If you were a little disappointed when you learned about the minimum standards of “marine-grade plywood” from Part 1, we hope this follow-up post will help equip you to take the extra steps necessary in order to confirm that the standards you require will be met by the marine-grade plywood that you order.
Additional Qualifications for Specific Applications
In addition to using the qualification of “marine-grade,” you can further ensure that the lumber you order meets added standards by designating them; for instance, BS1088 and BS6566 would help ensure that the lumber you order meets the high standards associated with those carefully defined designations.
Many customers realize that they can specify veneer species but may not realize that they can also further specify aspects of the plywood that they order by specifying veneer core species, core construction, and specific glue type or gluing process used. All those details will affect the way the finished sheet of plywood will behave in the environment for which it is intended – which is obviously quite important for marine applications.
Special Considerations for Boat-Building Applications
It might be argued that it would be ideal for the term “marine-grade” to designate only the plywood suitable for boat-building applications; however, we must function within reality, not any of our ideals. However, knowledge is power: when you know that the term “marine-grade plywood” broadly encompasses plywood intended for a wider range of uses, you are equipped to ask the right questions and request certain characteristics, based on boat-building applications.
Of course, premium bending ability and water resistance are important, along with appearance. Weight can also be a factor, so you’ll want to consider that in the core species and composition. If your lumber supplier knows your end-use aims, they will realize that your plywood needs will mean a consistent face that will be able to reliably function as decking veneer or with a fiberglass overlay. Water resistance and durability can be assured if you order BS1088 or better.
Sourcing Exterior Plywood for Structural Applications
While depending on the locale, your exterior plywood used for structures may require a high degree of resilience, but it need not contain the same level of water resistance as boat-building applications would. Since plywood used for structures is often used as a substrate and paired with solid hardwood or softwood, the plywood’s appearance is often less significant.
When you explain to your lumber supplier exactly what you need and what your end use is going to be, you can avoid unnecessarily spending extra money.
The key to ensuring that the plywood you order is neither overkill nor insufficient for the project is to make certain you have a conversation with your lumber dealer. Armed with the knowledge that not all marine-grade plywood is the same, we hope you’ll be better equipped to start this conversation and receive the right kind of plywood for your next job.