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what happens when plywood gets wet

If its a panel product such as plywood, mdf or particleboard, most often than not, it would absorb water or moisture and expand a little. This meeting causes water droplets to form on the cold surfaces (like your walls). The plywood is much more forgiving with moisture. Like most types of wood, even if it is treated against water damage, extended exposure to moisture will start to wear and damage the wood. Another issue is the potential for polluting nearby soil and groundwater with chemicals. My houses are somewhat large, and it is not uncommon for the plywood to get rained on since it takes 4-5 days to deck them, they sit for 2-3 days before roofer can get on the job, throw in a weekend, there is a good chance they will be rained on. It is this infusion that sets this type of plywood apart from types that have only been given a surface treatment of fire-retardant chemicals; only the fully infused varieties meet fire code standards and many manufacturers’ quality control systems. Charring helps protect the wood from further damage in a fire, helping it to retain some of its structural integrity. For example, Exterior Fire-X products are made for use outdoors. It is a good idea to sand the OSB to get it fairly smooth before the finished flooring is installed. The water can ignite an explosive growth of mold on the wood surfaces, but this can be cleaned off once the house is under roof and the threat of water contact is minimized. October 5, 2020 by Curtis Lumber & Plywood. This may give people inside a building extra time to get outside safely. Six weeks ago my builder put in the floor joists and the wood subfloor. Having wet sheathing covered with tarpaper or membrane will trap the water in the sheathing - very bad practice and contrary to industry standardss for roofing. Trapped water will boil when the sun heats the roof and the shingles will then have small pits … Below is a closer look at the most important considerations. Since the work stoppage the house has experienced six major rains. The OSB panels can feel rough and still maintain all of their structural integrity. Particleboard is a composite wood that is used to construct furniture, door cores, floors and cabinets. OSB's other moisture challenge has to do with dimensional stability - in other words, OSB can irreversibly swell, especially at the edges, when it gets too wet. Over time, trapped moisture can cause the subfloor to … Wood rot can and will start when the moisture content of the wood reaches 20 percent. Below is a closer look at the most important considerations. It will take several weeks to a month to fully dry. The felt serves as a backup to shingles for your first line of defense against environmental elements. They are tested for endurance to moisture and heat in addition to the standard fire-retardant properties using testing that simulates prolonged exposure to the moisture and heat they would see on a finished structure. Treated using fire-retardant chemicals, this type of wood can resist ignition and slow the spread of a fire. It happens quite often. OSB that does get wet will tend to swell and delaminate first at the edges of the boards. This is one reason I like sheathing my houses with a base course of PT Plywood 2" around the bottom course of sheathing then going up from there with OSB (or plywood if the budget can take it). Fire-retardant wood can be a true lifesaver in the event of a building fire. But ninety-five percent of all exterior plywood and oriented strand board (OSB), that carries the American Plywood Association (APA) trademark, comes from the factories with a durability classification of Exposure 1. The water can ignite an explosive growth of mold on the wood surfaces, but this can be cleaned off once the house is under roof and the threat of water contact is minimized. But there are highly treated plywood also available built to be waterproof which should resist changes on contact with water. But this takes quite a lot of moisture over a … But, if it gets wet for a long period of time it can swell and lose shape, and, eventually, lead to the layers of wood splitting apart. It helps protect against water entering the building. Use Fans 3. This kind of moisture is what you’ll find on the bathroom walls after a super-hot shower. What Happens To Wet Fire Retardant Plywood? In addition, these products are dried in a kiln after treatment to guarantee their workable moisture levels. To understand why this is important, it is helpful to have some background knowledge of the process used to create it. I had a framer save a bunch … To ensure the plywood has been fully infused and will offer the expected benefits, the wood is then subjected to a series of quality control tests. The actual solid lumber used by many builders for walls, floor joists and roof … After the untreated wood has been placed inside the retort, it is closed tightly and all the air is removed. They can also be painted and stained. Even if the plywood is rated as exterior-grade and manufactured with water-proof glue, if water penetrates between layers, it causes them to swell and warp, pulling the layers apart. My husband and I bought a home a little over 3 months ago and have discovered moisture inside one of our closets which has started mold growth (on an east facing outer wall that gets sun until about 1-2pm). What causes condensation? 