The Marine Ply Myth: Busted

Posted by Nathan Sangster on Aug 28, 2019, 8:01:15 PM

Feature Image - Marine Ply 2

In this article, we bust the myth that marine plywood is the ‘only’ plywood capable of withstanding exposure to moisture.

Marine plywood is recommended for any plywood application where the timber will be directly immersed in water for a period of time such as boat building and other marine activities.

In most instances though, an external rated ply is a suitable alternative for applications requiring general moisture resistance. This includes joinery in kitchens and bathrooms, external soffit areas, childcare projects and similar applications.

What is Marine Plywood?

Specifically designed with structural strength for greater impact resistance as well as to absorb the effects of water movement and pressure, marine plywood is manufactured to the very highest standard with both ply faces being A grade veneer and totally defect-free. Examples include Hoop Pine Plywood meeting Australian Standard AS/NZS2272; or Pink Marine Ply meeting British Standard BS1088.

What Is the Alternative?

Unless the plywood will be fully submerged in water for extended periods of time, most projects exposed to moisture do not require marine ply.

Birch plywood is both a suitable and economical alternative to marine ply for these applications. Birch ply is manufactured from premium B/BB grade Northern European Birch timber, a cold climate timber featuring close growth rings to provide exceptional long-lasting strength and durability for the core and veneer ply layers.

How to 'Waterproof' Plywood

All plywood sheets, including marine and birch, are manufactured with the same Type A Phenolic Bond glue line – E0 formaldehyde rating, enabling the ply veneer sheets and core to bond securely together.

The moisture resistance of both marine plywood and birch plywood depends on the quality of the glue line, unique veneer faces and timber core as well as how well the exposed plywood edges are sealed and protected.

It's important to note that both the exposed edges of Marine Ply and Birch plywood must be protected with layers of water repellent varnish or oil/wax products.


Maxiply specialises in supplying an extensive range of birch plywood sheets to suit projects that require moisture resistance:

  • Maxi Film: birch ply with a selection of 10 coloured phenolic/ melamine protective film coatings
  • Maxi Edge Fineline: birch ply designer sheets in either veneer or solid panels
  • Maxi Hex: birch ply with a phenolic hexagonal film coating
  • Maxi Birch: classic Birch plywood sheets

Looking for advice on the best ply for your project or would you like pricing on our birch ply products? Please contact our team on 1300 761 741 or email