Boat Floor Replacement Plywood [Best Options]

There are different types of materials you can use for boat floor replacement. For example, you can use a fiberboard, fiber cement board, or thermo-lite board. If you have considered using plywood, what is the best boat floor replacement plywood?

Marine plywood is an ideal sheet material for boat floor replacement. It can easily be cut using basic power tools and hand saws. It may be used not only as boat flooring replacement but also to construct boat interiors in general.

Read on to learn more about boat floor replacement plywood, including the different types of marine plywood.

Boat Floor Replacement Plywood

boat floor replacement plywood

Marine plywood is the best boat floor replacement plywood. It can easily be cut using basic power tools and hand saws. It may be used not only for boat flooring but also for boat interiors in general.

Marine plywood is highly resistant to water, dampness, and fungus. It features a durable face and core veneers. At the same time, it is free of voids.

This type of plywood is more costly than other types of plywood. In essence, what you are paying for is its durability. It is guaranteed to last and withstand even the harshest environments.

Marine plywood is proven to last for 25 years or so. The high-grade waterproof glue applied in between the veneer layers significantly contributes to its durability. This type of plywood has fewer flaws compared to the standard ones. For these reasons, marine plywood is a great boat floor replacement plywood.

You will notice a seal of approval indicated in the plywood. However, there have been issues arising concerning quality variance. It seems that it differs for every manufacturer. That’s why it is always best to do your own research before buying.

Here is one way of testing whether the marine plywood is good quality or not:

  1. Cut a sample or two of the marine plywood;
  2. Place them inside the dishwasher and leave them for a few cycles;
  3. Simmer them in hot water for several day; and
  4. Check if they delaminate.

Of course, all boat owners are determined to make their boat flooring as sturdy and durable as possible. So, if you are like them, take your time to do your own research. Test different brands of marine plywood before deciding which one to buy. 

Outdoor Grade Plywood

Another boat floor replacement plywood, as an alternative to marine plywood, is outdoor or exterior grade plywood. The glue applied to it is 100 percent waterproof too. It can withstand extreme exposure to outdoor environments.

Outdoor-grade plywood may also have voids in between the layers. However, they are not that noticeable. If you want to confirm this, try peeling back the layers to inspect.

Again, don’t be impulsive in buying plywood for your boat flooring. Marine plywood is indeed proven to be sturdier than outdoor grade plywood. But some boaters still prefer using the latter.

If you consider buying outdoor grade plywood for your boat floor replacement plywood, make sure to conduct your own research. Check out different brands of plywood before you make your final decision. Make sure to buy the sturdiest among all outdoor grade plywood.

Outdoor Grade Plywood Is Not as Good as Marine Plywood

Some might think that marine plywood is not necessary anymore since it will be coated in resin anyway. At the same time, it will also be fiberglassed. The wood will not be directly exposed to water. So, why can’t we use outdoor grade plywood instead?

Using outdoor grade plywood is not as good as marine plywood for boat flooring replacement. While you have the option to use it, we can’t guarantee that it’s going to last long. The last thing you want to experience is to replace your boat flooring every so often.

The fiberglass used to seal and protect the plywood is expected to crack and wear over time. Once it becomes damaged, it will cause the water to seep through the underlying plywood. If you use outdoor grade plywood, the chances are that it will rot in no time. Not only will you have damaged fiberglass, but you will also have damaged plywood.

Is Pure Fiberglass Boat Floor Replacement Possible?

You’re probably wondering if you can skip using plywood and use pure fiberglass to replace the boat flooring. While this is possible, the required matting to create the floor would incur a hefty amount of money. It is considerably more costly than using a fiberglassed marine plywood.

Also, it is advisable to have a core material where you can laminate the fiberglass over. This is why boat builders have always preferred to use marine plywood underneath the fiberglass.

Marine Plywood Facts

boat floor replacement

Here are several facts you need to know about marine plywood and why it’s the best boat floor replacement plywood:

  1. Manufactured Using the Best Veneers
  2. Durable
  3. Many Uses

1. Manufactured Using the Best Veneers

Marine plywood is made of the highest quality grade veneer. This is one of the best attributes of this type of plywood, not to mention the most important one. If it weren’t made of premium quality veneer, your wood projects would most likely deteriorate fast.

These high-quality veneers don’t have core gaps and are not prone to defects. This then prevents delamination and even fungal attacks. It prevents water from seeping through the plywood, which maintains the stability of the glue bond. It can definitely withstand constant submersion in water.

2. Durable

A boat consistently encounters floating debris and plate actions as it travels. If your boat is made of marine plywood, it can withstand and absorb forces. Impressively, it will not lose its quality.

This quality may somewhat be present in other types of wood, such as solid wood. One difference, however, is that solid wood is not as flawless as marine plywood. Solid wood has defects that still need to be graded out.

Marine plywood can be used as a boat floor replacement plywood for boats made of any material. It doesn’t matter if your project is an aluminum boat floor replacement or a fiberglass boat floor replacement. Marine plywood will always be ideal plywood to use.

