Plywood Versus OSB in Roofing


Homeowners and home builders have to decide whether to use plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) for floor and roof decking. Although both plywood and OSB are used for similar purposes, there are differences in the two products that need to be considered.


  • Both plywood and OSB are strong enough to handle standard roof loads. OSB, which is constructed from wood chips, has a comparable weight threshold and thus can be used for roof decking.


  • Although OSB may be strong enough, there are questions about OSB durability, particularly after getting wet. Plywood has a much higher tolerance for water, and therefore may be a better choice. OSB tends to expand more rapidly when exposed to moisture.


  • There is only a slight difference in the cost of OSB versus plywood. A sheet of plywood typically runs only $4 to $6 more than a sheet of OSB.

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  • Photo Credit roof diagonal image by drx from
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