August 20, 2021

Marine Plywood Alternatives

The cost of marine plywood, also known as extruded marine plywood, marine paneling, and marine ply, has been steadily rising in recent years. The issue is that it is not only the cost of marine plywood that has increased, but marine plywood itself is also changing. For example, the type of species used to make marine plywood has changed in the past 10 years. They made the old generation of marine plywood from a specific species of trees. A new generation of marine plywood is being made using different trees and even different species of wood. After the change in species, the new generation of marine plywood is still more expensive than the old one.

Plywood

Standard plywood makes good marine plywood if you make it waterproof. It is of the same adhesive that bonds the core and plywood veneer sheets together. 

What bonds the above is the Type A Phenolic Bond glue line. Make sure you get high-quality glue so that your boards become strong and durable. The plywood edges have to be sealed by oil or wax products, seal, and varnish. 

The varnish has to be water repellent for it to qualify as marine plywood. As you make the plywood marine material, select a good quality of plywood and look for the best waterproofing method. 

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Fiberboard 

Fiberboard is a medium-density board that is durable and strong. It does not contain 100 percent wood since it is of softwood fibers bonded by a wax resin. Resin makes the fiber moisture resistant. 

The wood fibers made are cut into wood sheets of standard sizes. They are put under high pressure and high heat for durability since it is for marine use. It has to withstand the pressure that comes with boat making and water. 

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Outdoor Plywood

Outdoor plywood is wood for exterior use, although it works as interior wood. Being outdoor wood means it has features that make it stronger under natural elements that have the probability of affecting its performance. These include rains, storms, ice, and sunlight. 

That makes it a marine plywood substitute. It is not smooth, and that makes it tough enough to survive the marine. It has 100% waterproof glue as a coat, sealant, and varnish. These features tell the user that the wood withstands building constructions exposed to multiple weather conditions. Be careful when choosing this kind of wood since it cannot have defects. 

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Fiber Cement Board

Fiber Cement Board is a combination of wood fibers and cement. The wood fibers are small and bond together with the cement without the use of glue or resin. That breeds a durable and strong material that is moisture resistant. 

The way houses do not get destroyed with the rains is the same way the material withstands marine. The material is strong enough to build exterior marine walls. It is versatile since it is for multiple tasks and boat building. 

Cement is known for being heavy, but, surprisingly, the material is lightweight. The weight does not compromise the durability of the material. It works just fine on boat floors as it endures high traffic. It is also flexible and workable, as shown in how it works on curved surfaces and parts of the boat. 

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Birch Plywood

Birch plywood is for boar parts that are not going to be fully covered by water full time. It is of premium B/BB grade timber-framed Northern Europe birch trees. 

The trees grow in cold climates, and they grow rings that make them stronger and durable. These natural characteristics make it ideal for marine life. 

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Ribbon Grain Plywood 

This type of wood has grains that appear in ribbon patterns that appear on the surface. It comes with vertical stripes of grains that run along the wood’s length. The smoothness of the material saves you from sanding after installation. 

That saves time during construction and energy. There are stages involved in boat building eliminated. Being strong makes it ideal for marine although it is not as strong as marine plywood. 

It is affordable, and the price does not compromise the quality of the wood. It looks like original wood due to the natural wood cross-grains. The strength of the wood across the board makes it tough and durable. 

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Wax Resin Fiberboard

Wax Resin Fiberboard is an alternative to marine plywood. It is not a high-density material, but it holds the pressure of water in the boat-making industry. It is not 100% wood since it contains wax resin. 

It is wax that gives strength and solidness to the material. It is softwood. The resin bonds the wood fibers and produces sheets subjected to high pressure and moisture. 

There is also a way that substitutes resin, and that is hydrogen bonding. It holds sheets together and compresses them. It also involves lignin, a process that reinforces fiber cells together. 

3M Polyurethane Foam Boards

The alternative is rot-resistant, and lightweight and these characteristics make marine plywood. The boards go through compression with fiberglass that is good for the marine. 

The weight saving from the material ranges from 30 to 60%. That makes it a better material than marine plywood. It is available in different weights, and it is easy to work with. 

That saves your construction time. They neither warp nor chip, hence durable boat buildings. They have a low moisture content, better adhesion, and are rot-resistant. 

Thermo-Lite Board

These are a product from a joint venture between Thermo-Lite Australia and Pacific Paint and Fiberglass. The material is versatile, rot-resistant, lightweight, and strong. That gives an excellent performance to the marine world. 

The boards are ideal for DIY users since they are easy to use in repairing boats. The boat is of non-absorbent materials, and that amounts to stability and durability. They have impressive bonding surfaces, and they do not accept contamination. 

King Starboard

The King StarBoard material is high-grade plywood that contains boards made through a process called K-Stran. That is an improved manufacturing process that produces consistent and flat sheets. 

The boards have an impressive resistance in tough marine conditions, and they are stable. The boards neither change color nor rot. The outside layer does not peel off, and the material is easy to work with.

 Minimal maintenance is required, and a matte finish makes the plywood beautiful. The boards are strong enough to withstand harsh water conditions, and that is how it qualifies to be a good substitute for marine plywood. 

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Okoume

Taking a look at the features of marine plywood, they meet what Okoume offers. They include strength, resistance to rot, and it holds glue and fasteners well. 

They withstand the aggression with waves and having a boat subjected to water all day and night. Okoume is lightweight and strong in wet conditions. 

It combines epoxy and fiberglass for strength against wet conditions. It withstands moisture and humidity. The lamination process even makes it stronger.

David D. Hughes
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