Home » Termites » Is Plywood Termite Proof?

Is Plywood Termite Proof?

Plywood is an excellent wood choice due to its strength and durability.

It’s lightweight and expensive, uses less timber than solid woods.

Unfortunately, though the positives are plenty, it isn’t resistant to termites.

Plywood by itself isn’t termite-proof. You can build with it and still have the insects tearing up your floor. However, certain plywoods are chemically-treated and can be referred to as termite-proof. You can also take specific steps to make your plywood termite-resistant.

How to Make Plywood Termite Proof – Step By Step

A man's hands are holding a piece of plywood.

1. Buy High-Quality Plywood

There are various plywood grades on the market, but MR (moisture-resistant) and BWR (boiling-water-resistant) plywoods are the most common.

Moisture-resistant plywood can withstand low to medium moisture levels. As a result, they’re the most prevalent market and are referred to as commercial plywood.

MR plywood isn’t resistant enough for use in outdoor furniture and isn’t reliable in keeping away termites.

Boiling-water-resistant plywood is more impervious to harsh conditions. As per the name, it’s resistant to boiling water. It’s also more durable in high-moisture areas and can keep termites away for longer, however, it’s not 100% termite-proof.

BWR plywood is a step ahead of most grades, but you should also ensure the selling company treats it, so termites don’t attempt to chew on it.

You can also add a layer of laminate to increase the resistance of your plywood. BWR grades are more expensive, but I’d say they’re worth the price.

2. Use Anti-Termite Chemicals

It’s good practice to treat your furniture with an anti-termite chemical or wood preservative after the carpenter delivers it.

Let the chemicals dry for at least 6 hours before laminating it.

3. Apply Polish

Polishing makes your furniture more visually appealing. It also keeps termites away. Specific polishes are labeled as termite-resistant, and you should get them within your budget.

Regular oil-based varnishes can still get the job done, but avoid polishing wooden structures with cooking oil. It creates a protective layer on your wood but leaves an unwelcoming smell over time.

Some tackle this issue by mixing two parts vegetable oil with one part lemon oil. The lemon oil acts as a preservative, so the cooking oil doesn’t go bad too quickly. It also leaves a refreshing lemon scent on your furniture.

I’m not against the process; you can try it out on a small piece of furniture. However, I still recommend investing in a commercial varnish due to its specified use. 

A termite-resistant varnish also contains properties absent in cooking oil. Remember to take the required precautions when it’s time to apply the varnish.

Some products emit toxic fumes and aren’t suitable for indoor applications.  Others are flammable, and applying them in the scorching sun may not end well. The cans usually have instructions, so ensure to follow them.

4. Paint It

Paint is a viable alternative if you can’t get polish. Of course, you can also use both. Paint is more resistant to ultraviolet rays, so it’s better for patio furniture. Wooden exteriors also last longer if painted.

Polishes aren’t as durable on the exterior but are as reliable as they come if applied inside. Both work the same way; by creating a protective layer over your furniture.

You can apply a double coat of paint for better preservation. Also, seal any cracks before the process.

Give your wooden structures more time to dry if using both paint and polish. Paint takes longer to dry.

5. Keep it Away from Moisture

Even though BWR plywood is impervious to moisture it shouldn’t constantly be expose. It’s resistant only to a certain point, and you should ensure it doesn’t reach these levels too fast.

Start by not cleaning wooden furniture with water. Instead, wipe it down with a dry cloth. If you must use water, mix five parts with one part of 100% pure aloe vera gel and spray the solution.

Another precaution is to keep your furniture in well-ventilated rooms. For example, don’t keep wooden table in the kitchen if the moisture levels rise while cooking (and the ventilation isn’t adequate). The same goes for your bathroom. Avoid wooden structures in the bathroom if possible.

The alternative is to invest in a dehumidifier to control the temperatures better. When positioning your furniture, keep it away from the walls. That allows even airflow and prevents moisture that might accumulate from wall cracks.

6. Keep it Away from the Soil

Never put your furniture on the soil when taking it outside.  You risk termites chewing into the wood and moving in with you when bringing the furniture inside. The infestation will spread to the rest of your house, and you’ll soon have bigger problems.

If you must take your furniture outside, put it on concrete or other durable structures that separate it from the soil.

You can also leave it outside for a few hours if the sun shines. The heat will kill any termites that may have infested it.

7. Implement Other Remedies

There are various other ways to make your plywood termite-resistant.

Boric acid is no stranger to anyone who’s experienced a small termite infestation. It’s the most popular DIY control method, and rightfully so.

An active ingredient in pesticides, boric acid works by poisoning the insects, sabotaging their nervous systems, and damaging their exoskeleton.

Routinely applying the powder to your furniture keeps termites away.

You don’t have to use it if implementing any other steps, but you should consider it if you recently had an infestation.

You can also routinely spray orange or neem oil. The substances inhibit breeding and prevent termites from shedding their skin.

Mix 0.16 oz. of water with a few drops of soap and add about ten drops of either oil. Mix the solution and spray it over your furniture. Orange and neem oils are more effective against drywood termites than subterranean termites.

The last way to ensure your plywood is as termite-proof as possible is to schedule annual inspections.

These steps make you less susceptible to infestations, but you’re better off catching one in the early stages than later.


Though plywood isn’t termite-proof, you can take specific steps to make it so.

They include;

  • Buying boiling-water-resistant (BWR) plywood
  • Treating it
  • Polishing and painting it
  • Keeping it away from soil and moisture
  • Sprinkling boric acid
  • Spraying orange or neem oils
  • Setting up annual inspections

There are other control methods, like sprinkling diatomaceous earth and using parasitic nematodes.

However, implementing at least two of these steps is enough to keep your termite free for a long time. Just make sure to revisit them every few months.