What is OSB Board?

In a period of time none of us will soon forget, the late Spring/early Summer protesting of 2020, which in many cases turned beyond aggressive, was a catalyst for a seemingly infinite number of phenomena.

From the societally significant to things that may seem like minutiae to the majority of us, the effects were felt throughout communities all over.

Perhaps one of the tinier veins, but a piece of the puzzle nonetheless, was the effect this period had on the lumber industry, particularly when it came to the supply of plywood.

As incidents became more widespread, plywood supplies seemingly disappeared overnight.

We at LOPCO were certainly part of this as we received a frantic call from a prominent Providence hotel, less than 24 hours after conducting a preventative walkthrough in case any type of protesting turned hostile in Providence.

While I was admittedly half-scoffing at the idea as I was evaluating what it would take to plywood up the 1st level of this hotel (thinking that something which I was estimating for to help prevent, had very little chance of occurring in Providence), sure enough at 6am the next morning I found myself doing another type of inspection.

This one involved me making a beeline to the Hotel to assess for any damages which may have been incurred the previous night; literally a few hours after I had initially taken a peek at things, rogue protestors had laid damage to the hotel.

As I was doing this, my phone began to blow up as the Director of Facilities for the hotel wanted to know how quickly we could get plywood up on the outside.

Realizing this was a legitimate situation, I put the mechanisms in place to get the plywood hung as we had been planning (I had not even finished my estimate yet) and headed straight for our local lumberyard.

I went there because I knew everybody and their mother would try to hit the box stores up first.

When I arrived at the lumberyard, I inquired as to how much OSB board they had and after being assured they had a good amount of it, I let them know that we would purchase all of it and asked them to please deliver it to the downtown hotel.

Luckily, we were able to fasten all the OSB board up and no further harm was inflicted to the hotel after that.

What is OSB board?

OSB Board is a sheet of wood that looks and performs like traditional plywood but is a much more cost efficient alternative.

Many times incorrectly referred to as ‘particle board’, OSB (Oriented Strand Board) board is made from waterproof heat-cured adhesives and numerous strands of wood, bonded together to form an engineered wood panel that resembles the appearance and proficiency of traditional plywood.

OSB board has many uses.

Because of its price-point, it certainly is ideal for situations where board-ups are necessary, the example I used it a good illustration but it is often used in securing vacant or fire-damaged houses being locked in over door and window areas.

Contrary to what is heard in the field, true OSB board is waterproof and is utilized in a variety of capacities.

From wall sheathing to roof sheathing to subflooring, OSB board has many applications.

The biggest disadvantage to OSB board is that if it gets exposed to significant amounts of water, it’s edges can greatly expand, especially if the edges have been cut (without being sealed) in the process of construction.

Both OSB Board and plywood will rot out if saturated with moisture over long periods of time.

One of the biggest construction myths involving OSB board is that because it is more cost efficient, it is an inferior product.

True OSB board however, if manufactured correctly, is NOT an inferior product and actually is quite versatile, especially if its structurally integrity can be maintained throughout the construction process (waterproof by correctly sealing your cuts!).

It is also a well-welcomed alternative in situations which become dire and warrant a quick response as cost effectively as possible, to guard against intrusion and unwanted vandalism whether after a home-destroying fire or a peaceful protest that turns into a potentially compromising situation for area properties.

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