3. Many Uses

Marine plywood is termed as such because, apparently, this type of plywood is ideal for docks, boats, and other projects by the water. However, this type of plywood has many other uses. Marine plywood is definitely not limited to marine applications.

It can be used in your home, like in the kitchen or the laundry area. It can be used in areas where there is a danger of being rained on. Basically, using it will eliminate your worries of replacing damaged wood every so often.

Marine Plywood Alternatives

plywood for boat floor

Some boaters find marine plywood costly. If you’re also considering getting cheaper deals, there are some other boat floor replacement plywood options. They may not be as durable as marine plywood; nonetheless, they are great for boat flooring and also last for a considerable long period of time.

Among these are the following:

  1. Fiber Cement Board
  2. Thermo Lite Board
  3. Weather and Boil Proof Plywood
  4. Ribbon Grain Plywood
  5. Birch Plywood
  6. Wax Resin Fiberboard

1. Fiber Cement Board

Boaters consider fiber cement board as one of the best alternatives for boat construction. It is also a fairly good boat floor replacement plywood. It is a combination of wooden and cement fibers. However, only a small amount of wooden fibers are mixed to ensure better strength.

What substantially contributes to the strength and durability of the fiber cement board is the cement. It does not only provide extra support. But it also provides better moisture resistance.

You can actually construct an entire boat using the fiber cement board. It is lightweight and is, therefore, ideal for constructing such interiors as cabinets. Also, even if it is lighter than hardwood, it is just as durable.

The fiber cement board is capable of resisting moisture. And it is flexible, so it is convenient to use for curved surfaces. Lastly, it is cheaper than marine plywood.

2. Thermo Lite Board

The Thermo Lite Board is lightweight and sturdy, making it a good alternative for marine plywood. It is not only a good boat floor replacement plywood but also in other applications in industrial setups.

Since it is light-free, it can be used for your boat’s ceilings and walls too. You can use it for other interior applications, too, such as cabinets. In addition to that, the Thermo Lite Board is rot-free too. This means that you wouldn’t have to worry about having it replaced every so often.

Some boaters prefer to use this because of its ability to absorb high impacts. It doesn’t wear off in extreme temperatures as well.

The Thermo Lite Board is not only ideal for your boat. It is also ideal for motor homes or houses.

3. Weather and Boil Proof Plywood

The Weather and Boil Proof Plywood, or the WBP plywood, features a highly resistant design. It can withstand both harsh temperatures and weather conditions.

Its material composition features thin veneers that are all glued together. This ensures that the grains are at a right angle.

The WBP plywood is produced using a cross-hatching technique to join the sheets together. This makes the plywood more durable, lighter, and more robust than other types of plywood.

Its glue features premium melamine, which helps it fight off high temperatures. In fact, the WBP plywood is capable of being soaked in boiling water for roughly 20 hours. So, if you often go boating in hot streams, the WBP plywood is a good boat floor replacement plywood.

4. Ribbon Grain Plywood

Interestingly, the ribbon grain plywood features patterns of grains that resemble the shape of ribbons. It features a smooth surface, so you don’t need to polish or smooth it any more right after installation. This feature then makes it economical and time-saving.

The ribbon grain plywood is only artificial but looks like real wood. It is a combination of veneers and cores.

Its cross-grain pattern provides impressive strength and shock resistance to the material. It is not only ideal for boat flooring. But it can be used for the construction of the entire boat.

The ribbon grain plywood is sturdy and durable. It is also not very costly. However, it is not as sturdy and durable as marine-grade plywood. But if you don’t use your boat that often, the ribbon grain plywood is an economical alternative.

5. Birch Plywood

Another economical alternative for marine-grade plywood is birch plywood. Using this material is acceptable, and many boaters use this material for boat construction too. However, it is not as durable as marine plywood. Fully submerging it in water frequently decreases its durability.

Obviously, the birch plywood comes from the birch tree. This type of tree features a ring-like composition, which provides added strength and durability. That’s why it also becomes a good alternative as a boat construction material.

6. Wax Resin Fiberboard

The wax-resin fiberboard is considered a great alternative for marine-grade plywood. In fact, it is one of the best alternative boat floor replacement plywoods.

This fiberboard is highly durable and lightweight. These features make it ideal for various industrial-grade applications.

It is made of softwood fibers combined with wax resin. Wax resin contains ingredients that are ideal for making high-quality boats. It has impressive moisture tolerance. In terms of strength, this type of fiberboard is highly dependable.

Conclusion – Boat Floor Plywood Replacement

The best boat floor replacement plywood is marine plywood. It can efficiently be cut using basic power tools and hand saws. It may be used not only for boat flooring but also for boat interiors in general.

Since marine plywood is quite costly, other types of boat floor replacement plywood are available that you can choose from. They are cheaper than the marine-grade one but are impressively durable too. Among these are the WBP plywood, the ribbon grain plywood, and the birch plywood.

Aside from that, there are other materials you can use as a boat floor replacement. These include the fiber cement board, the Thermo Lite board, and the wax-resin fiberboard.

Whichever material you use, the important thing is to do your own research before buying. Buy the one that best fits your requirement.

Related reading:

Marine Plywood Alternative [9 Best Alternatives]