What is Pressure-Treated Plywood?

Pressure-treated plywood is a wood product that has undergone a specialized treatment process involving the infusion of preservatives under high pressure to enhance its resistance to decay, rot, and pests, making it ideal for outdoor and construction applications.

Common Features of Pressure-Treated Plywood

Pressure-treating involves subjecting the wood to high pressure, forcing preservative chemicals deep into its fibers. This shields the wood from rot, decay, and insect infestations. Copper-based compounds, which have proven effective in preventing deterioration, are commonly used in the pressure-treating process.

Benefits of Pressure-Treated Plywood

The resilience of pressure-treated plywood ensures the longevity of structures and reduces maintenance costs. It has a versatility that shines through in various outdoor applications, from decking to fencing, where it reliably withstands the harshest environmental conditions while maintaining structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.

Common Uses of Pressure-Treated Plywood

It is a popular choice for decking and outdoor structures, where it can endure constant exposure to the weather. Fencing and garden projects benefit from a sturdy barrier while resisting moisture and pests. Its utility extends to marine projects such as boat construction.

Choosing the Right Pressure-Treated Plywood


Pressure-treated plywood comes in multiple grades, each designed for specific purposes. ‘Exterior Grade’ is for outdoor use, ‘Marine Grade’ excels in wet environments, and ‘Utility Grade’ offers cost-effectiveness. ‘Sheathing’ and ‘Appearance’ Grades cater to structural and aesthetic needs, allowing precise selection based on project requirements.


¾ inch-thick plywood is commonly used for subflooring due to its durability and ability to handle heavy loads, while thinner options like ½-inch plywood may be appropriate for lighter applications like wall sheathing or cabinet backing.



For sturdy pressure-treated plywood, follow these steps during installation: use the right fasteners and spacing as recommended, and after installation, apply finishes and seals to protect against moisture and the elements. Regular maintenance, like resealing when needed, ensures long-lasting performance.


To ensure the longevity of pressure-treated plywood, regular maintenance is important. Conduct routine inspections and apply resealing as necessary to preserve its strength, safeguarding your construction or outdoor project for years to come.

Safety Precautions

Taking safety precautions when handling pressure-treated plywood, such as wearing protective gear and following guidelines for safe disposal, safeguards against potential health and environmental hazards associated with the chemicals used in the treatment process. 

Alternatives and Comparisons

When deciding between pressure-treated plywood and marine-grade plywood for a boat deck, it’s crucial to consider the strengths and weaknesses. Pressure-treated plywood may be more cost-effective initially, but marine-grade plywood offers superior resistance to water, making it a better long-term investment despite the cost.

Sustainability and Environmental Concerns

Ensuring the sustainable sourcing of wood used in the treatment process, as certified by organizations like FSC, is a critical step in reducing the environmental impact. Responsible recycling and disposal practices for treated wood help prevent the release of harmful chemicals.

Pressure Treated Plywood Resources

U.S. Forest Service – Guidelines for the Selection and use of pressure treated wood

American Wood Protection Association – Standards (May require Purchase)