OSB Vs. Plywood: Which Is Right For Your Roof

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OSB vs Plywood: Which Roofing Deck Is Right For You?

OSB vs Plywood: Which Roofing Deck Is Right For You?

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Do you have an upcoming roof replacement? Or are you in the middle of one? You’ve come to the right place.

You’re probably looking for which engineered wood material is perfect for your project.

Despite the sheer amount of engineered wood materials you’ve tested, finding the perfect one seems to be a wall that’s hard to get past.

Look no further! In this vs. challenge, we’ll put the Oriented Stand Board (OSB) and Plywood against each other.

At face value, you might think that both materials seem the same. You can buy it per sheet, use it for sheathing, and more!

But that’s not why we’re here!

In this OSB vs. Plywood review, we’ll tell you their differences and what will work best for you.

OSB and Plywood: What should you choose?

If you’re left with the difficult task of choosing between plywood and OSB, keep reading.

We’re here to help you find the best material for your job site.

Undeniably, both materials are excellent in themselves. Regardless of where you use it, you won’t have any regrets. They’re great products to use in general!

But, we can’t help but notice that each of them have their own merits and drawbacks. You don’t have to be torn anymore!

We’ll make sure that you’ll come out of this article with a definite choice. OSB, plywood, what should you choose?

The best time to make a decision is if you’re informed about your choices. So let’s get started by getting to know everything about OSB and plywood.

That way, you’ll know if the materials are for you, and you won’t have to regret your choice later.


Plywood is a pretty flexible material. You can use it to tailor your needs, the perfect material for any project!

Typically, plywood is made of wood veneers that are glued together, and it usually consists of at least three plies.


Chemical Resistant 

Some materials don’t work well under chemical exposure. Luckily, Plywood isn’t one of them. It’s the perfect material to use in places with chemical works.

You won’t expect the material to corrode anytime soon. You can trust that plywood will remain durable through time. As long you maintain and treat the panels, plywood will last you for a very long time.

High Strength to Weight Ratio 

Plywood is very cost-effective, thanks to its strength to weight ratio. It’s the perfect material to use for shearwalls, webbed beams, and flooring!

Impact Resistance 

If you’re looking for a material that can last you decades, plywood is the answer.

It can withstand any load, thanks to its design. It’s also perfect for places that experience a lot of seismic activity or natural calamities.


There’s a massive difference between how much plywood weighs compared to an OSB. If you’re looking for something lightweight, consider plywood!


Not as durable and flexible

It’s considerably weaker and lighter than other materials. Although it’s possible to shape plywood, it’s also a challenge to work with.

High maintenance 

Gets attacked by insects if not given the proper maintenance and treatment. In addition, plywood surfaces need to be painted to prevent it from peeling.

Susceptible to Weather

Poor long-term exposure to wet or moist weather conditions.

OSB Boards

Oriented Strand Board, or OSB, is made from thin wood strands. They’re typically mixed with adhesive and wax, and hot-pressed to turn them into thin sheets. It has multiple uses, and the material is very flexible!



If the price is your number one consideration, OSB wood panels provide sweet deals. You can use an OSB as a subfloor for sheathing, roof decking, and more!

Flexible Dimensions

Unlike other materials, an OSB has a squarer and smaller dimension. This makes the material perfect for roofing and other types of use!

Not just that, but most an OSB is manufactured in different sizes. You can have an OSB that’s larger than your plywood.

Great Shear Strength

OSB win against plywood when it comes to shear strength. However, the time it will take to install or remove screws on OSB and plywood sheets are the same.

No Soft Spots

Consider soft sports as the weak spots of wood sheets. Luckily OSB doesn’t have this, unlike plywood.


Tough to paint on

Hard to paint, but possible! Just make sure you use a primer on top.

Poor water resistance

Generally, an OSB sheathing or wood panels are water-resistant. But, if you cut them up, the exposed material will require some waterproofing.

If you don’t, then the OSB wood panels will absorb the water and moisture. It’ll make the panels swell.


