When Should You Use Marine Grade Plywood?

Marine Grade plywood is an incredibly durable and versatile product - especially when it comes to water applications. Whether you're building a boat or adding wood accents to your bathroom, it may be the perfect choice for the job. Our Marine Grade plywood is made with lightweight Okoume wood, waterproof adhesive and contains no voids. This guarantees long-lasting durability against water. However, it does come at a higher cost than regular plywood. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that you’re making a wise investment. So, when should you use Marine Grade plywood? We've made a list of some of the top projects.

marine grade plywood stack close up

Boat Building

Whether building a small wooden boat or a large yacht, using marine grade plywood can be an excellent investment. First, it's pliable which makes it easier to work with when building curved structures like the hull of a boat. The plywood’s durability also makes it an excellent option for boat building of any scale. For boat hulls, it serves as reliable protection against leaks if the outer layer becomes scratched or damaged. If you’re building a boat, marine grade plywood is a long-lasting option that will protect your structure against damage and leaks.

Covered Docks

As you may have guessed, marine grade plywood is also a wise choice for docks. While other types of wood often have to be sanded and then treated annually, marine grade plywood will stand the test of time without this maintenance every year. For this reason, it is less likely to rot and warp because of the effects of constant water contact. The structure will remain intact and safe for many years to come.



Lake Platforms

Much like docks, lake platforms greatly benefit from using marine grade plywood as opposed to less durable plywood. If you don’t use it when building a floating structure in the water, you can count on it deteriorating prematurely. We recommend nailing and gluing several boards together and finishing the wood with a waterproof sealer. This will allow you to enjoy your floating platform for many years to come.


When it comes to interior uses for marine grade plywood, there are two places that experience the most moisture. The first is the bathroom. Using marine grade plywood can offer a different aesthetic than the standard materials used in bathrooms. It will also withstand the high moisture environment that comes from the shower and sink. Using it for flooring or a sink backsplash means you won't be taking any chances with rot or mold in your bathroom.


As you may have guessed, the kitchen is the second place in the interior of a home that often experiences the most moisture. Over time, steam and water can compromise the integrity of lesser grade wood in your kitchen. For a waterproof backsplash in your kitchen, marine grade plywood can make a statement and ward off the effects of constant moisture from steam and more. It can also be a great option for flooring or cabinets, depending on how much water they will come in contact with. 

We'd be happy to talk to you more about how marine grade plywood may be a great choice for your next project. Give us a call at 1-800-999-7616.

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Marine Grade Plywood

There are few materials in shipbuilding that are as versatile as marine-grade plywood. Whether it’s needed for construction or repair, for a craft from an 8-foot skiff to a 65-foot yacht, Overseas Hardwoods Company has the plywood solution for any boating application.

Marine Grade Plywood on boat.jpg

OHC’s marine-grade plywood is made of Okoume wood with no filler material. In some lower-quality plywood another wood species is used as filler, but that type of plywood simply isn’t high enough quality to meet OHC standards. All of OHC’s Okoume marine-grade plywood is BS-1088  certified, which means this plywood is manufactured to the highest standards approved by Lloyd’s of London, the premium insurance underwriter in the world.

 Okoume is a superb choice for marine-grade plywood not just for its high quality, but also for its good looks. When used in repairs on Mahogany or Meranti boats, the grain pattern blends in, creating a consistent, flawless look.

 OHC carries eight different sizes of marine-grade plywood for everything from high-end custom kayak or canoe to a large yacht. The 4x8’ sheets are available in six different thicknesses, and the 5x10’ sheets are available in two different thicknesses. Small watercraft builders may utilize the 4mm plywood, as it bends and shapes easily without cracking, and increases buoyancy. Yacht and larger watercraft builders might be more interested in the 12-25mm plywood for a durable hull, to withstand larger waves or a treacherous, rocky passage.

 Marine Grade Plywood.jpg

For building, marine-grade plywood can be used over the boat’s ribbing, creating the outer shell of the boat. Choosing plywood over planking means less seams to fill which creates a streamlined and more efficient building process. A plywood hull can also be lighter weight than planking, which is particularly helpful for smaller watercraft, as it increases buoyancy and makes it easier to haul.

 Marine-grade plywood also proves itself useful for repairs. The rotten, moldy, or damaged area can be cut out and a patch can be crafted using the plywood. If constructed and sealed properly, the repair can make the watercraft as good as new.

Besides boating, marine grade plywood can be used for other applications. It can be used for a dock or lake platform, as the plywood can be nailed or screwed together and then properly sealed. Another possible application is kitchen or bathroom walls and subflooring. Marine grade plywood can withstand the occasional splashes, spills, and leaks that are common to these rooms, without rotting or warping like regular plywood. Exterior signs also benefit from being made of marine grade plywood. Marine grade plywood can withstand the elements, from strong winds to rain, sleet and snow, without degrading like traditional plywood.


Whether a big or small project, from boats to homes to docks and more, and whether for new construction or a repair, Overseas Hardwoods Company’s marine-grade plywood is the quality solution for strength and durability.


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What is the best wood for Marine Grade Plywood?

Consider a boat: immersed in water, misted with caustic ocean spray, and pummeled by aggressive waves, one after another. Could there be a harsher, less friendly environment for wood? And yet wood is a prized boat-building material, spanning from the earliest boats carved out of logs to today’s highly technical yachts. Marine lumber must have specific characteristics such as strength, resistance to rot, and the ability to hold glue and fasteners well.


Many species of wood meet these requirements, but we believe that Okoume is the best possible species for use in Marine-Grade Plywood. 

Okoume is lightweight, doesn’t easily deteriorate in wet conditions, and is handsome enough to add beauty to any boat. Its grain is highly prized, is often compared to Mahogany and can be varnished to use decoratively. It can also be overlaid with a Teak or Ipe veneer. Okoume Marine Grade Plywood is typically used in combination with epoxy and fiberglass to increase strength while remaining lightweight, and can be found on a variety of boats, from single-person kayak builders to some of the world’s largest boat builders.

Marine Grade Plywood is used most typically for hull construction, but can also be used in interior applications. Although the outside of the boat battles the elements quite forcefully, the interior of a boat also needs to withstand moisture and humidity.

Okoume resists rot and performs well in damp conditions inside the boat thanks to its natural properties as well as the lamination process.

Both the wood and the plywood glue must meet specific standards to be considered marine grade. OHC uses Weather and Boil Proof (WBP) glue. Plywood assembled with WBP glue must be able to withstand boiling in water for several hours without delamination. The ability of a plywood to resist delamination under boiling depends not only on the quality of the glue, but also on the materials used and the quality of care used in its manufacturing. It is normally laminated with a ‘phenol-formaldehyde resin’ which sets permanently under heat and pressure. 

OHC’s Marine Grade Plywood meets BS-1088 specifications, which is the highest standard.

These British standards require that the plywood be made from untreated tropical hardwood veneers that have a stated level of resistance to fungal growth. The glue used must be resistant not only to weather, water, and heat, but also to micro-organisms that can deteriorate strength. Face veneers must also have a solid surface without open defects. By meeting BS-1088 specifications, OHC’s Marine Grade Plywood can be insured by Lloyd’s of London.

To build the best boats, the best quality Marine Grade Plywood must be used. Using a better grade will result in a higher value (including resale value), increased longevity of the boat, and a reduction in building time.

For the best quality boats, OHC’s Marine Grade Plywood, made with Okoume, is the obvious choice.


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