Questions always arise regarding the differences between the quality and longevity of various flooring materials. Depending on the location and the foot traffic, there are types of flooring materials that are known to work better than others. However, when it comes to flooring that is made from wood, this type is more flexible and can be used in all types of environments. Plywood flooring is a type of wood flooring that undergoes processing and transformation so that it becomes protected against factors that try to degrade its quality. This article will show important details about plywood flooring, how long it lasts, and maintenance tips that can help to prolong its life.
Plywood Flooring And Its Different Grades
There are many people who prefer to install wood flooring to their houses. Hardwood flooring is sought by a lot of these people. However, the cost of installing hardwood flooring is the main hindrance for some people. The best alternative available in the industry is by using plywood flooring instead. This type of wood flooring is flexible enough, which makes it possible for people to mimic the same look of their preferred hardwood flooring designs. Plywood flooring comes in sheets. The standard size of a sheet is 8’x4’. A sheet is created by gluing multiple wood veneers together. In most cases, the different layers of wood veneer are placed in an alternating way that would make the grains face 90 degrees away from each other. This gives the plywood flooring sheet optimal strength.
Plywood can be used as the subflooring or the actual finished flooring of a house. The glue that is used in making a plywood flooring sheet greatly affects its quality and resistance against moisture and air. Plywood flooring sheets come in different grades. These grades determine the quality of the visual characteristics of plywood flooring sheets. A grade has two ratings that are shown in letters. The first letter is used to represent the visual quality of the front of the sheet. The second letter refers to the quality of the back of the plywood flooring sheet. You may refer to the following list for the respective meanings of these grade ratings:
- Sheets that have been graded with an A mean that you will not find any knots or defects on the faces of these plywood sheets. A-graded sheets signify the highest visual quality. Also, it has the smoothest surface and can be easily painted or applied with a coating.
- B-grade on plywood sheets means that they have very small defects. These sheets are slightly less smooth as compared to A-graded plywood sheets. These minor defects can be easily repaired.
- When the plywood sheet has holes, discoloration, or open knots, then it usually has a C-grade or a D-grade. Knots may reach up to 1.5” in diameter for C-grade plywood, while these may reach up to 2.5” for D-grade plywood.. With these visible imperfections, plywood sheets that have C-grade or D-grade ratings are good to be used for bracing and other structural purposes.
- X-grade plywood sheets are designed for outdoor use. These are also considered as scrap wood sheets.
Plywood Flooring Classifications
The plywood grades can help you determine which parts of your house can be installed with specific plywood flooring sheets. These decisions are based on the visual appearances of these plywood flooring sheets. Areas that will be installed with certain plywood grades are classified into the following:
o As previously mentioned, plywood flooring sheets with either C-grade or D-grade are best for structural use. Plywood flooring for structural use can be installed in rooms that have heavy furniture or high foot traffic. These areas in a house may include the living room, entryways, and dining rooms.
o Plywood flooring for interior use means that the plywood flooring sheets are used decoratively. This usually entails that these plywood sheets have A-grades and B-grades. To ensure that the quality does not easily degrade, these sheets should be installed in rooms that do not have heavy foot traffic, just like a bedroom. Having smoother surfaces, these plywood sheets are also best used to form the subfloor of a room. It becomes easier to install carpets, laminate flooring, engineered wood flooring, tiles, and vinyl flooring.
o Plywood flooring for external means that it is good to be installed on areas that may be exposed to constant weather changes. This has similarities with marine plywood due to the fact that the glue used to bind the wood veneers is strong and waterproof. This ensures that the plywood flooring sheets will not warp easily when exposed to water and moisture. However, this type of plywood is focused more on giving a pleasing aesthetic finish to a room. It is not sturdy enough to handle heavy appliances and furniture. It may be used as a cheaper alternative to marine plywood for your kitchen or bathroom flooring. It is best used to install in rooms that have lower foot traffic, like guest rooms.
o Marine plywood flooring has been designed for both aesthetics and heavy load bearing properties that are needed in some rooms. It has a higher cost as compared to the other classifications of plywood flooring. Marine plywood can be used internally for your kitchen and bathroom. However, it can also be installed in gazebo floors, boat decks, and garden decks.
Lifespan Of Plywood Flooring
Since plywood flooring is a composite building material, it has been designed to effectively handle different conditions and forces that try to degrade its quality over time. Other than the type of wood that has been used to create the plywood flooring sheets, the type or brand of the glue is another factor that can prolong the life of your plywood flooring. There are various types of glues used to manufacture plywood flooring sheets. Urea formaldehyde is known to be the best glue to bond the wood veneers in plywood flooring sheets. This is due its abundance and high level of hold strength over a period of time. Ideally, plywood flooring is known to last for at least 20 years before there is a need to perform major fixes to it.
Plywood Flooring Maintenance Tips
It is a well-known fact that providing regular maintenance to any type of flooring will help extend its life. Different types of flooring materials need to be treated differently though. Knowing about some of the common tips to maintain your plywood flooring will help prevent your flooring from degrading earlier than expected. You may refer to the following list for these tips:
Apply oil-based preservatives to the plywood flooring that was installed for interior use
o Oil-based preservatives are known to help plywood flooring from rotting over time. In the bedroom, its plywood flooring may not be constantly exposed to moisture or water. However, you may not realize it, but you may be the one exposing your bedroom to damages after you leave your bathroom and drip water on your bedroom floor.
Coat your floor with paint to add protection on its surface
o Paint can be used to ensure that your plywood floor does not get scratched easily. This extra layer of protection will make sure that you do not have to change your plywood flooring sheets soon. It is also a good solution to protect your exterior plywood flooring from the harsh effects of sunlight.
Do not apply wet cleaning material to your plywood flooring
o Even though you are using the best brand of marine plywood as the flooring of your house, you should always remember that too much exposure to water will eventually have negative effects on your plywood flooring. Though it will take longer for marine plywood to get affected as compared to traditional plywood, the time will still come that the constant exposure to moisture will cause your plywood flooring to get damaged. To clean your plywood flooring, it is best that you only use a vacuum and a broom. If there are areas that need to be cleaned with a wet material to remove odor and stain, then you should apply small quantities of the material and quickly rub and wipe off the stains. Do not let the wet material linger for too long to prevent it from leaking into the different layers of wood veneer.
Take Good Care Of Your Plywood Floors
Durability, strength, cost-effectiveness, and beauty are probably the reasons that made you choose plywood flooring for your house. Plywood flooring is known to be the best alternative to hardwood flooring since you can even add stains that can make your floor mimic the design of a specific kind of hardwood. Plywood flooring is a wise investment and should last as long as possible. Weather and moisture are factors that you will not be able to control since these are natural occurrences. However, you may perform actions that will add protection to your plywood flooring from them. If you have concerns with plywood flooring, you can contact Three Trees Flooring at (416) 665-2624. Our team of experts can install one for your house.