Makes a squeaky sound if you use it for flooring. The material is very pliable, which means that it moves with your step!

Notable Features of OSB and Plywood Panels

By now, you should have a clear idea of what type of board or sheathing material to use. The next thing on our list is discussing the common notable features that both plywood and standard board OSB have.

Strength and Durability

Winner: Plywood

There isn’t much difference when we talk about the strength and durability of plywood and oriented strand board OSB. You can consider them equal in terms of this aspect.

Don’t let the size of OSB sheathing deceive you. They may look thicker but doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more durable than plywood.

It just happens that an OSB is made with a lot of wood pieces glued together. Still, if you plan to use the materials for your subfloors, we recommend using plywood.

They’re 10% stiffer than OSB sheathing. We can’t stop you from using OSB as subfloors, but when you do use them, you might face the following problems:

  • Having creaky floors because of floor movement;
  • Causes hard floor surfaces to crack;
  • Might result in having soft spongy floors.


Winner: OSB

Price plays an essential factor in your decision. If it is, then OSB should be your choice. They’re significantly cheaper, which is why a lot of people love it!

Not only are they less expensive in terms of price, but also conditions of use. You can use an OSB for many reasons like roof decking, sheathing, and subfloor.

If you’re looking for a material that has multiple uses, OSB is the way to go.


Winner: OSB

Generally, you can use both plywood and OSB for different uses. They work equally well and hold still to wherever you attach them.

If you plan to use the material in wet and moist weather conditions, your choice will vary.

Unfortunately, an OSB is less resistant to water compared to plywood. When it gets wet, the sheathing could swell and thicken up because of the moisture.

This is one of the reasons why some people prefer using plywood for their roof or subfloor.

Thankfully, there are OSB materials today that are designed to be moisture-resistant. It eliminates the problem of moisture absorption!

Notwithstanding that fact, a lot of people still prefer using OSB. They’re a lot easier to use thanks to the pre-printed grid lines. You won’t have a hard time cutting, marking, or measuring the material!

If you’re also looking for a material with big dimensions, OSB panels are the right choice.

You can get up to 16 feet in size, per sheet. And the size can get bigger!

Unfortunately, it isn’t the same for plywood. Generally, their size is limited to 10 feet at most. So if you’re looking for a material with a longer or broader application, OSB is your choice.

Standout Features

Two features stand out between Plywood and an OSB Board. These are its water-resistant feature and size.


Plywood by itself is water and moisture resistant. It’s the perfect material for your sheathing or flooring!

Plywood is the ideal material for places having a wet weather condition. You won’t have to worry about the material expanding anytime soon, like when you use OSB.

Although we did mention that there is an OSB today, which is manufactured to be resistant to wet conditions.

You can consider this as an advantage, but it can also have some drawbacks.

When you cut it open, the insides won’t be water-resistant! You’ll need to apply these separately to keep the interiors water-resistant.

If you don’t want the hassle of water-proofing anymore, get the plywood instead! It’s ready to use!


Finally, the notable distinction between the two materials is the size. This shouldn’t be a cause of concern and is a matter of preference.

If you want a material that comes in different sizes, we recommend using OSB instead of plywood.

You have a vast range of options, ranging from the smallest up to largest. You can get it for up to 16 feet and even more!

Whereas, the plywood comes in limited sizes. The biggest you can get it for is 10 inches!

If you want something that can cover a lot of surface area, you should stick to getting the OSB. It’s a leg up than plywood, which comes in limited sizes.

Final Words

Which between the OSB vs. Plywood have you decided to get? For us, we recommend choosing plywood if:

  • You want a trusted and reliable material;
  • Chemical resistant;
  • Highly durable and impact resistant;
  • Lightweight; and
  • Water-resistant.

We also recommend choosing OSB if you’re looking at the following factors:

  • Affordability;
  • Usage;
  • Size options;
  • Flexible dimensions; and
  • Durability

Now that you know more about OSB and plywood, we’re sure you’ll be able to make a choice! Let us know what you ended up choosing! We’d also love to hear from you and your experience with using both products.

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