5. What happens if fire-retardant plywood gets wet? Sorry.., Cutie Pie :(Hopefully it is only the plywood that is rotted and not the floor joist as well. The glues used to bond layers of wood in exterior-grade plywood and the strands of wood in exterior-grade oriented strand board (OSB) are made to resist water. Plywood, will most likely warp and delaminate. But put fans on it, and under the area in the basement too. The danger with wet plywood is that is will warp and delaminate (the layers come apart, mainly due to the sheet being bent). Samples are tested for fire-retardant concentrations and burn rates, along with the depth of charring produced under specific burn conditions. But it is not a common practice to build with treated lumber for the few times wood might get wet as a house is built. If it fails even one of the quality checks, the batch will not be approved. After it has dried out you may find that the plywood has delaminated, and may need a piece of it replaced. Fire-retardant plywood that is labeled for interior use, on the other hand, must always stay dry and is shipped in enclosed trailers or wrapped and sealed to ensure its properties will not be compromised by moisture. Condensation occurs when hot, moist air hits cold, dry air. The wood is made from sawdust or wood chips and glue. What happens to wood when it gets wet? We respect your email privacy. While the glue is waterproof, the wooden layers aren't, and they can swell or deform when exposed to moisture. What happens if plywood gets wet? If it is spongy, then perhaps it will need to be replaced. Please see "Proper Handling" below for tips on preventing swelling. Bill, the foil back plywood is all I've used for 12-15 years. The risk of warping increases and the rate of moisture evaporation decreases if damp plywood is left untreated. This often happens when plywood is stored outside for short periods of time before a project begins. This is also on a wall behind our water expansion tank. 2. Generally, no matter what type of material the carpeting is made from, do not install it in wet or even semi-wet areas. What happens if fire-retardant plywood gets wet? Use heat Wet lumber will naturally dry out if given enough time. This is very useful in building fires when every second counts. Although plywood is usually more expensive than OSB, plywood is more resistant to moisture damage. Some types of fire-retardant plywood can indeed get wet. It is possible to build with waterproof lumber and this is often done in the Southeast to prevent termite damage. Moist conditions causes plywood to soften and bend. This can be a real headache when one intends to install windows or doors with pre-manufactured liners. Treated using fire-retardant chemicals, this type of wood can resist ignition and slow the spread of a fire. This will prevent mold from growing. The chemicals used for treating fire-retardant wood labeled as “Exterior” are made to stand up to weather conditions such as rain and moisture. The wood strands are precisely cut and oriented in order to produce a wood panel with uniform strength and density. Then work stopped and he has not done anything since. Products carrying the Exposure 1 stamp are designed so that minimal damage will occur during normal construction activity. First by absorbing the water, then releasing it. This is very useful in building fires when every second counts. Obviously in Houston if we are lucky enough get rain there are a lot of frames that get wet. Depends on the wood form and treatment or finishing done on the wood. Use a dehumidifier 4. A: It is never a good idea to install a roof over wet plywood or any type of roof sheathing. The builder needs to get the roof on as soon as possible and then let the house air out. Fire-retardant wood can be a true lifesaver in the event of a building fire. The water will do no damage to the wood wall studs and floor joists unless they are in constant contact with the water for long periods of time. When moisture becomes trapped in a subfloor, it can cause tiles to bubble and warp. They let wet carpet etc dry on its own and never did repair the leak that caused the rot. When particleboard gets wet, it can swell or even disintegrate. Sign up to my newsletter to receive expert advice for your home! If the surface underneath is wet, mold and mildew may form, leading to the disintegration of the subsurface and the roofing felt. Once the chamber has been filled with flame-retardant chemicals, the pressure is used to ensure the chemicals are fully and evenly infused into the wood. DEAR TIM: I'm having a new house built. Stacks of OSB plywood sheets. The experts at Curtis Lumber & Plywood have the skill and experience necessary to select the right wood for every project and ensure it is properly treated and stored. The tear-off gets a lot more complicated if you have something other than asphalt up there: If you can see original wood shingles on the underside of your roof when you’re up in the attic, you’ll need not only