OSB or Plywood: What Should You Use To Build Your Home

Whether you are building your new home or renovating your current one, you have two main options to select for sheathing: OSB and plywood. Though both types of boards, OSB and plywood, are made of wood, glue, or resins, both of them might not be the correct choice for your project.

Difference between OSB and Plywood

OSB is composed of thousands of little wooden fibers pressed together, whereas plywood comprises multiple layers of wood veneer sheets. The plywood veneers are created by cutting a tree. This difference between the wooden fibers and veneers determines the material’s structural strength and how both of these materials react to moisture.

OSB v/s Plywood

Structural Strength
The manufacturing process of OCB makes it more sensitive to moisture. With extended exposure to high humidity, the moisture movement can cause the material to swell. Swelling weakens the bind within the OSB and affects its structural stability. On the other hand, plywood can adjust to the surrounding humidity levels.

Moisture Tolerance
Despite using fine quality resin, OSB is sensitive to moisture and can swell when placed on the site. This swelling can expand the OSB by 15% and lead to the formation of ridges when used in flooring. Plywood is more moisture tolerant as it swells and comes back to its original form.

Mold Resistance
In the manufacturing process of OSB, the wooden fibers are heated and then compressed, which breaks down the cellulose fibers in the material into sugar. It makes OSB vulnerable to mold. Though plywood also requires heating the logs. But the temperature to which the plywood is exposed is way less than that of OSB.

What Should You Choose

It’s not every day that you build or renovate your home. The lower price of OSB makes it one of the most preferred choices for construction and remodeling. However, we won’t recommend using OSB on the roofs and flooring because it is prone to water damage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *