We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is OSB Plywood?

By D.M. Abrecht
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Oriented strand board (OSB) is an engineered wood panel product made of resin-bonded wood strands or flakes. The wood strands are precisely cut and oriented in order to produce a wood panel with uniform strength and density. Like plywood, it is widely suitable for use as a structural board, and is commonly used in roof and wall sheathing, in subfloors, and increasingly in furniture manufacturing.

OSB is made of long wood strands, and should not be confused with medium density fiberboard (MDF), which is made of fine wood fibers, or particleboard, which is made of sawdust. All three of these engineered wood products are made by binding wood particles with a resin or other adhesive, but each has different properties and applications. It should also not be confused with plywood, which is made of broad, flat panels of wood glued together in layers.

OSB is manufactured by combining wood and resin coating under high heat and pressure. Whole logs are soaked, stripped of bark, and cut into strands that are typically up to six inches long and one inch wide. The strips are then dried, mixed with resin and a small amount of wax, and formed into layers. The internal layers of an OSB panel are oriented at 90 degrees. The external layers are oriented in a particular direction; the finished panel will be stronger in that direction. The mass is then fed into a press, where the wood and resin combine under extreme heat and pressure. The panels are cut to size, stamped with usage and quality-assurance information, and edge-coated.

Coating the edges helps to seal the panels against moisture. Since OSB panels are often exposed to the elements during a home's construction, builders should use panels that are rated "Exposure 1" or "External" to ensure they were made using a water-resistant resin. Builders should also be careful not to leave boards that have been cut where water can get to them. Cutting a panel exposes new edges that have not been coated and can swell up if they get wet.

Manufacturers tout OSB as an environmentally friendly construction alternative. The resins used in to make it produce very little emissions. It can be manufactured from a wider variety of tree species than plywood, including faster-growing species. It can also be made from younger trees and uses more of a tree's wood. As a result, the forests used to produce OSB can be more readily renewed than those used to produce plywood. Wood building products generally require less energy to manufacture than non-wood products. Oriented strand board can and should be recycled.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.