If you need to store plywood, the best way to do so is inside a garage or shed where it’s well protected from the elements. However, if you’re working on an outdoor project, and don’t have the storage space needed for your plywood then can you store it outside?
While it’s not ideal, if you take some precautions and prepare properly, you can store plywood outside for prolonged periods without it being ruined.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to store plywood outside – so you won’t have your plywood ruined by mother nature.
Is it Possible to Store Plywood Outside?
While the premise of this article is how to store plywood outside, it should be stated that storing plywood outdoors is never the ideal choice. Whenever possible, store plywood indoors, as this is the only surefire way to ensure it won’t sustain damage from moisture and the elements.
That said, sometimes it’s unavoidable, and you simply need to store your plywood outside. If you’re working on an extensive renovation project, and you have nowhere to stash your plywood where it’ll be protected, then you’ve got to find a way to store it outside.
It’s important to store plywood in a manner where its edges are well protected from any moisture or water from penetrating them. The edges will absorb moisture at a rate of 10:1 when compared with the veneer, so they need to be protected with particular care.
Plywood that is exposed to moisture on its edges will swell and begin to warp, rendering it essentially useless if left in that condition for too long.
Also, pay particular attention to the grade of plywood that you’re dealing with. Marine grade plywood is far more moisture resistant than any other type and can be left in wet environments for prolonged periods without any concern of warping or swelling.
Other plywood that will hold up better in an exterior environment is plywood with an ‘X’ at the end of its grade. For instance, plywood graded ‘BCX’ means that it uses an exterior grade glue to bond the veneers, and will handle some exposure to the elements – but only for a short time.
Plywood without this ‘X’ grading is not rated to handle exposure to the elements, and particular care must be taken to avoid damaging it.
How to Store Plywood Outside – Methods
There are a number of methods you can use to store your plywood. The ideal method for you will mostly depend on how much storage space you’ve got available and what type of covering you’re planning to use.
Method 1: Horizontal
If you have enough space to do so, then storing your plywood horizontally is preferable to storing it vertically. This will prevent it from bending and warping over time.
First off, find a location that will be as well protected from the elements as possible. Then, lay down some shim 2x4s or bricks on the ground to keep your plywood from absorbing moisture from the ground.
Lay down your pieces of plywood over the 2x4s or bricks. If you’re planning on short-term storage, you don’t need to worry about airflow too much, but if you’re going to store the sheets for a long period, then you may want to insert some narrow wood shims between the sheets to prevent moisture from building up.
Lastly, cover the entire pile with a tarp to prevent rain from getting into the plywood. You’ll want to leave a few air holes in the corners to allow free airflow through the plywood pile. It’s also a good idea to tie down the pile with some twine or use several bricks on the corners as weights to keep the tarp from flying away.
Method 2: Vertical
While storing your plywood horizontally is preferable so storing it stacked up vertically, if space is at a premium, then you may only have room to stack it up vertically. In this case, look for an area underneath an overhand or awning, as this will give you some natural protection from the elements.
Also look for an area that gets a lot of sun if possible, as this will give some natural warmth and help prevent moisture from pooling on top of the plywood.
The steps are essentially the same as the first method. First, you’ll want to pick out your location and lay down some wood or brick shim to keep the plywood elevated and off the ground.
Then, lean the first sheet of plywood against your wall. Once again, if you’re going to store your plywood for a long time period (several months or more), then you’ll want to use an extra shim in between each piece to keep the airflow going.
Finally, cover your plywood pile with a plastic tarp to keep the rain and snow off of it. Then, tie it to the plywood pile with some twine to keep it from blowing away in the wind.
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