealer, cover every inch of your plywood and ensure that you overlap each coat by at least 1/2 an inch.
The first coat of sealer should be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before applying a second coat.
The sealer should be allowed to dry for at least a week before applying the fiberglass.
Note: If you are using wood that is not marine grade, it will need to be sealed with epoxy before applying the fiberglass.
Benefits of sealing plywood
Untreated plywood does not last long outside. In fact, it can start to rot within a few months! However, if you seal the plywood with a waterproofing product, you can expect it to last for 20-40 years. Plywood is also very vulnerable to splitting and splintering, but waterproofing can prevent this.
Water exposure causes rot on all wooden objects, even if the wood is not split open. Dry rot occurs when fungi grow on the surface of wood, causing it to warp. Sealing your plywood before installation can help avoid these issues and keep your wood looking great for decades!
Splitting can be hard to see, but the water damage is already done once you notice it; waterproofing before installing plywood helps avoid this issue.
What is the best way to treat plywood for outdoor use?
The best way to treat plywood for outdoor use is with a particular type of sealer. This will protect the wood from water damage and make it more resistant to insect infestation.
The sealer should be applied in a thin layer and allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before applying the fiberglass. This will ensure that the plywood does not absorb too much of the sealer, which can cause it to expand.
The best type of plywood for outdoor use is marine-grade or exterior-rated plywood. These are made with a special resin designed to resist water damage.
Treating the plywood with insect repellent for long-term use is also a good idea. This will help prevent the wood from being attacked by termites and other insects that can cause damage.
What kind of paint should you use on exterior plywood?
It depends on the type of wood you are using and what kind of paint will be applied.
Applying two coats of exterior paint to the plywood is a good idea for long-term use.
The first coat should be a primer, which will help seal any knots or imperfections that could cause later problems. A good primer for exterior use is one made for use on wood.
It would help if you made the second coat from marine-grade paint, which will protect the wood from moisture and saltwater.
It is a good idea to apply a layer of varnish or polyurethane over the top of the paint to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.
It is important to note that the type of wood you use will determine what kind of paint you should apply.
There are different types of plywood, and the paint you use should be compatible with the kind you are using.
For example, if your boat is made from cedar or redwood, then it is best to use paint that is made for cedar or redwood.
If you are using plywood, you must check the type and ensure that it will not expand too much in the water.
If you use paint incompatible with your plywood, it may crack or peel off easily.
What is the best epoxy sealer for plywood?
In general, epoxy sealers are the best paint to use for your boat. However, choosing a suitable epoxy sealer for plywood would be best.
If you use the wrong epoxy sealer, then it may not be as durable and robust. Make sure you choose a good quality product so your boat will last longer.
Some of the best epoxy sealers for plywood are:
1. Epifanes Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer – This is an excellent epoxy sealer that you can use for your boat.
It has an outstanding reputation in the marine industry.
2. Interlux Brightside Polyurethane – This is another excellent epoxy sealer you can use for your boat. It has an excellent reputation in the marine industry.
It is durable and robust so that it will last a long time.
3. West System 105 Epoxy Resin – This is another excellent epoxy sealer you can use for your boat. It has a very good reputation in the marine industry.
It is easy to use and dries fast so that you can return to work immediately.
How long will exterior plywood last outside?
Exterior Plywood is designed to be exposed to the elements, so you can expect it to last for a long time. If you take good care of it, it should last for decades.
Even if the plywood is exposed to the elements 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it should still last for at least ten years.
If you are concerned about the plywood getting damaged by water, you can cover the wood with paint or another type of sealant. Paint is not as effective at protecting the wood from water, but it will keep the plywood looking good for many years.