The Oriented Strand Board is a popular structural wood panel because of its versatility and durability. They are widely used for sub and single-layer flooring, sheathing, industrial containers, and furniture. However, they can get very expensive.

With this, several brands have started to manufacture structural products which can serve as alternatives. Let’s look at each and compare their pros and cons to help you decide which is most comparable to OSB panels.

Why Is OSB Getting Expensive?

OSB is lumber mainly used to provide structural support for construction purposes. Over the years, its prices have continued to increase. Here are some of the reasons why its price has become very expensive.

Used for Framework and Structural Support 

A major reason OSB is expensive is its use in construction. The elements of OSB are responsible for providing structural support and a framework for a house; these elements are also used to shape walls, roofing elements, and floors. With this, builders and contractors would need a lot; hence, the higher price.

When the supply of OSB decreases, its price increases because the demand for these wood panels is higher during home construction.

Engineering Process 

The engineering process in manufacturing OSB panels is lengthy and tedious. There are several steps in creating a wood panel as durable and as versatile as OSB. These panels are made in the factory and not created naturally even though they have natural elements. 

High Demand 

The constant demand for OSB panels led to a big increase in their price. During the pandemic, many homeowners who love doing DIY projects preferred buying OSB panels for their use in structural support and framework, increasing its demand. 

Top 3 Product Alternatives To OSB

Because prices of OSB panels are continuously increasing until today, there are product alternatives manufactured by several brands that are comparable to the qualities of an OSB. 

Fiberglass-Faced Gypsum Panels

Fiberglass-faced gypsum panels are made of a moisture-resistant and noncombustible core enclosed in fiberglass facers. They are manufactured with the following dimensions:

  • Square edges with 12.7mm and 15.9mm thickness
  • Variable lengths from 2440mm to 4880mm
  • 1220mm in width

Pros & Cons of Fiberglass-Faced Gypsum Panels

Weather protection: This gypsum panel’s fiberglass facers and moisture-resistant core protect your structure against air and water infiltration and harsh weather conditions. 
Mold-resistance: The fiberglass-faced gypsum sheathing is naturally mold-resistant because of its anti-microbial core treatment and glass mat facers to prevent damaging decay and mold growth. 
Fire-resistance: This gypsum panel’s glass mat facers and non-combustible gypsum core is resistant to burning and can produce low smoke-generated values and flame spread. 
Construction Efficiency: Fiberglass-faced gypsum panels are easy to install, practical, and versatile. When installing these gypsum panels, you don’t need specialized tools, skills, or equipment. 
Not intended for exterior or interior tile backer purposes
Cannot replace shear wall’s engineered sheathing
Panels cannot be applied below grade
It cannot be laminated to masonry surfaces
Not designed for exterior cladding nail base

Rigid-Foam Insulation

Rigid foam sheathing is continuous insulation applied to a building’s exterior; this provides maximum thermal efficiency for a building enclosure. Additionally, it is made of plastic foam, providing enough thermal protection and a barrier against air and moisture. 

Pros & Cons of Rigid-Foam Insulation

Rigid-foam sheathing has R-values between 3.8 to 8, providing effective insulation and protection against rot and mold, especially in areas with extreme weather conditions. 
Moisture control: Rigid foam provides moisture control by insulating and protecting interior wood framing
Rigid-foam sheathing is a great option when you want a material that can serve as an air barrier. It’s excellent at preventing air infiltration and exfiltration. 
Construction Efficiency: Fiberglass-faced gypsum panels are easy to install, practical, and versatile. When installing these gypsum panels, you don’t need specialized tools, skills, or equipment. 
Improper installation can decrease its potential as an air and moisture barrier.
It needs additional bracing when using rigid foam as an alternative to wood sheathing.

Structural Sheathing Fiberboard

Structural Sheathing Fiberboard is an engineered sheathing material made of a combination of lumber waste and ground-up wood chips. These elements are glued together using resin or asphalt binder. Its finish is uniform and smooth with no grains, unlike wood. 

Pros & Cons of Structural Sheathing Fiberboard

Dimensionally stable, making it resistant to contraction and expansion
Offer exceptional thermal resistance with an R-value of 1.3
Decreases the risk of water getting trapped in the wall
Edges are smooth with no splinters or voids
Structural Sheathing Fiberboard lacks enough strength and may need other techniques and products to provide additional rigidity and wind resistance.
Its heaviness and high density make the material difficult to handle. Screws will also not hold well. 
When Structural Sheathing Fiberboard is exposed under the sun, it can release asphalt odor. This may put 

Which OSB Alternative To Pick?

Because oriented strand boards are continuously becoming more expensive today, there is a wide range of alternatives with qualities comparable to the versatility of an OSB.

In choosing the best OSB alternative, you also have to look after the location of your building. Not all options can survive extreme weather conditions. Ultimately, choose the OSB alternative that provides the needed protection against external factors, including wind and moisture contamination.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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