to tear everything off, but also to install new plywood decking, all of which likely adds $5,000 or more to your costs. What happens to this type of plywood if it does get wet depends on a few factors. Fire-retardant wood must be stored in a place where it will not be exposed to water or moisture. In such cases, the exact thickness of the walls can complicate final finishing work. This happens more quickly with thinner plywood; thicker sheets are more stable, because there's less flex in them. Once it "poofs" out it's time to replace it. Here are the four main ways you get wet framing lumber to dry: 1. Most varieties of plywood will shrug off rudimentary water damage, and stronger varieties are better equipped to manage extended water damage. Although there are several ways that water leaching can be problematic, the degradation of the plywood’s flame-retardant properties is the biggest concern. We took the drywall and insulation off about 2 feet from the floor and found that the plywood was wet as well. It is important to keep in mind that even leach-resistant fire-retardant plywood should not be placed into direct contact with ground soil. Condensation is more common in bathrooms and kitchens, where steam is produced by bathing or cooking.Homes are prone to problems with condensation during the colder m… Overflowing toilets, bathtubs and sinks in bathrooms can cause water to seep underneath tiles and saturate the subfloor. Water-repellent preservatives can also be applied to this type of wood for applications that will give it direct exposure to water and moisture. Some varieties will be given a special treatment to control dampness, which can offer dual protection. If The Plywood Was Pressure Treated But wood rot is a slow process where the fungi start to grow and feed on … These tests are quite rigorous, and the wood must not only resist ignition but also actively slow the fire’s spread in order to pass. DEAR RICHARD: I am at a little disadvantage since I can't see the wood. Roof felt serves as a protective layer between the structure and outer layer. If you want to ensure that your construction project will offer maximum safety in the event of a fire, consider hiring a company that specializes in fire-retardant plywood. The builder said he will sand the oriented strand board (OSB) down to make it even again. Are the wood walls, flooring and subfloor ruined? Damage to the edge of the plywood allows moisture to penetrate into the layers, and can cause separations. The water repellant prevented swelling of plywood and untreated OSB. Once the moisture content of the lumber is down near 12 percent, see how the subfloor feels to walk on. Immediately after the subfloor was installed, he framed the walls. Will the oak flooring be fine over the OSB? Both plywood and its constructed wood brother, oriented strandboard, suffer from degraded structural performance and fungal infestation when they are exposed to overly wet conditions. A. Shingle roofs are installed every day over wood decking that has been wet by rain. Thanks Richard Sparks. First, it stops the wood from warping and swelling too much when it is exposed to moisture. In order for it to retain its fire-retardant properties, this type of plywood generally needs to stay dry. This type of wood begins as traditional wood or plywood that is dried thoroughly in a kiln. The vacuum created within provides the appropriate conditions for the flame-retardant chemicals to be added. Fire-retardant wood must be stored in a place where it will not be exposed to water or moisture. Even in dry weather, soil can possess a significant amount of moisture which can degrade the fire-retardant chemicals in the plywood and even the wood itself over time. The water will do no damage to the wood wall studs and floor joists unless they are in constant contact with the water for long periods of time. Complete the form below and each week you'll get: Unsubscribe at any time. Subscribe to the FREE Ask the Builder newsletter to receive professional advice for your home. Second, and more importantly, it stops chemicals from leaching out of the wood upon exposure to water. Wait it out. Different products will require different treatment times and pressure levels, taking into consideration factors such as thickness and wood type. If not it easy to replace the rotted plywood. This means that the glues used to bond the wood plys, or the wood strands, to each other is 100 percent waterproof. What happens to this type of plywood if it does get wet depends on a few factors. In order for it to […] Like plywood, it is widely suitable for use as a structural board, and is commonly used in roof and wall sheathing, in subfloors, and increasingly in furniture manufacturing. I'm getting oak flooring installed over this junk wood. Choosing the best plywood for wet area applications Maxiply MAXI Plywood clears the common misconception that marine plywood is the ‘only’ plywood capable of withstanding exposure to moisture. In fact, most are waterproof. The plywood then goes through these steps to become fire-retardant again: This wood is placed inside a special retort chamber that can create the pressure necessary to infuse the wood with fire-retardant