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OSB Boards

What Is OSB Board?

Oriented strand boards are a unique form of engineered wood like sheet board, formed from multiple wood strands by applying adhesives between them and then tightly compressing the boards in certain orientations. It was developed by Armin Elmendorf (inventor) in California in the early 1960’s. It can be used for a wide range of applications including flooring, cabinet framing, furniture and paneling. Many manufacturers also produce plywood OSB with similar properties.

A strand board is not a wood product. The term comes from the way that the individual wood threads are grooved so that they will stick together in a particular pattern. Each strip of wood has two or more wood strands bonded together by a glue agent.

Its most popular application is waterproof plywood. It can be used for flooring, cabinet framing, and sheathing panels. Because it has a wood grain effect, it does not have the same appearance as regular lumber. However, it is more durable and resistant to moisture damage than plywood or lumber and more resistant to moisture swelling than OSB. This makes it an excellent choice for building construction.

OSB Board Showing Strands

How do you install Oriented Strand Boards?

Its cross-aligned, pre-stretched grains allow it to be installed with nails or screws. To install the boards without using nails, use a level and wooden spacers to center the strand on the floor or other sheathing surface. The wood strands are overlapped slightly so that they will bond together. The boards are placed in a vise and pinned or wrapped with masking tape. If using nails, make sure they are long enough to penetrate the sheathing layers but not long enough to leave small holes.

Can I install OSB wood products on concrete slabs?

Yes, you can! If using glue, you must use steel wool or wood putty to cover the nails so that they will not scratch the plywood. If using glue, consult the manufacturers’ directions for the type of adhesive to be used. Also, be sure to use a wood stain for the first layer of the wall sheathing to prevent moisture absorption through the top layers of the wall sheathing.

Can I glue my Oriented Strand Board segments together?

Yes, you can! Just use a mechanical bond glue and a wood filler such as particleboard or shavings. Be sure to allow plenty of time for bonding because if the glue dries too much, the wood will become uneven. Once the glue dries completely, you will be left with smooth, even plywood panels that can be nailed and painted to match your room’s design and color.

Can I install OSB wood boards outside?

Yes, you can. Although outside mounting may require a bit more work than when installing inside the house, you can often save money by cutting down on interior construction costs by choosing an oriented strand board as your exterior wallboard. This saves you the time and effort of having to pre-drill holes for screws and nails, and you can find attractive non-slip finishes to protect your plywood from moisture.

Where should I place my Oriented Strand Boards?

OSB boards are usually sold in standard lengths, but you can also order them based on the size of your room. In a large room, you can install several boards together to create a long and narrow nook or corner. If you have limited space and would like to create a unique focal point, the long, narrow boards placed side-by-side can make a dramatic impact. Whatever you decide, using traditional lumber or engineered wooden strands is a great way to save money while creating a lasting, wood-friendly home.

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