Marine Plywood Advantages And Disadvantages

Marine plywood

One of the highest grade plywoods used by most carpenters is marine plywood.

As its name suggests, its main applications are where moisture is an issue. Boat decks, sheathing, furnishing of kitchen and bathroom flooring, these boards serve many advantages there.

Like everything in this world, marine plywood has some advantages and disadvantages.

About Marine plywood

Boats were built using marine plywood in World War II, created in the 1930s by Dutch door manufacturer Cornelius Bruynzeel. 

This engineered wood is commonly used to build durable outdoor furniture, decks and porches, backyard playhouses, and garden seating in coastal regions. 

Several weights, sizes, and grades are available. Over traditional plywood, they lead to a number of advantages.

As mentioned earlier, Marine plywoods also have types. Among the most popular are the following.

  • Pacific Maple Marine Plywood: 
  • Eucalyptus Marine Plywood:
  • Gaboon Marine Plywood:
  • Hoop Pine AA Marine Plywood:

In the post, we won’t be describing each type. If you wish you can learn more about them from here.

Advantages and disadvantages of marine plywood

Advantages  Disadvantages
Highly Water-resistant. Stiffness has issues.
Years of durability. Not readily available.
The strength is consistent from all over. Hard to distinguish.
Suitable for holding heavy objects. Costly
Easy to cut into small pieces. Not 100% waterproof.
Adaptability for many applications. Contains toxic chemicals.
On both sides, they have a nice smooth surface.  
They pick up paint colors very well.  
They have Insecticides chemicals.  
They resist mildew.  
The density is higher than normal plywoods.  
Their wood plies are of excellent quality.  

If you wish to learn about different grades of plywood by comparison. Good for you.

I found worthy information on a video comparing MR plywood, Marine plywood, and Regular plywoods. Here’s the link: 

The Advantages of Marine plywood.

  • Water-Resistant-

The obvious benefit of the waterproof plywoods is to provide good protection from the danger of water, warping, getting fungus or algae, and expansions.

This is because of their manufacturing process which is different from regular woods.

As the plies used in them are thin, leave no or minimize the free space for water droplets to seep into.

  • They have a nice smooth surface-

It’s extremely smooth and textured. Giving the appearance of natural wood.

A number of good brands make sure to use hardwoods such as maple, oak, and walnut for their pallets, and stay away from knotted lumbers. 

  • They are extremely durable-

Pound to pound with other regular plywoods such as pinewood plywood, redwood plywood, these Marine plywoods are proved to be extremely durable.

The structure is composed of many thin, equal layers which are bonded together while in others, the layers have varying thicknesses, and neither the brands nor consumers are concerned about this factor.

  • Versatility in applications

In addition to their excellent outdoor performance.

Marine plywoods are suitable for use anywhere.

They are great for crafting flexible furniture such as cabinets and tables. Placing heavy objects onto them would not easily break them.

  • Uniform Strength-

Marine plywood does not have knots so that there is general strength throughout.

During their manufacturing process, each veneer layer is positioned crosswise to the first layer in order to strengthen it further. Therefore, marine plywood is strengthened uniformly.

  •  High Density-

Plies have a thin profile and are pressed harder, thus achieving maximum bonding strength. Consequently, the density of the plies is high.

It makes the screwing nails easily as well the nails hold uptight on a denser surface.

Plus, cuts through saws become more accurate, unlike regular boards they don’t get cracked off or break off in between. This is sometimes the case with materials with low density.

  • They have Insecticides chemicals-  

Marine woods are insect-proof because adhesives are laced with chemicals that prevent termites.

Moreover, several of the preferred woods that are used as plies possess natural abilities to protect against insects.

  • On both sides, they have a nice smooth surface.

If you know how the grading system works in plywoods.

Then you will understand this better, marine plywoods are AA grade.

This means, high-quality wood is used on both sides and the surface is equally smooth.

An example, if this were of AD grade: It means that one side is smooth while the other which is of D grade has a rough surface, knots, and typical flaws.

  • They pick up paint colors very well.

You can easily apply any paint color of your choice and get a shiny, evenly prepared surface as your finish result.

Also, wood sealers such as varnish or linseed oil which we frequently apply on natural woods to increase their natural beauty and at the same time give them a protective coat.

Those sealers work similarly when applied to Marine plywoods.

The Disadvantages of Marine Plywood

  • Costly-

Marine plywoods are more expensive than other plywood options.

The reason is that the material is of high quality, properly manufactured, and the adhesives like phenolic resins also add a little bit of cost to the price tag.

According to this estimation, a regular plywood sheet of 4 by 4 costs you around $20 to $30 bucks, the same sheet of the Marine plywood will cost you $50 to $150. 

  • Not 100% Waterproof-

Regardless of the species found in this world, no wood is 100% waterproof. Long-term exposure to water will always result in wood becoming delimited.

On the other hand, when it comes to Marine plywood, although the woods used for plies are naturally resistant to water, hence, the main focus is to keep the water away by taking the necessary measures.

Furthermore, adhesives such as urea-formaldehyde and phenolic resins present a delamination guard. But so far, it’s still not fully waterproof.

  • Hard to identify quality-

Marine plywoods are among the most difficult products to determine the quality of, not only can a non-expert get misled, but also those who work in the industry struggle to ensure their plywood grade is the right one. 

  • Contain toxic Chemicals-

Marine plywoods are treated with chemicals.

Sorts of chemicals are used to treat these woods whether it’s for making a sheet anti-insects, waterproof, resistant to rot or mildew, thus when it comes to cutting these boards.

You must wear protective gloves and wear eyeglasses when cutting plywood to prevent harmful effects. 

  • Not readily available-

Because their manufacturing process is unique, they have more precision than other grades as only a few kinds of wood can provide the required plies.

They are not readily available. However, if you live where the marine plywoods are famous, then you might get them easily.

What makes Marine plywood better than regular plywood?

There is a specific process for making marine plywood, which differs from others by requiring quality materials and a predetermined recipe, such as keeping a fixed gap between each ply, using thin plies, using quality adhesives, and using wood that is free of knots or defects.

Making other plywoods, on the other hand, does not require following a certain recipe, as the objective is obtaining plywood with multiple plies.

Regular plywoods are as versatile as natural wood can be. From home furnishings to exterior uses plywoods offer a decent option than using natural woods.

Such as making furniture from pinewood plywood is cheaper than actual pinewood while the results are satisfying enough and durable.

Marine plywoods are expensive but the quality they provide is unbeatable. It is impossible to find a wood species on earth that can match them in terms of water resistance.

Therefore, they are typically used in making boats, decks, or exterior walls in humid regions, especially in coastal areas.


The benefits of marine plywood are as follows.

  • Marine Plywood is stronger and more durable.


  • As it consists of wood veneers stacked one upon another, it is possible for the core, front and back sides of the board to be made from different species of wood.


  • It is easy to find out the different layers of the board from a cross-section through it.


  • Phenolic resins are commonly used for bonding. They make plywood waterproof.


  • Due to the cross-grain construction and alternate plies throughout the board, it is highly dimensionally stable, thus has a uniform strength.


  • The screw holding strength of plywood is very high, and it easily grips screws.


  • Termites and borer are not attracted to its surface and it is not susceptible to mold or fungus. This is because of the anti-termite chemicals they’ve been treated with.


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