Plywood Decking: A Good Alternative? Plywood Decking: A Good Alternative?

Most of the decks you find will be made out of individual boards and not plywood decking. This is not to say that plywood decking does not make a good alternative to individual boards. Plywood decking is essentially thin sheets of wood glued together to make a thicker sheet. The plywood decking is installed on top of the decking joists in one or more large sheets instead of individual pieces.

The article that follows will address the question of whether plywood decking is a good alternative to the traditional materials used to build a deck.

Standing Water

One issue you will have with using plywood decking instead of individual boards is the pooling of water. Keep in mind that plywood decking is very flat, and there is no place for water to run off of the plywood. If you do not sweep the water from the plywood, you will potential face several issues, including mold and rotting of the plywood decking. With traditional boards, the water simply falls through the breaks in the boards.

Expense

Individual boards used to make a deck can come in a variety of materials, from pressure-treated lumber and cedar to composite boards. Any of these materials will make a great deck. Plywood decking is a lot less expensive than the other materials. One or two sheets of plywood can cover the entire deck.

Proper Plywood Decking Materials

Plywood decking is a great choice as an alternative to regular boards as long as the right plywood is used. Normal plywood is only four or five layers of wood and is bonded together by a basic epoxy. The only kind of plywood you should use as decking material is marine plywood.

There are several differences between marine plywood and normal plywood which make it the best choice for an alternative decking material. Marine plywood is seven to eight layers thick, and the epoxy used to bind the layers is waterproof. On top of that, the plywood itself is treated with waterproof sealer. Another major difference is that normal plywood is created with voids in the layers. If you cut into the plywood, you will see spaces between the layers. This is not conducive to being waterproof. Marine plywood, on the other hand, is made so that there are no gaps or voids between the layers.

Ease of Installation

Sometimes you just want to get the deck built and done. The time it takes to build a deck will also impact the cost of the deck when it is finished. With traditional boards, the deck can take several days to finish. You may also face the problem of the boards being installed incorrectly, nails not properly sunk, or the wood looking less than perfect. Plywood decking comes in large sheets, which means you can cover the deck easily with the plywood.

Instead of the deck taking days to finish, the deck can be completed in hours by using plywood as the decking material instead of individual boards. This will also keep the cost down.

As you can see plywood can be a great alternative for your new deck. The decision will be yours based on preference and your project's needs.

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