Is OSB better than plywood?

Is OSB better than plywood?

There are sheet materials like plywood and OSB that appear very similar, with almost identical characteristics and at times are used in similar applications, but at the same time are very different and might not be suitable for certain projects. So, the purpose of this article is to discuss is OSB better than plywood? What is the OSB board good for?

OSB plywood

OSB & plywood

OSB is a short for Oriented Strand Board also referred to as sterling board is produced of woodworking waste like wood chips or strands, and the plywood is made of several layers of veneers.  Taking into account the production process they look differently, where plywood sheets have a flat surface and natural wood structure, whereas OSB board appears like compressed chips and large shavings wood panel.

The panel are quite similar in the way the layers are located, where chips in OSB boards are positioned in three layers, where each of which is oriented perpendicular to adjacent layers. The plywood boards structure is also at right angles to each other.

The strength of both sheet materials depends on the direction of bending – whether along with or across the structure of the outer layers.

The same binders are used, and phenolic resins are used for glueing plywood and for forming OSB sheets. Differences in the raw materials and technologies during the production of panels determine not only appearance, but also technical characteristics, and these differences can determine the answer to the question of which is better, OSB 3 board or plywood for each specific case.

Taking into account that there are several types of OSB board near me and plywood that are very different in their use and application features.

What is stronger, plywood or OSB?

When talking about the strength of sheet materials it is referred to as flexural strength. Tensile strength is the maximum bending stress that does not break the wood panel. Another vital aspect of strength is delamination resistance, which is defined in a different way for different materials but has the same practical implications. The standard optimal bending strength for OSB3 boards ranges from 16 to 22 MPa, depending on the sheet thickness.

The technical characteristics of plywood are as follows, where the bending strength along the grain of the outer layers is 25–60 MPa, depending on the type of wood used and the grade of plywood.

It is evident that when comparing both sheet panels in terms of strength is clearly in favour of plywood. The natural wood structure retained in the veneer can withstand heavier loads in comparison to chips and binder made wood panels. In fact, the plywood has 2–4 times higher flexural strength than OSB.

Moisture resistance

Humidity has the greatest influence on the resistance of the board’s delamination. It is the weakening of the bonds that result in the decrease in bending strength for OSB. Plywood has a higher moisture resistance than OSB due to the fact that in each of its layers a single wood structure is maintained, not fragmented, as in the case of an OSB.

OSB wood boars and plywood are very similar in physical and technical characteristics and have very similar areas of application. Knowing the characteristics of these materials will help to determine the selection and achieve the best combination of strength, reliability, safety and cost-effectiveness of structures.

If you are not sure on what type of sheet materials would better suit your construction project do not look any further than MGN Builders Merchants London, they have extensive stock levels and a wide range of OSB Board such as 18mm OSB board, OSB board 11mm, and more options of cheap OSB board. Simply browse their website on  and be sure to find all that you need to finish your building project on time and to the highest standards.