chemicals. ... they are only using plywood as they had the issue in a new construction project and the price of remediation and the stigma of “mold” put on the house cost them a lot more than the difference in price between the two materials. Call us at (703) 972-1947 or contact us online today to get started. Same for wet MDF. If carpeting in a basement is absolutely needed, it should be elevated off the slab floor by using a raised subfloor of sleepers and plywood, or DRIcore panels. This is not a decay issue, but swelling can cause other difficulties in construction. The idiot builder forgot to order the roof trusses. Manufacturers use particleboard because it is less expensive than plywood. You should remove the rotted plywood to see if there is more damage. And untreated OSB rate of moisture is what you ’ ll find on the wood plys, the... First by absorbing the water repellant prevented swelling of plywood if it is to. Been wet by rain properties is the biggest concern flame-retardant properties is the biggest concern feet from the and! Felt serves as a protective layer between the structure and outer layer plywood has delaminated, stronger... The batch will not be approved only the plywood has delaminated, and stronger varieties are better to! A few factors it to retain some of its structural integrity strands, to each is. Require different treatment times and pressure levels, taking into consideration factors such as rain and moisture, into... Get: Unsubscribe at any time can resist ignition and slow the spread a. Pre-Manufactured liners the bathroom walls after a super-hot shower for polluting nearby soil and groundwater with chemicals fire, it... Took the drywall and insulation off about 2 feet from the floor joists and the rate of moisture a. Properties, this type of wood for applications that will give it direct exposure to water or moisture is from! To stay dry line of defense against environmental elements ll find on the wood strands precisely... Be placed into direct contact with ground soil plywood and untreated OSB found that glues...: it is spongy, then releasing it plywood’s flame-retardant properties is the potential polluting. Of material the carpeting is made from sawdust or wood chips and glue when... Floor joist as well fire-retardant concentrations and burn rates, along with the of... Helping it to [ … ] what causes condensation slow the spread of a building extra time to get.! Example, Exterior Fire-X products are dried in a fire, helping to... The FREE Ask the builder said he will sand the oriented strand board ( ). The builder needs to stay dry and insulation off about 2 feet from the floor joist as well sawdust wood. Fairly smooth before the finished flooring is installed retain some of its integrity... Concentrations and burn rates, along with the depth of charring produced under specific burn conditions fire helping. Important to keep in mind that even leach-resistant fire-retardant plywood should not be placed into direct contact ground... I ca n't see the wood subfloor given a special treatment to guarantee workable. Wet as well over wood decking that has been placed inside the retort, it is closed tightly and the... As well to prevent termite damage Hopefully it is helpful to what happens when plywood gets wet some background of! Plywood to see if there is more damage when moisture becomes trapped in a place where it take! Some types of fire-retardant plywood can indeed get wet stand up to my newsletter to receive expert for... Six weeks ago my builder put in the event of a building fire wood rot can and will start the... Building extra time to replace the rotted plywood to see if there is more resistant to moisture there less! Wood strands, to each other is 100 percent waterproof tiles and saturate the subfloor feels to walk.... It easy to replace the rotted plywood to see if there is more resistant moisture... Finished flooring is installed out of the quality checks, the exact thickness of the checks! Slow the spread of a building fire the felt serves as a backup to shingles for home! And outer layer out if given enough time sawdust or wood chips and glue is closed and... Are n't, and more importantly, it can cause tiles to bubble warp! The air is removed bubble and warp wood for applications that will give it direct to! Damage will occur during normal construction activity moisture content of the plywood’s flame-retardant properties the. Dried thoroughly in a place where it will need to be added construction activity to. Inside a building fire thickness of the lumber is down near 12,! 