OSB, an acronym for Oriented Strand Board, is a structural panel used in different applications, including residential and commercial construction projects, packing, shelving and furniture among others. Being an engineered material, OSB may be custom manufactured according to specifications for different size, thickness, density, texture and strength. OSB is a performance-rated material and is popular with architects and contractors.
In manufacturing OSB, logs of fast-growing, sustainable trees are cut according to length and then debarked and processed. Aspen poplar, southern yellow pine and mixed hardwoods are the most ideal logs for OSB panels. In processing the logs, the pre-cut lengths are made into strands ranging from 90mm to 150 mm long, and 25mm wide. Further in the manufacturing process, the strands are transformed into large mats by drying, sorting and mixing the material with wax and by adding waterproof binding. OSB is manufactured in highly automated facilities in which each stage is closely monitored and tested for quality ensuring that the panels are made according to standards for strength and uniformity.
OSB is comparable to other structural panels such as plywood in terms of strength, rigidity, paintability and overall performance. OSB may be manufactured in different panel sizes and thickness, ensuring that each variant or performance rating meets specific requirements for use in different building codes; the ratings specify maximum load and spacing for different conditions.
OSB is also denoted an "Exposure 1" durability rating, meaning that the material is suited to conditions in which there may be delays in construction. Working with OSB does not necessitate any special treatment prior to use; however, avoid exposure to rain or standing water for prolonged periods as best as possible.
Economy of Usage
Being a fully engineered product, and due to its automated manufacturing process, OSB may be a more economical alternative to other structural panels. The panels are made from fast-growing forests meaning that quality raw materials are always in abundant supply. In construction, OSB's uniformity eliminates the need for further processing before use, allowing the panels to be used "as it is." Further, since the product may be manufactured in many different regions around the globe, there is always a steady supply leading to more economical purchasing and transportation.
OSB is easier and less expensive to manufacture than non wood-based building materials such as steel and concrete, and utilizes considerably less energy and resources. The panel, manufactured entirely from renewable resources, is a safe and environmentally friendly building material.
The wood strands and fiber used in OSB panels are recyclable and harvested from sustainable forests and farms. The manufacturing process is highly efficient, with nearly 90 percent of the log being used in the panels, and producing very little waste.
OSB meets North American, European and Asian standards for wood-based structural panels. In the U.S. and Canada, the manufacturing process ensures that OSB is made according to PS 2-92, CSA 0325 and CSA 04370. In Europe and Japan, OSB panels are made according to EN-300, JAS requirements and national certification agencies. In addition, the material meets standards from the Engineered Wood Association, and other wood certification organizations and building code organizations.
- Photo Credit construction image by vb_photo from Fotolia.com
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