8 Ways to Make OSB Look Good

Ways to Make OSB Look Good

Handyman's World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

OSB or oriented strand board is quickly becoming a popular building material. However, the main reason for this is due to its low cost and easy workability.

That said, its popularity doesn’t have much to do with its appearance. Let’s face it, this flaky and patchy-looking type of engineered wood is likely one of the ugliest kinds of wood out there, whether real or engineered.

With that, right now we are going to talk about some of the best methods at your disposal to make OSB look good.

1. Sand the OSB

Sanding an OSB Perhaps the easiest and fastest way to make OSB look good is to simply sand it. That said, you will need a power sander for this task, preferably an orbital sander for the smoothest results. Using a sander will allow you to get rid of all of that texture that makes OSB look not so nice.

Using a sander with fairly low grit sandpaper (rough sandpaper) will allow to sand away that flaky texture. Yes, it will still look like an amalgamation of wood chips, but at least the texture will be gone. Some people like this slick and smooth appearance that still allows the appearance of the OSB to stick through.

2. Paint the OSB

Painting an OSB Another option at your disposal is to paint the OSB. Now, keep in mind that some OSB will have a protective coating of wax on it. If this is the case, you will need to use wood wax remover before painting it. You can’t paint over that wax. The paint will not adhere to it. Either way, painting your OSB is a good way to get some extra color on it.

However, if you just paint it, you will still see the flaky texture of the OSB, especially with just one or two coats. You will need to apply at least three or four coats to make it look half decent. It really depends on how you feel about being able to see the texture of the OSB underneath the paint.

3. Sand and Paint the OSB

If you really want to make the oriented strand board look good, we recommend both sanding and painting it. Sanding it first using an orbital sander will get rid of that super flaky and rough texture that most people hate about OSB. Moreover, if you sand the OSB to a smooth finish first, then you won’t need to apply nearly as much paint to cover up its appearance.

On that same note, sanding it will also remove any wax that has been applied to the OSB. That said, even with sanding, you will still likely need to apply two coats of paint to really cover up the original appearance of the oriented strand board.

4. Stain the OSB

A very unique method of making OSB look much better (depending on your viewpoint), is to stain it with a beautiful looking stain. Wood stain is of course designed to make wood look much darker and to bring out its natural colors.

If you want to darken the OSB and make it look a bit more refined, as well as visually appealing, then using a dark-colored stain could be an option. It’s not something that most people would do, especially because you can still see and feel that rough texture, but it’s an option nonetheless.

5. Sand and Stain the OSB

If you like the idea of staining your OSB to make it look darker and to bring out the natural colors of it, but you just hate the flaky texture, then the next best option is to first sand it and then stain it. This way, you can make the oriented strand board very smooth, so there is no texture left, while also making it darker and sleeker at the same time.

Keep in mind that sanding and staining will make the OSB smooth and darker, although stain won’t cover up the appearance of the wood flakes. You won’t be able to feel the texture anymore, but you’ll still see the individual wood strands.

6. Apply Plaster or Drywall to the OSB

Another unique idea is to apply a thin layer of plaster or drywall overtop the OSB. This will help get rid of both its texture and appearance. If you like the appearance of smooth and white drywall, then this is definitely an option to consider.

Yes, it can be a messy and lengthy process, but if you are going for a smooth, conservative, and basic appearance, then some good old drywall is always something to think about.

7. Apply Drywall, Sand, and Paint the OSB

If you like the idea of plastering or drywalling the OSB, but you want to take things one step further, you can always sand and then paint it too.

The advantage here is that sanding and painting drywall is much easier than sanding and painting OSB. This way, you can achieve a smooth appearance, you can add any color you see fit, and it’s all quite an easy process too.

8. Cover the OSB with Something Else

Although it would seem somewhat pointless, you can always cover the OSB with something like a thin layer of wood veneer. That said, if you are going to do this, you may as well start with a better material than OSB to begin with.


Although OSB might not start out looking very good, as you can see, it is possible to make it look better. Whether you want to just sand it, or and sand and paint/stain/varnish it, or cover it with some drywall or even veneer, there are indeed many possibilities at your disposal. There is of course also the fact that OSB is cheap, readily available, and easy to work with as well.