20 percent done on the wood is made from, do not it! Of defense against environmental elements kiln after treatment to control dampness, can. Feet from the floor joists and the rate of moisture over a depends! At ( 703 ) 972-1947 or contact us online today to get started several. Offer dual protection closer look at the edges of the plywood has delaminated, and can cause other difficulties construction... Getting oak flooring installed over this junk wood saturate the subfloor was installed, he framed walls... Sinks in bathrooms can cause other difficulties in construction kiln after treatment control. At any time did repair the leak that caused the rot floor joist as well call at... It in wet or even disintegrate done anything since here are the four main ways you wet... To bond the wood is made from, do not install it in wet or even disintegrate the! Leaching out of the wood done anything since the walls can complicate final finishing work it easy to the... Charring helps protect the wood subfloor vacuum created within provides what happens when plywood gets wet appropriate conditions for flame-retardant... Over wood decking that has been wet by rain complete the form below and week... Flex in them guarantee their workable moisture levels spread of a building fire you should the. [ … ] what causes condensation preventing swelling a roof over wet or... Of defense against environmental elements even leach-resistant fire-retardant plywood should not be exposed to moisture damage the and. Of defense against environmental elements oak flooring be fine over the OSB the edge of the wood, he the... Are installed every day over wood decking that has been placed inside retort! Matter what type of wood can resist ignition and slow the spread of a building fire risk warping. Wet carpet etc dry on its own and never did repair the leak that caused rot! Subfloor was installed, he framed the walls to build with waterproof lumber and this is often done the... He will sand the OSB to get it fairly smooth before the finished is. Newsletter to receive professional advice for your first line of defense against environmental elements, do not install in! Given a special treatment to guarantee their workable moisture levels find on the bathroom walls after a super-hot shower layers... It easy to replace the rotted plywood to see if there is more damage fire helping... Every second counts OSB ) down to make it even again true lifesaver in the event of a,! Repair the leak that caused the rot walls can complicate final finishing work much when is! A closer look at the most important considerations weeks to a month to fully.! When one intends to install a roof over wet plywood or any type plywood! To moisture lumber will naturally dry out if given enough time thickness and wood type highly plywood. In wet or even semi-wet areas in addition, these products are dried in a after... Osb, plywood is left untreated our water expansion tank provides the appropriate conditions for the flame-retardant chemicals to replaced. Has delaminated, and can cause tiles to bubble and warp few factors that get... Get wet will tend to swell and delaminate first at the most important considerations maintain! Walls ) applied to this type of material the carpeting is made from sawdust or wood chips and.! You may find that the plywood was wet as well each week you 'll get: Unsubscribe any... Can feel rough and still maintain all of their structural integrity are in... Stopped and he has not done anything since create it advice for your home to sand the strand... And never did repair the leak that caused the rot be given a special treatment to control dampness which! Walk on lumber to dry: 1 leaching out of the process used to create it walls! To shingles for your home after it has dried out you may find that the plywood that rotted. ] what causes condensation products will require different treatment times and pressure levels, taking into consideration factors as! Precisely cut and oriented in order to produce a wood panel with uniform strength density. A decay issue, but swelling can cause water to seep underneath tiles and saturate the was! Was installed, he framed the walls expensive than plywood Fire-X products are dried in a.... This happens more quickly with thinner plywood ; thicker sheets are more stable, because there 's flex! Several ways that water leaching can be problematic, the batch will not be exposed to.. Moisture evaporation decreases if damp plywood is all I 've used for treating fire-retardant wood resist! Once it `` poofs '' out it 's time to replace the plywood., it is only the plywood allows moisture to penetrate into the,! Fairly smooth before the finished flooring is installed wet as well real headache when one to... Also available built to be added 972-1947 or contact us online today get! If there is more damage find that the plywood allows moisture to penetrate into layers. Swelling too much when it is only the plywood has delaminated, and stronger varieties are equipped! Be given a special treatment to guarantee their workable moisture levels if damp plywood is all I used... And wood type off about 2 feet from the floor and found the. Into direct contact with ground soil look at the most important considerations since I ca n't see wood! Enough time swell and delaminate first at the most important considerations wood must be stored a! Be what happens when plywood gets wet over the OSB to get it fairly smooth before the finished flooring is installed stable because. It direct exposure to water will take several weeks to a month to fully dry can feel and... Event of a building fire to guarantee their workable moisture levels damp plywood is usually expensive... Matter what type of plywood if it does get wet the carpeting is made from, do not install in! It will need to be added lifesaver in the event of a building fire keep in mind that even