6 Common Uses of OSB

Common Uses of OSB

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If you have ever wondered what OSB or oriented strand board is actually used for, look no further, because we are here to tell you just that.

Let’s get right to it and talk about the six most common uses of this type of engineered wood.

1. Wall Sheathing

One of the most common uses of oriented strand board is for wall sheathing, and in fact, a good part of the wall sheathing used today, particularly in North America, is OSB.

There are a few reasons why OSB makes for a really good wall sheathing material, with one of them being that it is just very strong, much stronger than plywood in terms of shear strength, and it’s not too bad at holding nails either.

As long as you go for a high grade of oriented strand board that is durable and extremely water-resistant, then it will perform just fine as exterior wall sheathing. There is also the fact that it offers a cost-effective way to protect the interior of the home from the elements, as well as a good place to nail or screw the wall siding into.

2. Subflooring and Flooring

Another common use for OSB is in flooring, specifically for subfloors. Using OSB as a subflooring material works well due to its high shear strength and its ability to resist impacts. In case you did not know, oriented strand board is actually quite flexible, something that makes it an ideal choice for an area that will see lots of traffic.

Moreover, due to its relatively high level of moisture resistance, OSB is ideal as a subfloor for areas that may see a good bit of moisture over the long run. Of course, the fact that it is very affordable doesn’t hurt either.

Now, oriented strand board may also be used for general flooring purposes, and yes, some people do like the fact that they can cover very large areas with minimal money spent, but that being said, it is not going to be the most durable or long-lasting, and it certainly won’t be the best looking either. If you are going to use OSB for flooring, make sure that it is the highest grade possible.

3. Roofing

Yet another very common use of oriented strand board is for roofing. In fact, in many places of the world, particularly in North America, OSB has become a more popular choice for roofing materials than plywood. Yes, one of the reasons why oriented strand board has become such a popular alternative to plywood for roofing is of course due to the fact that it is very cost-effective.

Moreover, if you get a very high grade of oriented strand board, it will be more than water-resistant enough to stop your home from getting wet.

What is also quite convenient about oriented strand board is the fact that it comes in very large sheets, which means that you can cover very large areas of a roof with a single sheet. Oriented strand board also makes for an ideal roofing material due to the fact that it is flexible, which means that it will be able to resist the forces of Mother Nature.

4. Walling

Yes, we did already talk about how OSB can be used for exterior wall sheathing. However, if you did not know, OSB can also be used to make interior walls. What is nice about using oriented strand board for interior walls is that interior walls do not need to be structural in nature because they are supported by joists and beams on the inside.

This, therefore, means that you can use a lower grade of OSB, thus saving you even more money than if you were to use plywood. A relatively high grade of OSB is still cheaper than a relatively low grade of plywood.

Moreover, what people also tend to like about using oriented strand board for interior walls is the fact that it actually looks quite natural, and moreover, it is also very easy to sand, paint, and to adhere wallpaper to. Yes, there are of course far more durable materials that could be used for a wall, but with that being said, there is not much else that is more cost-effective.

5. Furniture Making

Sure, plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard are all different types of materials or different types of engineered wood that are used for building furniture. However, over the recent decades, oriented strand board has become a fairly popular choice for furniture making. This is particularly true when it comes to the building of chairs, tables, small benches, and other such things.

There is of course the fact that oriented strand board is fairly durable and has high shear strength, which means that it should perform quite well even with somebody sitting on it. Moreover, the fact that it looks very natural and is easy to paint also makes it an ideal choice to use for furniture making, especially when you want something to look nice and natural.

6. Cabinetry

The other common use for oriented strand boards is for cabinetry. Yes, we suppose that this is related to furniture making, but what we are really talking about here are wall-mounted kitchen cabinets.

The doors and shelves can often be made out of oriented strand board, and yes, this is because oriented strand board is a cost-effective building material. If you need to renovate or build a whole kitchen, and you are on a limited budget, then OSB is definitely a fantastic choice to keep in mind.


There you have it people, the six most common uses of oriented strand board. No, it might not be the number one best building material in the world, but it does have a plethora of advantages that make it an ideal building material for many situations.