Subfloor Plywood vs OSB

The standard of your own home’s subfloor determines how effectively the remainder of the ground will maintain up when in use. Because of this, loads of focus is positioned on the supplies and technique used to make the ground. For the supplies, the most well-liked choices are plywood and the brand new oriented strand board (OSB).

Whereas OSB and plywood share many similarities, their variations are the premise of the selections made when selecting between them. Their manufacturing strategies are virtually related however OSB has extra structural consistency and is cheaper than plywood. Alternatively, plywood dries up sooner when each are uncovered to moisture.

In making your selections between the 2, it’s worthwhile to concentrate on some specifics which decide the surroundings you’ll expose them to and different features.

Subfloor Plywood vs OSB: a Comparability

To grasp how the 2 supplies evaluate, we are going to concentrate on the next features:

1. OSB has extra structural consistency than plywood

To make plywood, skinny veneer strips referred to as plies are layered on one another at angles of 90 levels. After that, the construction is positioned in a sizzling press then left to chill and dry.

OSB is made in virtually the identical means. Nevertheless, items of veneer measuring between 3 and 4 inches are used as a substitute of lengthy ones. They’re layered at 90-degree angles then glued collectively and pressed until they make a robust construction.

The 2 strategies, whereas virtually related, will yield supplies with totally different qualities with OSB having the absolute best options. For instance, in the same degree of thickness, OSB may have extra piece as of veneer (as much as 50 items) than plywood.

Owing to this, the weaknesses of wooden reminiscent of knots will probably be completely eradicated in OSB as in comparison with plywood. OSB is thus denser and stronger than plywood to your subfloors.

2. Plywood Dries Out Quicker however OSB Absorbs Much less Moisture

For wood flooring and subfloors, water and moisture are all the time a difficulty of nice concern as are extremely susceptible to break by the 2. As such, the extra materials will resist moisture the higher.

OSB and plywood provide benefits to the problem of moisture however in various methods. For one OSB absorbs far much less moisture than plywood. That is good because it permits you to discover and take corrective measures in opposition to moisture earlier than it builds up an excessive amount of and causes injury.

Alternatively, plywood dries a lot sooner and extra utterly in comparison with OSB. That signifies that, when each supplies are uncovered to moisture in related circumstances, plywood will acquire extra moisture than OSB however will lose it sooner as effectively when dried.

In making a call purely primarily based on how the 2 supplies reply to moisture, it’s worthwhile to contemplate:

  • How ceaselessly the subfloor will probably be uncovered to moisture,
  • How usually you examine your subfloor for moisture,
  • How simple it’s to dry the affected areas, and
  • Kind of fabric used for the highest ground (whether or not it’s immune to moisture or not).

This manner, you’ll be able to gauge which one most closely fits your wants.

3. OSB is Cheaper than Plywood

Already, plywood is cheaper than most different flooring materials on the market that’s why it’s rising in recognition. Nevertheless, OSB does it one higher by not solely having the opposite benefits on this checklist however being cheaper as effectively.

Whether or not you’re going for the low-end or high-end variations of each supplies, OSB will all the time price lower than plywood for a similar measurement of the fabric.

4. OSB is Extra Immune to Delamination, However Swells on the Edges On account of Moisture Publicity

Whereas each supplies are made by laminating items of wooden collectively, OSB results in higher outcomes particularly in relation to the density of the top product. For instance, when each supplies are uncovered to moisture, the glue used to carry plywood veneers strips is prone to fail in comparison with that for OSB panels.


On account of this, OSB is favored for areas the place there may be loads of humidity and moisture because it resists the moisture and doesn’t come unfastened with moisture in it.

The issue with OSB is that, after it’s dried up and it’s freed from moisture, it’ll have swollen edges that gained’t simply go away. This concern is of such nice concern that OSB can fail to work for many flooring because it deforms the subfloor vastly.

When you’ve tiles, for instance, they’ll seem saucer-shaped when the subfloor fabricated from OSB swells and loses its form attributable to moisture. Plywood, alternatively, will retain its form as soon as dry once more.

When making a call, these features are what you need to put into consideration. Should you can overcome the weaknesses of 1 materials over the opposite, you’re higher off going for that materials than its various.

Selecting between Plywood and OSB to your Subfloor

When selecting between the 2 supplies, you need to take a look at your present scenario and attempt to gauge what the longer term will seem like with that sort of ground you’ve chosen.

In case your focus is on sturdiness, go for OSB it has a extra constant and stronger construction than plywood

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