If so, what is the best method for sealing/treating?

And by beetle or wood-borer, I mean any such creature that could destroy the timber frame of a house.

I bought some plywood from a hardware store. The sheets were imported from Brazil(to South Africa) and now I have them cut into pieces, ready for use in the loft.

  • 2
    All wood finishes, but film finishes in particular, are said to protect wood from the initial stage of attack by (some? all?) wood-boring insects because they want their eggs to be on bare wood. Whether this is 100% protection is an open question. Anyway, why are you particularly worried about this plywood once it goes into your loft, versus all the other wood that's already there?
    – Graphus
    Jan 23, 2023 at 7:42
  • Perhaps I'm focused on something within my power to prevent introducing as opposed to fighting or treating something that's already there. By 'film' finish, do you mean the finish of the paint/varnish/sealant? Or are you referring to the wood itself?
    – Jim
    Jan 23, 2023 at 11:23
  • Are you worried about the plywood itself? If you know it is already host to wood-borers you should really get it out of the house immediately. In a domestic setting there's usually no reasonable way to treat anything but small items and be 100% certain you've killed all stages of the life cycle. In the British Isles the main pest is 'woodworm' (common furniture beetle) and it can spread insidiously through a house if the conditions are right. Some woodworkers I know consider the risk so great they will immediately throw ANY infested wood into the garden and burn it at the earliest opportunity.
    – Graphus
    Jan 23, 2023 at 13:15
  • 1
    Yes a film finish is anything that literally builds a surface film. This generally refers to shellac, varnish and lacquer but does also include paint and other similar opaque coatings. Finishes are only a protection to new wood, i.e. wood that is not host to any insects yet; if there are eggs or larvae already in the wood subsequently painting or varnishing does nothing.
    – Graphus
    Jan 23, 2023 at 13:22
  • @Graphus Sounds scary. No, I don't already know. I want to take action just in case. If you are telling me I have no way to know then... well I would hope they wouldn't be selling sheets of plywood from a DIY store if it had a chance of destroying a home.
    – Jim
    Jan 24, 2023 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


ANY wood you buy has the potential to be host to one or more destructive critters and/or their eggs. </fueling the fear fire>. However, it's generally pretty rare.

When you think about how plywood is produced*, it's very unlikely that anything is going to live through the process. That means the only real way for anything to infest the plywood is to make the hop from "real" wood. This means that the plywood would end up being stacked near some solid lumber somewhere and the critters would need to decide to leave the "pure" luxury of solid lumber for the adhesive laden plywood. I'm no expert, but I'd guess that they're going to prefer solid lumber.

While this may not answer the question of how you can treat the plywood to prevent infestation, I believe that infestation is basically prevented during manufacturing.

*No affiliation with the site, but it seems like a reasonably detailed explanation.

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