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Can Plywood Get Wet? (All You Need to Know)

Nowadays, plywood is popular all over the world. Plywood has some excellent features that make it suitable to use as furniture, doors, roof, and even the floor. So, the demand for plywood is increasing drastically day by day.

If you want to use any material in your house, you have to know the advantages and disadvantages of that material. So, you might be confused about whether plywood can get wet or not.

Well, you have to know the properties and characteristics of plywood to know its wettability.

Can plywood get wet?

Plywood can get wet and it swells being wet. But plywood can return to its regular shape when it is dried out. Generally, good-quality plywood will dry out quickly when it gets wet. But if the common plywood gets wet for a long time, it can swell, change its shape, and split apart.

Whether the plywood can get wet or not depends on the quality of the plywood. Moreover, the time period of getting wet is also responsible for wetting the plywood. Generally, plywood can get wet for a short time and eventually dries out.

But if the plywood is in touch with water for a prolonged period, the plywood will swell and take time to dry out. Even the plywood might change its shape and eventually, the wood will split apart.

Let’s see some plywood and its wettability.

OSB plywood:

OSB is Oriented Strand Board. Generally, OSB plywood and regular plywood are the same. But OSB plywood takes a longer time to get wet. But it also takes a longer time to dry out.

That means OSB can hold moisture for a longer time and increases the chance of damage.

Marine plywood:

Marine plywood has the advantage of better water resistivity than normal plywood. Marine plywood has a layer of glue that is water and moisture-resistant. So, marine plywood doesn’t get wet like conventional plywood.

Birch plywood:

Birch plywood is also better water-resistant than regular plywood. Birch plywood has water-resistant varnish or wax that repels water and moisture. So, this plywood is suitable for the area where unexpected water exposure occurs.

Treated plywood:

Treated plywood is not waterproof. So, treated plywood can be wet. Though treated plywood has better properties and dries out if close to the water for a short time.

But if the treated plywood is close to the water for a long time, the wood might get swelled and damaged.

Exterior plywood:

Exterior plywood can get wet. Generally, exterior plywood is made for use outside of the house. Though they are supposed to be more protective, they still get wet if they are in the water for a long time.

CDX plywood:

CDX plywood is specially made for use outside as its X represents exposure. So, they are pretty water-resistant. But CDX plywood is not fully waterproof. So, if they are exposed to water for a long time, the wood might be damaged.

Structural plywood:

Structural plywood is standard plywood. This plywood is made for resisting water. When the plywood gets exposed to water, it swells and changes shape. But structural plywood has a glue layer that protects it from water.

Plywood sheathing:

The plywood sheathing can resist a limited amount of water. Besides, plywood sheathing needs time to dry out. But this plywood sheathing doesn’t get damaged quickly.

Hardwood plywood:

Hardwood plywood is pretty same as the regular plywood. So, hardwood plywood doesn’t give excess protection from water. If hardwood plywood gets close to water, it will dry out quickly.

But if the hardwood plywood is in water for a long time, the plywood might be damaged.

Roofing plywood:

Roofing plywood can be pretty problematic. We know that plywood is not completely waterproof. They can get wet and swell. So, when you install roofing plywood, the trapped water will boil in the sunlight.

Moreover, the steam from this boiling will create small pits on the roofing plywood.

Untreated plywood:

Untreated plywood isn’t waterproof. So, they will swell if they are wet. Even they can change their shape. But if dried properly, the plywood might be used.

RTD plywood:

RTD plywood is exterior plywood. RTD plywood is designed to resist water and moisture. These plywoods are excellent for use outside the house because they are waterproof. So, RTD can’t get wet.

Sanded plywood:

Sanded plywood is smooth plywood that has piles front and back piles. These plywoods are generally used for making furniture and the interior of the house. So, sanded plywood can get wet and swell if they are used outside or close to water.

MDF plywood:

MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard that is moisture-resistant. But MDF plywood is not waterproof or water-resistant. So, this plywood can get wet.

Is it okay if plywood gets wet?

No, it is not okay if plywood gets wet. Generally, most plywood is not water-resistant. They can get wet and after getting wet they can swell. Even sometimes, their shapes are changed.

Though some of the plywood like RTD plywood, CDX plywood, structural plywood, etc., can resist water and moisture, most plywood can’t do these.

So, when the plywood gets wet, the plywood will swell and damage eventually. If you use normal plywood in the exterior of the house or for roofing, the water will trap and damage the roof when exposed to direct sunlight. So, wet plywood can be pretty damaging.

What happens if plywood gets wet?

If plywood gets wet, the plywood will react based on its properties. Some engineered plywood is water-resistant and has excellent features. They won’t get damaged if gets wet. Let’s see what happens if plywood gets wet.

Interior plywood:

If the furniture or interior plywood gets wet, it will swell and change their shapes. This plywood will not expose to direct sun, so the water trapped in them will take more time to dry out. The plywood can also be delaminated.

So, the plywood will damage eventually.

Exterior plywood:

Sometimes, drying the plywood will help to regain shape. But eventually, the plywood will damage. Moreover, if you apply plywood outside, it will trap water and create small pits in the plywood.

How long does it take to dry out plywood?

How long it will take to dry out plywood depends on the amount of water. If the plywood gets wet, it can take some weeks to a month to dry the plywood completely. Moreover, the plywood might be delaminated if it doesn’t dry out properly.

You can check that by pushing the surface of the plywood. The surface will seem spongy if the plywood is delaminated. So, drying out fully is important for the plywood.

How do you remove moisture from plywood? How to dry?

Drying out the wet plywood is essential since wet plywood can be damaged. So, here is how you can remove moisture from plywood.

  • Soak up the excess water with a cloth from the wet plywood.
  • Set table fans at the plywood to dry it properly.
  • If the dimension of the plywood is large, you can use multiple high-powered fans.
  • You can also set space heaters on the fans to make the drying process fast.

Can plywood get wet during construction?

Yes, plywood can get wet during construction. When a project begins, generally, plywood is gathered for a long period. So, they get wet in rain and for other water exposure. This long time with water can damage the plywood.

Plywood in the construction site is in the same state. If they are outside for a long time and get wet in rain, or get close to water, they can swell. Moreover, the plywood will change its shape. Even the wood from the plywood will split apart.

Can plywood get rained on?

Yes, plywood can get rained on. Generally, most plywood is not water-resistant. So, if the plywood is outside or used for roofing, the plywood will get rained on.

If the plywood gets rained on for a short time, it will not cause any harm. Besides, the plywood will dry out soon. But if the plywood gets rained on for a long time, it can damage gradually. The plywood will soak water and swell.

Moreover, roofing plywood can create pits for trapping water in them.

How to dry wet plywood fast?

To dry wet plywood fast, you have to remove the excess water on the surface first. You can soak the excess water on the surface with a piece of cloth. Next, you can set some fans to dry out the water from the plywood.

You can set high-powered fans to remove water from plywood. Then you can set space heaters on the fans to soak water from the plywood faster. Thus you can dry wet plywood fast.

How do you fix water-damaged plywood?

To fix water-damaged plywood, you need to follow a process. Let’s see how you can fix water-damaged plywood.

  • Dry the damaged plywood well with a cloth and fan.
  • You can also dry out the plywood by keeping them in the sunlight for some time.
  • You can squirt some glue between the delaminating layers to stick them together.
  • Provide some pressure on the glued area and leave the plywood to dry the glue.

Final Thoughts:

Plywood can get wet when they are close to water. Plywood is popular all over the world for both interior and exterior use. But they get wet and swell after getting wet. Sometimes, plywood can change its shape being wet. But you can dry them out or fix them with some processes.