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Forum topic by spaine posted 11-20-2012 05:36 AM 1196 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View spaine's profile


4 posts in 1982 days

11-20-2012 05:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Below is an image of the outdoor storage box that I have built. It’s functional and works well. Unfortunately, the top (like the sides) has been crafted from plywood covered by a raised Douglas Fir frame. I intent to use a good stain and seal to protect it from the elements. However, I’m concerned that the raised frames on the top will collect and pool water when it rains.

My questions are:
1. If water does pool within the frames, will it destroy the wood even if it I have it sealed?
2. If I do need to change my existing top to keep water from standing, what are some ideas? Perhaps add another panel within the each frame so they are now raised?

12 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2819 days

#1 posted 11-20-2012 05:52 AM

It’s my view that collected moisture will pretty much destroy this piece. Look at house roofs to see what you need to do, spaine.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#2 posted 11-20-2012 05:55 AM

Panels on the top will hold water ,so your wood will only hold up as long as the finish. Is there finish in the grooves for the panels and all of the way to the edge of the plywood top panel and on the edges of the plywood? Did you use an exterior finish for the chest ? even if the answer is yes to all of those questions I would not expect it to last long term because even the top exterior finishes(like spar varnish) do not hold up when water sits on it long term.
Adding another panel in the middle will not fix the design problem.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2939 days

#3 posted 11-20-2012 07:35 AM

Can you remove the top and flip it over?
So the frame is on the bottom and the plywood sheet is the top?
You will still need to do a very good job of sealing this, especially the edges.
A top grade caulk seal of all the edges and seams followed by a good exterior paint/stain would have the best chance for survival. Check out the solid color stains like you put on fences or decks, for example.

View Woodknack's profile


11486 posts in 2348 days

#4 posted 11-20-2012 08:15 AM

Perhaps add another panel within the each frame so they are now raised?

Do that, but make the panels oversize and cut a rabbet around the perimeter so that it overlaps the frame by 1/2” to keep water out. Bonus points if you make the insert panels thicker in the center to shed water.

-- Rick M,

View dhazelton's profile


2756 posts in 2265 days

#5 posted 11-20-2012 01:27 PM

Outside on a covered porch should be fine. So you should build a porch.

Actually, how about leaving it as is and putting an outdoor cushion on it? Water will still get in there, but if the rails and stiles are just applied to one solid piece of plywood it’ll take quite a while to cause any rot.

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2255 days

#6 posted 11-20-2012 01:35 PM

Jim is right. No way to correct the design for water. Flipping it over to get the smooth side on top and making some rafters at about 75 degree pitch with some 1/2 inch roofing ply, tar paper, and roofing tiles would make it nice and dry. Or just make the top higher on one side or the back to drain the water off, but you need to have a flat surface. Marine sealer would be my choice for the top if you plan to get a lot of water on it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2882 days

#7 posted 11-20-2012 01:56 PM

Lee has the answer about building a sloped top/roof like housing. And Russell has the idea about roofing tiles/shingles. Either gabled in the center, or with just one raised side. Then I would seriously think about tar paper and shingles, if this is truly going to get all of nature thrown at it. And have all sides of the top over-hang the sides so that H2O has even less chance to get in.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View bondogaposis's profile


4688 posts in 2320 days

#8 posted 11-20-2012 02:03 PM

Those lid panels are doomed outside. I suggest making a solid wood top that is domed, just hand plane a gentle curve to the lid so that water will not pool. You might have to go with something thicker than 3/4” to do this, also look for a water resistant type of wood such as redwood, cedar, cypress, etc.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3127 days

#9 posted 11-20-2012 02:58 PM

Throw on a sheet of plywood with some hinges. Set the box on some crooked ground and you are done (doesn’t take much for water to run off). Don’t put a ton of effort into something that doesn’t need it. You should paint it anyway. That’s best for this project.

Use your current top, split it in half, and make a cabinet out of it for your shop or shed.

-- jay,

View pa916's profile


1 post in 1982 days

#10 posted 11-20-2012 03:30 PM

Fiberglass the top, or the whole project

View MNgary's profile


298 posts in 2385 days

#11 posted 11-22-2012 04:59 AM

You have a lot of time into this project and I’d hate to see that go to waste. By designing a different lid you can make this into a box that won’t allow pooling of water when it rains.

This lid, then, can be used for another project – maybe a door on a cabinet.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View spaine's profile


4 posts in 1982 days

#12 posted 11-28-2012 05:14 PM

Thanks a lot for the suggestions everyone. I decided to go with the flat but slightly pitched top. And took MNgary’s suggestion of reusing the original lid for another project. With that said I’m truly uncertain how long an outdoor wooden project should be expected to last. Assuming it is sealed.

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