• Phenolic plywood water-resistant, the guide before ordering!

Phenolic plywood water-resistant, the guide before ordering!

The construction of Phenolic Plywood waterproof

As mentioned above, water-resistant Phenolic Plywood is a waterproof bonded plywood panel with a plastic top layer; quite a mouthful. To make it clear what it all means we will go through all the elements step by step. 

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The plywood core

Phenolic Plywood is made of plywood. Plywood is a sheet material that consists of several thin layers of wood, also called veneer, which are glued together crosswise in the grain. The thin layers of wood veneer that are used can warp in the direction of the grain and by gluing them together crosswise the panel becomes much stronger and does not warp. The result is a panel that, from the top, looks like a solid wood panel. If you look at just the ends, you can see that it consists of several layers.

Because the veneer layers are glued together crosswise, plywood is very strong, even stronger than solid wood! Plywood is often used for indoor and outdoor constructions, depending on the type of wood and the gluing.

The gluing of the veneer layers

Plywood can be divided into MR and WBP bondings. Read here what this means:

An MR bond

MR bonding, also known as interior bonding, stands for "Moist Resistant" bonding. Literally translated, "Moist Resistant" stands for moisture resistant. This is a bit of a misleading name, because the bonding is not moisture-resistant in the way we know it. An MR bonded panel is protected against accidental contact with moisture. Spillage is therefore not a problem, but if you want to use the panel in a room where moisture is structurally present, a kitchen or bathroom for example, then MR bonding is not sufficient. The moisture can cause the glue to peel off. If you intend to use the boards outdoors or in damp spaces, it is best to use plywood with a WBP bonding.

A WBP bonding

A WBP bonding, also known as exterior bonding, stands for "Water Boiled Proof". A WBP board has to pass a special test in which it is placed in boiling water for 72 hours. If the glue does not come off during this test, the board is given the classification WBP. WBP is a kind of hallmark, so you know for sure that the glue between the veneer layers will not release in humid conditions. Phenolic Plywood sheets with the characteristic MR or interior are only suitable for indoor use. Plywood with the characteristic WBP or exterior are suitable for use in humid conditions indoors, but not always suitable for use outdoors. The type of wood used has an important role in this.

The types of wood used for Phenolic Plywood water-resistant

Plywood sheets are made of all kinds of wood. Each wood species has unique properties, so each plywood panel has unique properties.

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Birch: most suitable board material for outdoor use

If you are looking for the most suitable panel material for outdoor use, we recommend: birch Phenolic Plywood. Birch wood is by nature very strong and easy to work with. The veneer layers of birch wood can therefore be made extra thin. Therefore, birch Phenolic Plywood sheets consist of more layers than other types of wood. This makes birch Phenolic Plywood boards stronger and flatter than other Phenolic Plywood boards. Because the veneer layers are glued moisture-resistant, the glue will not come off in humid conditions.

Tropical hardwood; not suitable for outdoor use, but can be used in damp spaces

The wood connoisseurs among us may ask themselves: "But can't hardwood resist moisture better than birch? Why is hardwood Phenolic Plywood not suitable for outdoor use? It is true that hardwood can resist moisture better than birch, but hardwood Phenolic Plywood consists of fewer layers than birch Phenolic Plywood. Because of the hard wood, the layers are thicker and therefore there is more tension on the plate. In hardwood Phenolic Plywood are also several types of tropical hardwood used. The wood will therefore work more at varying degrees of humidity and temperature. That is why hardwood Phenolic Plywood is not suitable for outdoor applications, but it is suitable for humid areas, because it is glued WBP.

Spruce; flat boards for humid areas

Phenolic Plywood made of pinewood is very flat due to the high bending strength of the wood. Therefore, it is often used to make flat walls or as an underlay for floors in wet rooms. The wood does have an increased risk of splitting, which should be taken into account when processing the material.

The properties of the plastic top layer

The difference between Phenolic Plywood and plywood is: the plastic top layer of Phenolic Plywood. This plastic top layer is made of phenolic resin which makes the layer smooth and rock-hard. Phenolic Plywood is also scratch-resistant and impact-resistant because of this layer.

The plastic top layer is applied in different colours. The most common colours are brown, black and white, but colours such as green and red are also possible. The top layer can also be finished with a non-slip layer, so that you have more grip when you use the plate as a floor. The Phenolic Plywood boards with this finish are also called Phenolic Plywood anti-slip.

The applications of Phenolic Plywood water resistant

Formwork for pouring concrete

Waterproof Phenolic Plywood boards are used in several places. Originally, it was developed for making formwork to pour concrete into, which is why it is so important that the sheet is flat and the top layer is smooth. Nowadays you see Phenolic Plywood in several places.


In open trailers, you often see that the floor is made of Phenolic Plywood. Often anti-slip Phenolic Plywood is used for this. This prevents everything from sliding back and forth and also keeps the bottom in good shape longer, compared to a steel bottom. It also helps against damage.

Fitting out of commercial vehicles

A commercial vehicle, such as a truck or a delivery van, often has an interior finish that must prevent damage. On the floor, and also on the walls, Phenolic Plywood is often used for this purpose.

Animal houses

The cat scratches the curls off the stairs. But not with Phenolic Plywood. Dogs and cats can do a lot of damage with their claws. With Phenolic Plywood they can scratch all they want, but they will not get scratches. That is why you also see Phenolic Plywood in animal sheds for rabbits and chickens.


Playground equipment such as slides and playhouses have to endure a lot. Not only from the children playing on them, but also from nature. For the floors, Phenolic Plywood is often used, especially the anti-slip variant, as a durable and easy to work with solution. Roofs and walls are also made of Phenolic Plywood.

Of course, these are not the only applications for Phenolic Plywood. Do you know another use for it? Let us know about it!

Now you know everything about waterproof Phenolic Plywood you can order with confidence. Make your choice and we will immediately start working for you! All you have to do is wait until your Phenolic Plywood sheets are delivered at home. Have fun with your job!

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