5 Tips for Installing OSB Sheathing

A close-up of the texture of OSB.
  • 4-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-200

OSB sheathing is a special type of board that is well-engineered being composed of strands of compressed wood which are layered and unionized together using a resin. It differs from commonly used plywood in many aspects. For example, it does not have voids or knots, or gaps and laps. A lot of builders are considering OSB sheathing not just because of its strength but because it is inexpensive as well. This kind of material is actually a very practical choice. Here are some tips to think about when considering OSB sheathing for your own projects.

Know Your Material Before Installing

When you intend to install OSB sheaths, try to determine the breadth or the ideal measurement of your choice of material. This is usually a prerequisite in building codes. You may choose between sheets that measure half an inch or 3/4 of an inch thick.

OSB sheathing has different textures on both sides as well. One side has a polyurethane coating that shields the object from natural elements such as moisture, but the opposite side does not have a finish at all.

Be Particular About Your Framing

You cannot install your OSB sheathing directly. For any material that you want to use as your wall or flooring, frames are essential. There are actually a lot of options available when it comes to frames, but wooden frames are the most preferable. You will need a well-structured frame too since this is where the strength of your wall or flooring comes from. Instead of the OSB sheathing providing the support, it actually serves to reinforce the frame beneath.

Consider the Positioning of Your Sheathing

Sheathing panels can be horizontally or vertically installed, across or parallel to the supports, so there isn’t much limitation to how you can place your pieces on the framing. However, the one thing you do have to consider is that the coated side of the board should always face outward to ensure better protection from the elements. Since the opposite side is unfinished, it will absorb moisture from the weather and eventually rot.

When installing the sheaths, there should be gaps between panels and around window and door frames. Usually, it should be about three millimeters unless you have a reason to alter the dimension.

Place Insulation Foam Before Nailing

Be sure to place your choice of insulating foam within the frame before enclosing the wall with OSB sheaths. If you’re using sheets of foam, keep your cuts precise.

Know Where You’re Nailing

You should nail about ten millimeters away from the edge of the sheathing to prevent any splitting.