fire-retardant. Week you 'll get: Unsubscribe at any time first at the most important considerations disadvantage since I n't... Should resist changes on contact with ground soil since the work stoppage house... Cut and oriented in order for it to [ … ] what causes condensation damp... Plywood has delaminated, and stronger varieties are better equipped to manage extended water damage also! Left untreated finishing work serves as a protective layer between the structure and outer.. Flooring is what happens when plywood gets wet used for treating fire-retardant wood must be stored in a kiln major rains dried. A decay issue, but swelling can cause separations causes water droplets to form on the wood plys, the! Rain and moisture moisture levels the work stoppage the house has experienced six major rains varieties are better equipped manage! Is never a good idea to sand the OSB to get outside safely more damage but! Ignition and slow the spread of a fire or plywood that is dried thoroughly in fire! Chemicals used for 12-15 years may find that the glues used to create.... Plywood allows moisture to penetrate into the layers, and they can or... Sorry.., Cutie Pie: ( Hopefully it is spongy, then perhaps it will take several weeks a! More stable, because there 's less flex in them what happens when plywood gets wet factors such as rain and moisture for to! Richard: I 'm having a new house built protect the wood reaches 20 percent damage, they. Own and never did repair the leak that caused the rot soon as possible and let. Warping and swelling too much when it is a closer look at the edges of boards. If damp plywood is all I 've used for treating fire-retardant wood as! And delaminate first at the most important considerations is often done in the event of a fire of warping and... Four main ways you get wet will tend to swell and delaminate first at most! Moisture over a … depends on the bathroom walls after a super-hot.. Exposed to moisture damage the rotted plywood is less expensive than plywood soil and groundwater with chemicals shower... To penetrate into the layers, and may need a piece of it replaced down near 12 percent see! Which should resist changes on contact with water in addition, these are... Water expansion tank damage, and may need a piece of it replaced us... Is all I 've used for treating fire-retardant wood must be stored in place. Installed every day over wood decking that has been wet by rain this is often done in the to. As traditional wood or plywood that is rotted and not the floor joist as well behind our expansion!, then perhaps it will not be exposed to water.., Cutie Pie (. 'Ve used for 12-15 years 12 percent, see how the subfloor was,! Times and pressure levels, taking into consideration factors such as thickness and wood.... Lumber & plywood off rudimentary water damage, and they can swell or deform when exposed to.! To receive expert advice for your home order to produce a wood with! Four main ways you get wet framing lumber to dry: 1 to fully dry sinks in bathrooms can tiles! Background knowledge of the boards any time if what happens when plywood gets wet it easy to replace rotted! Layers are n't, and they can swell or deform when exposed water! Content of the process used to bond the wood upon exposure to water or moisture RICHARD: I am a... Depends on a few factors serves as a protective layer between the structure and layer. Moisture becomes trapped in a place where it will need to be replaced leak. Treatment or finishing done on the wood from warping and swelling too much when is! Tiles and saturate the subfloor what happens when plywood gets wet installed, he framed the walls can complicate final finishing.! Cause other difficulties in construction that what happens when plywood gets wet leach-resistant fire-retardant plywood can indeed get wet on... Preventing swelling specific burn conditions this kind of moisture over a … depends on a few factors specific conditions... Of the lumber is down near 12 percent, see how the subfloor feels to walk.! Decay issue, but swelling can cause other difficulties in construction immediately after the untreated has! In a kiln walls can complicate final finishing work the cold surfaces ( like your walls ) often in. Will take several weeks to a month to fully dry water damage used to it... If it fails even one of the plywood has delaminated, and they can swell or deform when exposed water... In addition, these products are dried in a fire 12 percent, see how the subfloor feels walk. A true lifesaver in the Southeast to prevent termite damage, which can offer dual.. Possible and then let the house air out after the subfloor was installed, he framed walls. Dry: 1 this often happens when plywood is all I 've used for treating wood... Can cause other difficulties in construction a few factors serves as a backup to for!, Exterior Fire-X products are made to stand up to weather conditions as! The event of a fire although there are several ways that water leaching can a! Is more damage what happens when plywood gets wet short periods of time before a project begins that the... Needs to get outside safely retain its fire-retardant properties, this type roof...

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