Why Waterproofing Plywood is Important

When it comes to working with plywood parts like wood cylinders made of plywood, waterproofing is an essential step to ensure its durability and longevity. Plywood, which is made by bonding multiple layers of wood veneers together, is prone to damage when exposed to moisture. Understanding the importance of waterproofing and the benefits it offers is crucial for businesses dealing with wood products, wood shapes, and wood furniture parts.

Understanding the Importance of Waterproofing

Waterproofing plywood is vital because it helps protect the wood from the detrimental effects of moisture. Unprotected plywood can absorb water, leading to swelling, warping, rotting, and the growth of mold and mildew. Moisture penetration can weaken the structure of plywood, compromising its integrity and rendering it unsuitable for various applications.

By waterproofing plywood, you create a barrier that prevents water from seeping into the wood. This protective layer shields the plywood from moisture-related issues, thereby significantly extending its lifespan and maintaining its structural integrity.

Benefits of Waterproofing Plywood

Waterproofing plywood offers several notable benefits:

  1. Enhanced durability: Waterproofing strengthens the plywood, making it more resistant to moisture, humidity, and other environmental factors. This increased durability ensures that the plywood can withstand challenging conditions and maintain its functionality for an extended period.
  2. Protection against rot and decay: Moisture can cause plywood to rot and decay over time. Waterproofing prevents water absorption, effectively safeguarding the wood against rotting, decay, and the growth of fungi.
  3. Improved stability: Plywood that has been properly waterproofed remains stable and maintains its shape even in humid environments. This stability is crucial, especially for applications where structural integrity is essential.
  4. Versatility: Waterproofed plywood can be used in various applications, both indoors and outdoors. It can be utilized for construction projects, furniture manufacturing, boat building, and other areas where resistance to moisture is critical.

By understanding the importance of waterproofing and the benefits it provides, businesses can ensure that their wood products, wood shapes, and wood furniture parts remain in optimal condition, regardless of the environment they are exposed to.

In the next sections, we will explore the steps involved in preparing the plywood for waterproofing, choosing the right waterproofing methods, and the maintenance required to extend the lifespan of waterproofed plywood.

Preparing the Plywood

Before applying any waterproofing treatment to plywood, it is important to properly prepare the surface to ensure maximum effectiveness and longevity of the waterproofing. This section will outline two key steps in the preparation process: cleaning and sanding the surface and filling gaps and imperfections.

Cleaning and Sanding the Surface

To begin, it is crucial to clean the plywood surface thoroughly. Remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may be present. This can be done by using a soft brush or vacuum cleaner to gently sweep away loose particles. For more stubborn dirt or stains, a mild detergent solution can be used with a soft cloth or sponge. Be sure to rinse the surface thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before proceeding.

After cleaning, the next step is to sand the plywood surface. Sanding helps to create a smooth and even surface, allowing for better adhesion of the waterproofing treatment. Start by using a medium-grit sandpaper and sand in the direction of the wood grain. This helps to avoid any potential damage to the plywood surface. Gradually switch to a finer-grit sandpaper to achieve a smoother finish. After sanding, remove any sanding dust by wiping the surface with a clean, damp cloth.

Filling Gaps and Imperfections

Once the surface is clean and smooth, it is important to address any gaps or imperfections in the plywood. These gaps can compromise the effectiveness of the waterproofing treatment and may lead to water penetration over time. One way to fill these gaps is by using a wood filler or putty that matches the color of the plywood. Apply the filler to the gaps using a putty knife or a small spatula, ensuring that it is evenly spread and leveled with the surface. Allow the filler to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and then sand it lightly to achieve a seamless finish.

For larger gaps or cracks, it may be necessary to use a two-part epoxy filler. This type of filler provides a stronger and more durable bond. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing the epoxy and apply it to the gaps using a putty knife. Once the epoxy has cured, sand it to achieve a smooth surface.

By properly preparing the plywood surface through cleaning, sanding, and filling gaps, you create a solid foundation for the waterproofing treatment. This ensures that the treatment adheres well to the surface and provides optimal protection against water damage. For information on the types of plywood, you can refer to our blog section where we offer amazing informational content.

Choosing the Right Waterproofing Method

When it comes to waterproofing plywood, selecting the appropriate method is crucial to ensure long-lasting protection. There are different types of sealers and coatings available, each with its own advantages and applications. In this section, we will explore three common waterproofing methods: oil-based sealers, water-based sealers, and epoxy resin coating.

Oil-Based Sealers

Oil-based sealers are a popular choice for waterproofing plywood. These sealers penetrate deeply into the wood fibers, providing excellent protection against moisture. They create a barrier that repels water, preventing it from seeping into the plywood.

One of the main advantages of oil-based sealers is their ability to enhance the natural beauty of the wood. They bring out the richness of the wood grain while providing a protective layer. However, it’s important to note that oil-based sealers can darken the appearance of the wood, which may not be desirable in some applications.

Water-Based Sealers

Water-based sealers are another effective option for waterproofing plywood. These sealers are formulated with water as the primary solvent, making them easier to use and clean up. They provide excellent protection against moisture and help to prevent warping, rot, and decay.

Water-based sealers are available in various finishes, including clear and tinted options. They offer the advantage of maintaining the natural color and appearance of the plywood, making them a popular choice for applications where the wood’s aesthetics are important.

Epoxy Resin Coating

For enhanced protection and durability, epoxy resin coating is an excellent choice for waterproofing plywood. Epoxy resin forms a strong, protective layer on the surface of the wood, creating a barrier against water and other external factors.

