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.
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.
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
The following are the advantages of fiberglass-faced gypsum panels, making them good alternatives to OSB.
Provide Protection to Weather
This gypsum panel’s fiberglass facers and moisture-resistant core protect your structure against air and water infiltration and harsh weather conditions.
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.
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.
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.
Note the following disadvantages when comparing different OSB alternatives:
- Not intended for exterior or interior tile backer purposes
- Cannot replace shear wall’s engineered sheathing
- It cannot be laminated to masonry surfaces
- Not designed for exterior cladding nail base
- Panels cannot be applied below grade
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.
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.
Efficient Moisture Control
To achieve efficient moisture control, rigid-foam insulation has two functions:
1. It protects wood framing from rain or water leakage.
2. Provides warmth to the interior framing to prevent accumulating moisture
Prevents Air Leaks
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.
The following are the disadvantages of rigid-foam insulation:
- 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.
The following are the advantages of fiberboard structural sheathing over OSB.
- 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
You should also note these disadvantages when looking for an alternative to oriented strand board wood panels.
Structural Sheathing Fiberboard lacks enough strength and may need other techniques and products to provide additional rigidity and wind resistance.
May Be Difficult to Handle
Its heaviness and high density make the material difficult to handle. Screws will also not hold well.
May Produce Odor
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.