What Is OSB and Why You Should Use It

OSB, a form of lumber, is a popular option for roof sheathing, subflooring, and more. Whether you want to have a new home constructed, your current home remodeled, or you need repairs performed on your property, OSB is an excellent choice.

What is OSB

What is OSB?

OSB is a widely used, engineered wood product. If you go to your local hardware store or lumber yard, there will be several different types of plywood available. Some of those options, such as CDX plywood, are also excellent choices, but usually carry heftier price tags.

Oriented Strand Board, also referred to as OSB, contains strands of wood turned in different directions to provide greater strength. This type of wood resists warping, distortion, and deflection.

How is OSB Made?

Oriented strand board manufacturing begins by collecting rectangular strands of wood between 3” and 6” in length. Manufacturers use pieces of wood that are knotty and have other flaws to create OSB, allowing them to better use every part of the tree.

Once collected, manufacturers mix these strands with a waterproof resin before interleaving them together into thick mats. After completing the interleaving process, the strands go through a bonding process that includes immense heat and pressure. This high-pressure heating process, along with the presence of the resin, allows the strands to fully bond together creating the large sheets of OSB that you see when you look at the finished product.

What is OSB Used For?

Since OSB involves the use of knotty, unattractive strands of wood, it is only used in construction projects in which other layers go over it. For instance, the subfloors in your home probably have a layer of OSB. This durable material allows you to attach the flooring that you chose to it.

What is OSB Used For

In addition to flooring, OSB also provides uses on your roof. The resin applied to the strands of wood that make up OSB create a layer of moisture resistance. Your roof has multiple layers, each of which play an important role in protecting you, your family, and your belongings.

A series of joists create the pitch, or steepness, of your roof. Once in place, those joists must have a layer of flat pieces of wood placed over it. This layer is often referred to as sheathing. OSB is an excellent choice for sheathing. The sheathing provides a smooth, even finish for the underlayment, ice guard, and roof finish to adhere to.

The exterior walls of your home also require a layer of sheathing. When you stand in your yard and look at your home, you only see the exterior finish, whether it be brick, vinyl siding, stucco, or another finish. Under that finish, a layer of sheathing provides it with a surface to adhere to. In many cases, this sheathing is OSB.

Every part of your home can benefit from the use of OSB.

Benefits of Using OSB

When looking for materials to build, remodel, or repair a home, most people consider the cost. When a contractor provides you with a cost estimate of performing any job, materials are the most important part of the equation. OSB provides a much more affordable option than some other types of wood.

OSB prices do vary based on your location and the thickness of the OSB that you choose. OSB ranges in price from $17.00 per sheet for thinner sheets to $32.99 for larger, more durable sheets. Depending on the area in which you plan to use the sheets of OSB, thicker sheets are a better choice.

The resin applied to OSB during the manufacturing process creates a layer of moisture resistance, which is another big benefit of using this type of wood. When any type of building material possesses a level of moisture resistance, it becomes resistant to mold and other bacterial growth, as well.

In addition to being resistant to moisture, OSB is durable. Many OSB manufacturers provide a 50-year guarantee on their products. This type of warranty makes OSB one of the most long-lasting building materials on the market.

OSB provides a litany of benefits and applications, which is why it is such a popular choice in the construction industry. When having a new home constructed, repairs performed, or remodeling jobs completed, it is important that you make yourself aware of all the options you have available to you. Talk to the contractor of your choice about the use of OSB and how it can help improve your home.