If you've been looking for affordable engineered wood you can install on your shed's floor, chances are you've heard about OSB. You may even have done a little research and discovered that it is just as popular as plywood.
So, what exactly is OSB? And does it make great shed flooring?
Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is a form of engineered wood that's identical to particleboard. It is created by compressing layers of wood strands and adding adhesives. However, it is not similar to other wood-scrap products because its wood strips are placed strategically and not randomly.
The strands are "oriented," which is where it gets its name from.
OSB is good for a shed floor construction because it is flat and free of knots. It is also more consistent than plywood and other flooring materials because every sheet is the same.
OSB Can Be Made in Larger Panels
OSB and plywood, both popular flooring materials, are usually sold in 4 x 8 foot sheets. However, unlike plywood, OSB can be made in much bigger panels, up to 8 x 24 feet. If your shed is very large or has an odd shape, using larger OSB panels can be very beneficial. Bigger panels decrease the number of joints in a floor.
OSB is structurally similar to plywood and has the ability to hold nails and screws just like plywood. It also has greater shear strength (the capacity to span distances) than plywood which is relatively thick.
OSB panels are usually ⅝-inch thick and can be as long as 16 feet, or even longer. Plywood panels can only be 10 feet long. That's why OSB is ideal for sheds where longer panels are needed. You can easily sheathe a wall from top to bottom with single vertical sheets. The sheets won’t create any horizontal seams.
It is Cheaper than Plywood--Hence More Common
OSB is cheaper than plywood by approximately $4 per panel. If you use OSB to sheath your shed's walls and on the floor and roof (decking), you may end up saving as much as $500.
Some builders prefer OSB panels because they come with pre-printed grid lines that facilitate measuring, cutting, and fastening. This helps speed up installation.
Some OSB panels are of higher quality as they contain moisture-resistant components. And although they are more expensive than traditional oriented strand boards, they are worth the price because of their durability and performance.
Its Tongue-and-Groove Style Makes It a Great Material for Shed Flooring
Tongue-and-groove flooring comprises individual panels with unique interlocking edges that are invisible once the panels are installed in a surface. Each panel has a continuous ridge (a tongue) on one side and end and a channel (a groove) on the other side and end. The grooves on one panel fit over the tongues of the neighbouring panel, interlocking them so that they stay flat and resist movement.
The tongue-and-groove style of OSB panels is ideal for shed flooring. And because the panels interlock, the chances of moisture penetration are drastically reduced. OSB flooring can also support heavy products such as tool cabinets and lawn equipment. The panels have a smooth side and a rough side. They should be installed with the smooth side facing up to minimize chances of chipping and flaking.
Is OSB Better than Plywood for Floors?
Oriented strand board and plywood are both fabricated wood products. They are made by compressing pieces of wood into a solid form. OSB, like particleboard, is made of wood chips or flakes. However, the wood pieces used to make OSB are larger and oriented to create an alternating grain pattern like that of plywood.
Plywood is created by sticking together thin sheets of wood veneer with alternating grains. OSB performs better than plywood on the wall and floor. However, it is best to use CDX plywood on the roof.
Plywood lost its market leadership to OSB long ago. Oriented strand board is now the most popular sheathing and subflooring material. OSB's lower price point has also helped it to get the lion's share of the market.
According to The Engineered Wood Association, There's no real difference between the two engineered wood types. Their structural characteristics are similar and they can be used interchangeably. Both have a rating of Exposure 1 for short-term vulnerability to the weather. They are installed using the same methods and have equal nail withdrawing resistance.
Additionally, OSB is a green product. It is made from wood chips left over from logging and milling operations. If you’re a resource-efficient builder, you’ll appreciate the fact that OSB panels can be constructed from small, fast-growing trees. These trees usually come from tree farms and not forests.
So, if you’ve been wondering whether OSB is good for a shed floor, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”