Epoxy resin coating provides a high level of resistance to moisture, chemicals, and UV radiation. It is commonly used in applications where the plywood will be exposed to harsh environments, such as outdoor furniture or marine applications. However, it’s important to note that applying epoxy resin coating may require specialized equipment and expertise.

Waterproofing Method Advantages
Oil-Based Sealers Deep penetration, enhances wood grain
Water-Based Sealers Easy application, maintains natural appearance
Epoxy Resin Coating Enhanced protection, high durability

Choosing the right waterproofing method depends on the specific requirements of your diy plywood project. Consider factors such as the desired appearance, level of protection needed, and the environment in which the plywood will be used. Consulting with a professional or referring to expert resources can help you make an informed decision.

Properly waterproofed plywood not only ensures its longevity but also protects it from potential damage caused by moisture. By selecting the appropriate waterproofing method, you can help preserve the quality and performance of your plywood products.

Applying the Waterproofing Treatment

Once you have prepared the plywood surface, it’s time to apply the waterproofing treatment. There are several methods you can use, including brushing or rolling, spraying, and soaking.

Brushing or Rolling

Brushing or rolling the waterproofing treatment onto the plywood is a common and effective method. It allows for precise application and ensures that the treatment is evenly distributed across the surface.

To apply the treatment using this method, follow these steps:

  1. Use a paintbrush or roller specifically designed for waterproofing applications.
  2. Dip the brush or roller into the waterproofing solution, making sure to coat it evenly.
  3. Apply the treatment to the plywood in smooth, even strokes, working in the direction of the wood grain.
  4. Ensure that the entire surface is covered, paying extra attention to edges and corners.
  5. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying additional coats, if necessary. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended drying time.


Spraying the waterproofing treatment onto the plywood offers a quicker and more efficient method of application, especially for larger surfaces or intricate designs. It allows for a more even distribution of the treatment and helps to reach areas that may be challenging to access with a brush or roller.

To spray the treatment onto the plywood, follow these steps:

  1. Use a sprayer specifically designed for waterproofing applications. Ensure that it is clean and in good working condition.
  2. Fill the sprayer with the waterproofing solution, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Adjust the nozzle of the sprayer to achieve the desired spray pattern and coverage.
  4. Hold the sprayer at a consistent distance from the plywood surface and apply the treatment in a sweeping motion.
  5. Make multiple passes, if needed, to ensure even coverage and saturation.
  6. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying additional coats, if necessary. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended drying time.


Soaking the plywood in a waterproofing solution is a method commonly used for smaller pieces or when a thorough and deep penetration of the treatment is desired. This method allows the treatment to seep into the wood fibers, providing enhanced protection against moisture.

To soak the plywood, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a container or basin large enough to hold the plywood piece(s) completely submerged.
  2. Fill the container with the waterproofing solution, ensuring that it is enough to fully cover the plywood.
  3. Place the plywood into the container, ensuring that it is fully immersed in the solution.
  4. Allow the plywood to soak for the recommended duration, as specified by the manufacturer.
  5. After soaking, remove the plywood from the solution and allow any excess to drip off.
  6. Place the plywood on a flat surface to air dry completely before use or further treatment.

Selecting the appropriate method for applying the waterproofing treatment depends on the size of the plywood, the desired level of penetration, and the application convenience. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific waterproofing product you are using to ensure optimal results and long-lasting protection for your plywood.

Maintenance and Longevity

To ensure the long-term effectiveness of waterproofing plywood, proper maintenance is essential. Regular inspections, touch-ups, and appropriate storage practices can significantly extend the lifespan of the waterproofed plywood.

Regular Inspections and Touch-ups

Regular inspections of the waterproofed plywood are crucial to identify any signs of wear and tear or potential areas of damage. Inspect the plywood for any cracks, peeling, or areas where the waterproofing may have deteriorated. If any issues are detected, it is important to address them promptly to prevent further damage.

Performing touch-ups on the waterproofing can help maintain its effectiveness. Use a suitable waterproofing product and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to reapply the waterproofing treatment on areas that require it. This helps to ensure that the plywood remains protected against moisture, preventing water penetration and potential damage.

Proper Storage and Handling

Proper storage and handling of waterproofed plywood are key factors in maintaining its longevity. When storing plywood, it should be kept in a dry and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Stacking plywood sheets in a way that allows for proper air circulation can help prevent moisture buildup.

Avoid placing plywood directly on the ground or in contact with wet surfaces to prevent moisture absorption. Utilize pallets or other elevated platforms to keep the plywood off the ground. Additionally, handle the plywood with care to avoid damaging the waterproofing layer. Rough handling or dragging the plywood can scratch or compromise the waterproofing, reducing its effectiveness.

Extending the Lifespan of Waterproofed Plywood

Implementing certain practices can help prolong the lifespan of waterproofed plywood. Consider the following guidelines:

  • Proper installation: Ensure that the plywood is installed correctly, with proper sealing of joints and edges, to minimize the chances of water infiltration.
  • Regular cleaning: Clean the surface of the plywood periodically to remove dirt, debris, and potential contaminants that can compromise the waterproofing layer.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure: Minimize the exposure of waterproofed plywood to standing water or excessive moisture, as prolonged exposure can lead to deterioration of the waterproofing.
  • Consider edge sealing: If the edges of the plywood are left exposed, consider applying an additional layer of waterproofing or edge sealant to provide extra protection.

By following these maintenance practices and handling guidelines, businesses can ensure that their waterproofed plywood remains in optimal condition, providing long-lasting protection against moisture and increasing its lifespan. For more information on plywood and its manufacturing process, check out our article on how is plywood made. We also have an amazing article written as the ultimate guide to plywood.

Skip to content