Oriented Strand Board vs Plywood

Is Oriented Strand Board and Plywood The Same?

Construction and remodeling are a complex activity that requires careful decision-making and research. Hence, the used materials must be of high quality. In this case, a choice between oriented strand boards and plywood sheets may have to be made. By adhering to this, you can be sure that whatever you build will have an ideal appearance and last.

Builders have always had second thoughts when it comes to choosing between oriented strand board and plywood. The reason behind being that both materials can do the required job. It would be wise to do a quick research of these products to have a clear picture of what they finally need. Below are key factors that distinguish these materials:

1. Similarities

Below is a brief discussion to see similar points between oriented strand board and plywood. They are as follows:


If you are looking for a lifespan option by considering durable materials, then both oriented strand board and plywood are equal. They each have the same strength when comparing durability factors. Structures made from both will remain in perfect condition for a long time.

Some people find it hard to believe this, but it can be proven as both plywood and OSB contain similar properties in the first place.


When doing sheath roofing, walls, and subfloors, both OSB and plywood can be used to fix the task. They are not stressful to use when fixing or when having to drill holes in them. However, OSB panels have an added advantage over plywood.

In cases where longer panels are required, oriented strand boards will outshine plywood. It is because they are manufactured in great lengths than plywood that is manufactured on a fixed length of 8 to 10 feet.

Structural Properties

Oriented strand board and plywood both have the same structural composition. Wood being the fundamental material used to come up with these products makes them have a similar comparison. The only difference between them is how they are combined, making their appearance look different.

Other than that, these two materials share a common origin of foundation. Thus, their structural components are all the same other factors considered.

2. Differences

Below is a variety of factors that give differences between oriented strand brand products and plywood.


When heading to purchase these products, you will note that both have different pricing. Being thicker than oriented strand board, plywood has to go through a complex manufacturing process, making the end product more expensive. On the other hand, the same OSB length is less costly than the price of manufactured plywood of the same length.

From an economic point of view, OSB would be a great choice to go for as it is more pocket-friendly.

Manufacturing Method

Manufacturing plywood is done by compressing several layers of thin wood veneers to obtain a flat sheet. Oriented strand boards are made of wooden rectangular layers of strips bonded together with wax and synthetic resin.

Oriented strand board structural ratio is made up of 95% wood, and the remaining 5 percent containing a mixture of wax and resin. We can see that despite a somehow similarity in appearance, both plywood and oriented strand board are distinctively noticeable.

Environment friendly

If the environment is to be a determiner of these two materials in mind, only one can be titled “environmentally friendly.” Oriented strand boards are made from smaller species of green trees that grow quickly, so they can be farmed easily. Due to this factor, OSB is considered to be more of an environmentally friendly product.

On the other hand, plywood manufacturing requires large trees to provide enough raw materials for the process. These tree species also need large farming areas as they also grow very slowly, hence, would slow down the product manufacturing rate.

Moisture Resistance

Plywood has a higher level of resistance to moisture than oriented strand board. Structures made of plywood tend to dry quicker than those comprised of oriented strand boards. OSB’s tolerance to an environment full of moisture can be referred to as poor.


Oriented strand boards are structurally made of thick materials. Therefore, it is true to say that it is heavier than plywood. They can be hectic to lift during installation. Comprising thin layers of wood veneers, plywood’s weight cannot be compared to that of OSB as it is less heavy.

For structures that would not withstand a little more weight, builders go for plywood materials being that they are the best option to go for in that situation. This also makes it easier to move around and install than oriented strand board objects.

Public View

Oriented strand boards have been there long enough to gain popularity. Getting into the market in the early 1970s, oriented strand boards were received by a large number of positive user audience. It has since been in the business till now.

To Sum it up

Is Oriented Strand Board and Plywood The Same?

Compared to OSB, plywood is also known widely, though with not much popularity. It was in the market even alongside oriented strand boards. At some point, it tried to fend off oriented strand boards, but it couldn’t because OSB’s had a relatively cheaper cost price than plywood.

Generally, oriented strand boards and plywood all have an advantage over the other. However, these two products will only offer the best results, but only if you carefully and keenly go for an option that best suits your needs.

In most cases, you will find that there are situations that would force you to take a different approach other than the one you would love to use due to different factors. If you are having a hard time identifying your choice, the best option is to get professional guidance or go through an article like this to help you get through with efficiency.


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