OSB as Flooring

Using OSB as Your Primary Floor

Flooring projects are a fantastic way to change the mood of an entire room. Dark woods can bring a dramatic look, while marble tile can bring a cleaner, modern feel. Today, there are so many different flooring options that work for any room style, as well as any environmental requirements. Whether you are putting in a floor for a cozy bedroom, or a high traffic kitchen that will get wet, you can find the perfect product for it. But have you ever considered using OSB board as your main floor?

Using OSB board as a main flooring choice probably raises some questions. Typically, most flooring types used today are hardwood, tile, carpet, and synthetic plank. These options provide durability while also bringing a great appearance. For example, a kitchen may benefit from a stone texture vinyl plank flooring due to the affordability, durability, and most importantly, water resistance. Someone looking for a hardy, long-term flooring solution will find great value in doing Brazilian hardwood floors. While hardwood requires maintenance, these floors could last well over 50 years. But what about OSB board? Where does that fit in with these flagship flooring options?

OSB Flooring Ideas
OSB Flooring Ideas - Houzz.com

What is OSB Board?

OSB, or oriented strand board, is a type of wood made from formed pieces of wood. The name comes from the fact that the wood pieces in each layer point in the same direction. This provides a great deal of strength throughout the board. Each layer is held together by a resin or wax. Typically, this type of wood is used for construction or industrial applications due to the fact that it does not look like typical decorative hardwood. It may come off as cheap or unsightly. But with the right stains and finishes, you can make a truly unique floor that adds a lot of character to your space.

OSB also brings a lot of structural qualities that make it a suitable choice for flooring. The manufacturing methods for OSB give it a high durability, and can handle lots of weight. The resins and waxes used to create OSB give it some water resistance as well, so it can be used on rooms that would see splashes or moisture, such as a kitchen or bathroom. Because of the rough surface of OSB, you will most likely want to finish with a polyurethane coat, which will be extra work, but not only will it be heavy-duty, it will look incredibly glossy and clean with a smooth top. The polyurethane will also be important in the rooms with moisture. With a few steps, you can turn OSB into a highly functional and distinctive flooring.

Installing OSB Board Flooring

OSB can actually make installation easier than typical plank flooring. By using large sheets, you will have less to measure and less to nail in place. The weight of the boards will help keep your floor in place, too, so you don’t have to worry about shifting of planks. If you suffer from squeaky floors, the large distribution area of weight on OSB can help eliminate those annoying creaks and groans in your house as well.

There are a few steps to preparing your OSB for installation. The boards should be planed first to ensure the floor goes down flat. Then, cut tongue and groove joints so the boards will go together snugly. The final step before installation is to sand the boards, especially the sides, to ensure the boards fit together with no imperfections.

At this point, your OSB is ready to be laid on the floor. Staples or flooring nails can be applied through the groove to the subfloor before connecting the next board. Take care to measure as you approach walls and obstructions. If you need to finish a row with a shortened board, use a table saw with a sturdy fence to guarantee a straight cut.

OSB Flooring
Transitional Bedroom - Houzz.com

Finishing OSB Flooring

Once the floor is in, you are ready to finish the top layer. At this point, the OSB will look pretty rough, even after the initial sanding. To make sure the floors are nice and flat, the use of a floor sander can deliver a nice, flat surface for finishing. Use a hand sander with around 120 grit to get areas along the walls and corners, too. Once sanded, sweep up any dust to prevent a dirty finish. Now, the coatings you plan to use can be applied.

Before you apply your clear coat, consider using a stain to give your OSB a truly unique look. A stain can also affect the tone and style in the space. With your prepared floors, apply your stain using a long-handled roller to achieve an even application. Apply additional coats as necessary, allowing each layer to dry before reapplying.

Stained or not, the floors are ready to accept the final polyurethane top coat. A long-handled roller with short fibers, such as lambswool, is recommended to apply evenly and eliminate impurities in the finish. Apply 2-3 coats depending on the level of protection desired. If the floor is in a heavy traffic area, be sure to go with 3 coats to ensure the rough OSB does not wear through. If the floor is in a kitchen or bathroom, apply 3 coats as well to ensure superior water resistance. Allow to dry in between applications. You may also want to light sand each polyurethane layer to give the next coat better adherence. Allow to completely dry before moving furniture back into the space.

OSB as Flooring
Finished OSB Flooring

These steps will help you install an OSB floor that will be absolutely stunning. You could even try something different and install as planks if you desire, but this will require precise cutting of each plank. You could even mix up board stains and create entirely new patterns. There are a few extra steps to making OSB work as a primary floor, but the result will be very durable and one-of-a-kind.

For more examples of people using OSB for flooring, see our Pinterest Board: OSB Flooring Ideas.

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