Making and Sealing OSB Tiles

What You'll Need
OSB sheets
Pressure oven
Phenol-formaldehyde epoxy
Tape measure
Exterior paint

OSB is a construction material commonly used as a substitute for plywood. OSB, or oriented strand board, is indeed manufactured in a similar fashion. Plywood consists of several full size veneers laid on top of each other with their wood grains perpendicular. This sandwich is then bound together with adhesives under intense heat and pressure. On the other hand, OSB consists of thousands of 3 to 4 inch strands of wood. These strands are oriented perpendicular to each other and bound together with adhesives, heat, and pressure. OSB is used during the framing portion of a construction project. OSB tiles are used as roof, wall, and subfloor sheathing.

Step 1 – Obtain OSB

The first step in the construction project is to obtain suitable quantities and dimensions of OSB. Measure the area of the roof, floor, or wall that you will be covering. If you are working in an unfinished room or on an unfinished frame, choose sheets of OSB that are stamped with the word “exposure." The unfinished frames of houses are often rained on several times while they are being built. Exposure-rated building materials have enough moisture resistance to withstand the elements for a short time. You will also need to choose the thickness of the OSB. ¾-inch and 5/8-inch are suitable for most applications.

Step 2 – Determine Size of Tiles

The next step is to determine the size of the OSB tiles you need for the job at hand. If you are starting from scratch with a naked frame, you can start by laying the tiles at one corner. The end of the tile will overlap a stud slightly, so just cut it back to this stud. As you reach the end of the floor, ceiling, or wall, you will have to measure more precisely to achieve an exact fit. You could also cut the sheets of OSB to the width between studs or joists. On the other hand, if you are only repairing a few cracked or warped pieces of OSB, you may need to cut a tile exactly to fit an existing hole. When working with OSB, try to make as few cuts as possible. Cutting through the OSB breaks the waterproof sealant applied by the manufacturer. This reduces the strength, quality, and water-resistance of the final construction.

Step 3 – Cut Tiles and Seal Edges

Make all necessary cuts to your sheets of OSB as soon as possible in the project. Coat the cut edges with a fresh application of waterproof exterior paint. Allow this paint at least 4 hours to dry. This can add considerably to the length of the project, especially relative to completing the same repair with plywood. For this reason, it is important to plan the layout of the sheathing thoroughly and accurately before you start working. Once the panels are dry, lay a thick bead of glue on the joists or studs and set the panels into place. Then fasten them down with screws.