Rich Ligotino

Rich Ligotino

Founder at ToolBelt USA
I have been in the home-improvement industry since 2003. I don't always have the answers, but I will get them for you!
Rich Ligotino

There is often a debate on whether to use ply­wood or OSB on projects. Which is right for you ?



Ply­wood OSB


Ply­wood is man­u­fac­tured from two or more lay­ers of thin wood that are glued and pressed togeth­er, with the direc­tion of the grain alter­nat­ing.  They are usu­al­ly sold in sheets of 4 ft. x 8 ft.  Ply­wood is avail­able in sev­er­al thick­ness­es, with 1/2″ inch being the most popu­lar for most con­struc­tion appli­ca­tions.


Ply­wood comes in a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent grades and qual­i­ty. CDX plywood is the low­est class of ply­wood and is often used in the construc­tion indus­try, or as a base for oth­er mate­ri­als. Roofers like to use CDX ply­wood because it is extreme­ly durable, which makes it ideal for a roof deck.


Ply­wood is very pop­u­lar in con­struc­tion because it is less like­ly to crack and break when nailed or screwed at the edges, unlike its OSB coun­ter­part. It is light­weight and easy to maneu­ver around.  It is also less like­ly to swell or warp due to the bal­anced ten­sion of lay­ers.


Ori­ent­ed Strand Board (OSB)


Ori­ent­ed strand board pan­els are engi­neered and man­u­fac­tured with wood par­ti­cle boards that have been ground into thin wood strands. The strands are then mixed with wax and adhe­sives and hot pressed to form wood sheets.


OSB also comes in var­i­ous sizes and thick­ness­es. Unlike ply­wood, it can also be man­u­fac­tured in larg­er sizes up to 8 ft. x 24 ft.


So which is bet­ter, OSB or Ply­wood ?


The sim­ple answer is, it all depends on the appli­ca­tion.


Ply­wood is a high­ly ver­sa­tile board that can be used in a wide range of struc­tur­al, inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or appli­ca­tions, from form­work to inter­nal pan­el­ing.  It can even be used to make fur­ni­ture and cabi­nets.

The one down­side to ply­wood is that is costs con­sid­er­ably more than it’s OSB coun­ter­part, up to dou­ble the cost and even more, depend­ing on the grade of ply­wood.


OSB is great for most con­struc­tion appli­ca­tions such as sub­floors, walls and roof sheath­ing.  It is slight­ly heav­ier than ply­wood and not as maneu­ver­able or durable as ply­wood, but it gets the job done in most sit­u­a­tions.


In most appli­ca­tions, you will get the same per­for­mance out of both OSB and ply­wood, but if cost is your major con­cern go with OSB.

If cost is not a con­cern at all, then go with the ver­sa­til­i­ty and dura­bil­i­ty of ply­wood. - FREE Installation: Shutters & More
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