OSB Instead of Sheetrock

Can I Use OSB Board Instead of Sheetrock

Having to decide on what materials to use when building or remodeling can sometimes be a tough decision. It's a process that requires critical thinking for effective results. One choice that you may face is to choose between Oriented Strand Board and sheetrock. Here are some reasons why OSB could be more of a preferable alternative to sheetrock.

Sheetrock is made up of a gypsum core sandwiched between two heavy paper faces. One side being the backing face and the other side known as the finished face, normally a smoother one.

On the other hand, OSB is composed of low-density strand woods and softwoods compressed together, using a resin to bind everything together.

Below are some key factors that determine whether to use OSB instead of sheetrock:


OSB is a quite tough material compared to sheetrock. It is the best option in building structures like garages because of its resistance to damage. Normal garage activities will do very minimal damage to OSB. Thus, it would be advisable to go for OSB.

On the other hand, sheetrock is tough too, but its use is limited. Structures that are put up in places with more vigorous activities could easily do damage to sheetrock walls.

Moisture Resistance

In situations where moisture is a problem, go for an OSB. This would ensure that you have a higher percentage of moisture resistance that is reliable. Sheetrock that is not Moisture Resistant rated is more susceptible to moisture, be it mold or water damage making it an unsuitable material in moisture prone areas.

The difference between these two materials may be slight, but it also determines which is the best. In our case, the OSB gets a pass.


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Every once in a while, you may have to do renovations,  add new wiring, etc., if you used sheetrock, the process of accessing behind the walls is complicate. It also leaves sheetrock structural damages. Hence, you have to do patched repairs to the walls.

Going for Oriented Strand Board will save you the extra costs of doing repairs to sheetrock surfaces. OSB's are can be easy to removed if installed with screws for wiring accessibility, and they are easy to place back.


Stained OSB Cabinets

Oriented strand boards have interesting aesthetic surfaces, and are extremely versatile with unique technical properties. To maintain this striking look, Oriented Strand Boards can easily be stained, giving an appealing result because different strands on them absorb stain color differently.

Sheetrock, however, cannot be stained or glazed because the paper face does not dry into a hard shell. Staining a sheetrock surface will not color it but would just soak into the paper of the sheetrock surfaces.

Use of paint

Painting can be applied easily on sheetrock, protects it from water damage, and gives color to the walls in a room. It can be easily applied but only when after priming the sheetrock first to ensure a coat is provided for the paint to give an even appearance.

When using an oriented strand board, painting might appear difficult. It is also not impossible, but you will also have to apply prime first. It will also give great results if you use oil-based paints on OSB's. Consider leaving the natural beauty of OSB may be preferred for that one of a kind unique look.


Price can be a determining factor when deciding on a purchase. You may have to go for items that are cost effective. Compared to sheetrock, a normal oriented strand board price is almost half the price.

The cost of OSB makes it easier to get hold of from the market, hence, a more suitable choice in cases where you may be on a tighter budget.


Surface tidiness is important when putting up structures. If you are the type that does not clean frequently, using Oriented Strand Board is suitable.  OSB's do not show dust as easily as sheetrock, making it hard for one to notice if they are tidy or not.

Having a routine cleaning procedure can be boring or demanding sometimes. Using oriented strand board furniture and surfaces saves your work of having a thorough cleaning, either daily or weekly.


When remodeling or doing new construction, you will be more comfortable working with a material that is easily installed. Sheetrock installations are easy, but it takes a bit of skill to get a good clean look without any seams or having no screws showing.

Using Oriented Strand Boards as an alternative gives you a little more leeway when installing since the process is not as complicated as doing a sheetrock installation. Drilling and screwing through OSB's also produces less dust when compared to doing the same to sheetrock.

Soundproof ability

Even though there might be an increase in cost, an advantage is that oriented strand board offers a higher level of soundproof. Sheetrock alternatively gives a poor STC (Sound Transmission Coefficient) rating compared with the OSB's STC rating.

Variety of uses

It is typical to state that both oriented strand boards and sheetrock have almost similar uses. However, OSB has a much broader range of applications. From making furniture, doing subfloors, doing both internal and exterior wall sheath, OSB is the best option for these applications.

Sheetrock is less versatile. As a result, the range at which they can be applied is minimal compared to the higher percentage of versatility in OSB's.


The composition and applicability of these two products are almost equal to all factors considered. Most people may choose Oriented Strand Boards rather than the sheetrock because of the slight varying differences.

Consider all possible pros and cons of your situation when making your decision.

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