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We have a pitching mound that sees basement and outdoor use. We try to keep it out of the rain but it does sit on wet ground sometimes.

It is made of plywood and has a number of hinges/brackets as it folds in three. What I am mainly concerned about is the plywood. This seems like it has a good chance of fraying from movement or just normal use and then add to that hitting rough concrete in basement and water outside.

What is the optimal way of protecting this? Also bonus if that way includes the ability to paint/color.

Edit: Hate to add more after feedback and answer but I am really worried about the very bottom and it is water and water that leads to fraying. Each of the three sections have basically the same bottom albeit the other two sections deeper. So kind of worried this get scruffed up, little water, then start chipping like mad.

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  • More info and or photos on how it is constructed would be helpful. My first thought is coating the plywood with Truck Bed liner. – Alaska Man Mar 4 at 19:57
  • @AlaskaMan - sorry about that, thought I had added picture right before. On truck bed liner - maybe - but worried that it might not fold. – DMoore Mar 4 at 20:03
  • Nice, i like it. I still think you could do it but you would have to reset your hinges on the two larger sections to accommodate the added thickness. You only need to cover the bottom and about two inches up the sides. – Alaska Man Mar 4 at 20:39
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    What are the close votes on here for? At least leave a comment. This is something used in the home, albeit not conventional but no different from a floating desk or anything else. – DMoore Mar 4 at 20:54
  • when the bottom disintrgrates re-do it in pressure treatesd timber. – Jasen Mar 5 at 4:26
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The usual approach is a couple coats of polyurethane varnish. I'd sand it a bit to clean it up and give it a coat on all exposed surfaces. Steel wool between coats. It'll be apparent when you've applied enough coats to seal the edge grain well enough to protect it. Reapply every couple years as needed.

If you want the plywood to have a color, simply stain or paint it first. If you use a good oil-based paint (like a floor paint), you could omit the varnish and use two or more coats of paint. Otherwise paint with a flat sheen, then varnish. Glossy sheens would require light sanding for good bonding of the urethane.

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  • Would you remove the hardware before finishing it?+ – JACK Mar 4 at 20:54
  • Hard to say without knowing more about the construction of the thing. If it means complete disassembly, probably not. I might have sealed everything before assembly, though. – isherwood Mar 4 at 21:06
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    @JACK yes, I would absolutely recommend removing the hardware first. A) NO finish will make it waterproof (but that wasn't the question), and B) unfinished wood behind the hardware will be just as susceptible to moisture damage and unfinished wood elsewhere. – FreeMan Mar 4 at 21:35
  • Most of the moisture risk in this case is the edge of the thing in contact with the ground. Rain exposure should be rare, as mentioned in the question post. – isherwood Mar 4 at 21:48
  • Urethane/polyurethane porch paint is a thing, comes in colors, and is intended to take some weather exposure. If you found some leftover truck bed coating (otherwise it's kind of insane to get for a job this small) I'd consider putting that on the bottom where it touches the ground, but not where it would mess up the folding. But I'd be entirely happy with porch paint and a plan to touch it up when it shows any damage. – Ecnerwal Mar 4 at 22:24
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I would try boiled linseed oil and turpintine. I use them for the floors on my trailers.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. – Daniel Griscom Mar 5 at 16:44
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Flex seal is the closet consumer product to a solvent-based urethane waterproofer.

Traditional paints, urethane and varnishes do not have the flexibility this thing would need to endure.

The biggest problem that I see is that there is carpet over the plywood. The carpet will hold the water and cause the top layer of plywood to rot.

Another thought, pitching Mounds are made from hard pack clay. Synthetic grass is typically seen on the infield and Outfield grassy areas. I would have coated the entire pitching mound in a rubberized aliphatic urethane and simply recoat as the surface wore down.

I've been in the coating industry for 20 years.

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    I used flex seal last year to seal the flashing for a chimney. Two months later it was highly dried out and cracking. Not sure I trust that product in the sun at all. – DMoore Mar 5 at 19:01

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