Plywood for Decking Pros and Cons: Read before installing it

Plywood is one of the materials for both indoor and outdoor flooring. People choose this material because of their versatility, strength, and affordability.

There are many kinds of plywood on the market that you can find. Each plywood has different qualities and characteristics.

That is why choosing plywood for a project will be more challenging than people think. To build a deck using plywood, you must know some information about plywood.

For instance, it is about plywood for decking pros and cons. Without any further ado, let’s get all the info you need about plywood below.

Things to Consider Before Using Plywood for Decking

Plywood for decking can be a good idea. However, you must consider several things before using plywood for your deck.

Type of decking

Before determining the plywood for decking, you must consider the type of your decking. Outdoor and indoor decking usually has different needs for plywood.

Usually, outdoor decking will need stronger or tougher plywood than the plywood for indoor. When you are confused about determining which type of plywood, you ask the professionals to get the best suggestion from them.

Environmental factors

Another consideration is the environmental factors. This consideration is for those who plan to have plywood for outdoor decking. You must know that certain areas will have typical seasons or climates.

For instance, if you live in an area with high rainfall, you must select waterproof plywood.


Cost or budget will be another consideration before you choose plywood for decking. Many materials have better quality than plywood. If you have a big budget for deck flooring, you can pick other high-quality materials instead of plywood.

However, when you have a minimum budget, choosing the affordable one with the best quality plywood becomes the right thing.

Advantages of Plywood for Decking

Plywood which is also called composite wood, offers some benefits. From its stability to chemical resistance, below are some advantages you will get from using plywood for decking.


Plywood is known as flexible material for flooring. It is convenient to cut and can be used for many projects. The thickness of plywood varies so you can choose the type depending on the purpose.

Usually, thinner type of plywood has more flexibility compared to thicker plywood. For decking, the thicker plywood becomes a good choice then.

Moisture resistance

Plywood is preferred for exterior decking because it has moisture resistance and humidity. Given this, it is not surprising that plywood is used for various outdoor purposes, including outdoor decking.

To add resistance, you can add water repellent or varnish. Meanwhile, for indoor use, plywood will not easily rot.

High strength

Plywood also has a high strength for flooring. Its strength depends on the wood it is made from. Besides, plywood has a veneer design which makes the material stronger. The strength of plywood can be found on the whole sheet, so choosing plywood for decking is not a bad idea.

Disadvantages of Plywood for Decking

What is the disadvantage of composite wood? Besides the advantages, there are some disadvantages if you choose plywood or composite wood for decking.

More expensive than MDF

Plywood is known as more expensive than MDF or Medium Density Fiberboard. If you have a low budget, you better choose MDF than plywood. Besides, with many types of plywood,

you may get bad or low-quality plywood when you have a low budget for flooring. That is why many people with low-budget flooring for decking choose MDF over composite wood.

Emit toxic VOCs

Besides being more expensive than MDF, plywood is known as a material that emits toxic VOCs.

The chemical Volatile Organic Compounds are dangerous for the body’s health. The VOC itself can irritate an eye. Thus, it is not family-friendly, especially for families with kids.

Risk of damage

There are several risks of damage to plywood. One of them is water can easily damage the grade of plywood. Thus, you need to store the plywood sheet in a place where it will not be exposed to water.

Besides, it also can be damaged during transportation when you don’t put the plywood sheet well.

Plywood Decking Thickness

For quality decking, the thickness of the top decking is very important, and if it’s supported correctly, it should feel solid and safe.

Many decking thicknesses make it hard to find the right one. There are also nominal thicknesses and actual thicknesses, which can make things even more confusing.

what thickness of plywood for decking? The most typical thickness for decking in the US is 5/4, a board that is 1″ thick and capable of supporting light furniture and plant pots and being used for everyday activities like sitting or standing on the deck.

Other decking thicknesses:

4/4 boards

An actual thickness of between 3/8″ and 13/16″. Because the 3/4″ panel is a bit lighter and weaker, some brands employ a 13/16″ variant of this board to give it greater stiffness and strength.

5/4 boards

These are the most common 1″ boards in the US. They are sturdy, especially when paired with good joist spacing, and are usually considered the bare minimum for long-term decking solutions.

8/4 boards

These boards are one of the thickest and strongest on the market. They have excellent rigidity and strength and don’t bend or move much.

They can span larger joist spaces and, because they are durable and reliable, are often used on things like boardwalks.

Plywood for Decking

Plywood is a good choice for decking and is considered an inexpensive material. Usually, the most common area using plywood is the subfloor and roof decks.

With many advantages of plywood, people choose this material for indoor and outdoor flooring decks. Also, read about composite deck pros and cons that might have similarities with plywood decking.

Nowadays, there is much plywood that you can choose for decking. For instance, softwood plywood has three to five layers used for roofing.

For flooring, people commonly choose plywood with ¾ inch thickness. This type of plywood usually provides a stable surface which is good for flooring.

Besides, outdoor plywood is usually water-resistant and more durable.