How do you finish plywood edges?

How to Finish Plywood Edges

The first thing to understand when it comes to finishing plywood edges is that there are different types of plywood edges. There are two main types: exposed and concealed. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. You will need to decide which type of edge you want before deciding what kind of finish you want or if any at all.

Edges that are hidden from view are called concealed edges. They are used mainly for exterior walls where they may not be visible from the inside but still need to be protected. These edges must be finished with a protective coating such as polyurethane (PU) or vinyl flooring material. The advantage of these kinds of edges is that they last longer than exposed ones because they don’t get wet easily like exposed surfaces do.

Edges that are visible from the outside but covered with paint or other materials are called exposed edges. If painted, they will show through the wall and can cause problems later on if someone tries to pry them open. Paint cannot be removed without damaging the surface underneath so it’s best to cover them up completely. The advantage of these kinds of edges is that they are less expensive to finish properly. You can either simply seal the plywood with paint or you can use an even less expensive material called decking which is a thin layer of wood.

Decorative Edges

Plywood edges can also be given decorative edges by routing designs into them. Decorative edges are most commonly found around shelves and countertops to add a more finished look.

Another type of edges are exposed ones that are not covered or finished in anyway. This includes butt joints and overlaps. These are the easiest kind to finish since all you have to do is put mud between them and sand it down when dry.

Plywood edges can be finished with a wide variety of things, some of which include:

Paint – this is probably the most common material used as a finishing product for plywood walls.

Sealed Edges

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The most common way to finish plywood edges is to seal them with a clear coating called polyurethane. This is available at any home improvement store and can be applied by using a cloth and wiping it on the finished plywood. It dries fairly quickly so you must work fairly fast in small sections (about 2 feet by 2 feet) and wait about 1 hour between coats. It is easy to use and inexpensive. It does not come in a variety of colors but can easily be blended together to make any color you want.

Varnish – this material is processed from trees or plants oils and comes in a wide variety of sheens that range from very shiny to very flat (matte). It is more durable than paint but requires more specialized tools and takes considerably longer to dry.

Finishing Nails

Another common way to finish plywood edges is to cover them with something like vinyl flooring. This material is fairly easy to work with and you can get it in different colors or designs. The only problem is that you must work fairly quickly because it takes a while to lay down a large enough section to cover the nails. It is available in oil and alcohol based formulas. Oil based products take a long time to dry, never fully cure and give off fumes that can damage your health.

Alcohol base products dry much quicker, are non-toxic and are environmentally friendly.

Vinyl Flooring – this material comes in the form of puzzle pieces (carpet tiles)that are rated by the number of walls (jigsaw puzzle shapes) they can fill plus the area of 1 wall (total square feet). The advantage of this material is that it comes in large rolls so it can also be used to cover exposed edges.

Wood – any kind of wood can be used to finish edges including the plywood you used to build the walls. You can use slats, planking, tongue-in-groove, or planks. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages but all are fairly easy to work with. The number of walls is the same for all tile sizes but the area increases with the size of the tiles. Vinyl tiles come in a wide variety of patterns and colors.

Sealed Edges

Sheet Vinyl Flooring can be used to finish plywood edges. The vinyl is placed over the plywood edges before they are nailed in place and hidden from view.

The most common type of wood for finishing edges is called tongue-and-groove. This type comes in a wide variety of types but all have a protruding “tongue” on one piece and a “groove” on the other which interlocks with the tongue on another piece. The advantage of this type is it locks together very tightly and cannot be pulled apart. It does, however, require matching tongue-and-groove edges to be installed. It comes in a wide variety of patterns, colors and sizes.

Another common type is planking. This type comes in 8 foot lengths so it is normally only used on the longer walls (8′ or longer).

Many people prefer to use planks to finish edges. This type comes in a number of different types but all are very similar. They are made up of many thin pieces of wood glued together with the grain (the lenghthwise texture of the wood) running in alternating directions. This gives it a very strong rigid structure and allows it to bend or flex without breaking. It can be installed so the grain runs vertically (standing up) or horizontally (lying down).

It can be installed so the seams are either horizontal or vertical. Horizontal seams are more difficult to hide and require a larger margin on each end (about 1 foot on each side). Vertical seams can be butt jointed (no margin needed from the wall) but they do require extra installation steps to make sure they are all correctly aligned vertically.

Tongue-and-groove planking comes in a wide variety of types (pine, oak, etc. It can also be combined with tongue-in-groove edges. The tongue-in-groove edge of the planking is installed first and then the tongue from the vertical side of the groove joints is removed by cutting it at a 45 degree angle. This allows the wood to interlock but makes removal very easy if you need to replace or move it sometime in the future.

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The floor was finally finished on schedule and we were pleased with the results. Once the trim was in place and the floor covered with rugs, you could no longer tell that it was not a conventional wood floor. The entire room now had a much warmer feel to it since the exposed brick was now covered up.

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