Climbing experts suggest that the best type of wood to use for a home climbing wall is treated plywood. Treated plywood has enough strength and durability to hold a person’s weight. You can use treated plywood for outdoor and indoor climbing. 

We will help you select the best wood for a home climbing wall.

Choosing suitable wood will improve the safety of your home because it will fall on anyone during climbing.

What Is the Best Wood for Outdoor Climbing Wall
What Is the Best Wood for Outdoor Climbing Wall | Free to use this image with proper credit

Which Wood Types Can You Use to Build a Home Climbing Wall?

You can use different types of plywood for home climbing walls.

There are many ways you can collect information about the durability and suitability of the wood types.

Joining Facebook groups is one way to find information.

You can also ask questions on online forums to get information from many in one place.

We checked all these places and compiled a comprehensive information table to prevent wasting time.

  • Treated Plywood is one of the most suitable options because you can use it for indoor climbing walls. It is the best wood for outdoor climbing walls also. 
  • Untreated Plywood is unsuitable for outdoor climbing walls because this wood cannot resist damage from natural forces. You can use it for indoor climbing walls without any problems. We do not recommend using it outdoors.
  • Oriented Strand Board is known in the market by the name OSB. It may appear this board can handle a high amount of weight. It is false because you cannot put more weight on this board. It is unsuitable for indoor and outdoor climbing walls. We do not recommend it for outdoor settings because it does not resist natural forces.
  • Medium Density Fiberboard is a famous construction material. People use this board because it can resist natural forces damage. We do not recommend it for making the home climbing wall because it does not bear heavy weight. There are higher chances of wall damage.
  • Particle Board is also not strong enough to make the indoor and outdoor climbing walls.

You cannot use these boards only to make climbing because you need many other things to make the climbing wall.

Other parts of the climbing walls also determine the durability and strength of the wall.

Most experts recommend making a frame first from a high-strength material to hold the wood of the climbing wall. 

What Climbing Wall Criteria to Use to Evaluate Different Woods?

You cannot decide the type of wood you need without selection criteria.

You can check the wood strength first.

Strength is the first factor because climbing wall splitting can cause severe accidents.

The severe accidents are due to the surprise factor of the wall break.

Most climbers do not think a wall will break as they climb it. 

When a wall breaks, climbers do not have enough speed and strength to plan a safe landing.

Stiffness is the second parameter of the climbing wall selection.

Some wood materials can sag when they remain in a moist environment.

These wood materials have a low stiffness.

You can look for wood material with a high stiffness because it will not bend when climbers stand on it.

Durability is the final factor in the wood selection for the climbing material.

If you buy wood with high durability, you can climb on it for a long time.

It will help you avoid repair and replacement expenses. 

Wood Strength

When you consider the strengths of the climbing wall wood, you can eliminate some materials from the list because they are not strong enough.

You can start by eliminating the particle board and MDF from the list.

These boards are not strong enough to handle the weight of a climber.

The strength reduces more when you make holes to put holds.

There are many ways these boards will cause accidents. 

A hold may come out of the wall when a climber pulls it.

It is a sign of a lack of durability.

These boards may break when a climber stands on them.

There are chances of the board splitting in half during a climbing session.

You may lose a lot of money if you select these boards for your home climbing walls.

Plywood and OSB boards are better for making climbing walls in terms of strength because these boards can prevent holds from coming out and board splitting. 

Wood Durability

Durability will help you determine the most suitable material to make the home climbing walls.

We are left with two materials after considering the two factors above.

We can select between plywood and OSB boards.

There are two types of plywood in the market.

You need to finalize the treated plywood because it is strong, stiff, and durable.

You are not limited to using this wood material in indoor settings.

You can install the treated plywood on the outdoor climbing walls.

It is due to its moisture handling properties.

Treated plywood has chemicals that can prevent water damage on this wood.

You will get the same strength and stiffness in untreated plywood.

The only difference is the durability.

You can use the untreated plywood on the indoor climbing walls only.

You need to avoid putting water on untreated plywood.

OSB cannot resist water damage when you make holes on it to install holds.

Wood Stiffness

Wood stiffness can make a difference when you want the wood to stay in the same shape.

Sagging wood can ruin your climbing experience and reduces the wood strength.

A high level of stiffness ensures you can get the same wall climbing experience.

Wood material with low stiffness can change shape from the locations near the hold.

You may see holds coming forward a little after some time.

There are some scientific studies to check the stiffness of wood materials.

Plywood has seven percent more stiffness than the OSB boards.

You need to find plywood without many wood knots because the presence of many wood knots in plywood will reduce the stiffness at this specific point.

You may have to pay a high price to get the most suitable plywood piece without knots. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Wood for Outdoor Climbing Wall

You can consider many factors when finding the best wood for an outdoor climbing wall.

You cannot use all types of wood materials for indoor and outdoor climbing walls.

These points will help you select the most suitable option.

  • People consider treated plywood, untreated plywood, OSB, and MDF for making climbing walls.
  • You can consider many factors when evaluating the suitability of the wood for the climbing wall.
  • Wood strength is the most important factor because wood with high strength will prevent accidents.
  • You can select wood with high stiffness to prevent a sagging effect.
  • Treated Plywood is the best option for making climbing walls because of its high durability.

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