Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is a structural panel product produced by bonding together thin wood strands with adhesive.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is a product that has been manufactured and used successfully in North America for decades, but has only been available through Australian suppliers in the past decade.
OSB is a structural panel product produced by bonding together thin wood strands with adhesive. A wax may be added to the resin to increase the moisture resistant properties. The strands are generally oriented with the grain direction in the major longitudinal direction in the outer layers and in the cross direction in the inner layers of the sheet to provide panel dimensional stability. Once in place, the strands will form a large continuous mat. The mat is then heat and pressure cured, which helps to create a uniform finish.
It has similar properties to plywood, yet is generally more cost-effective to produce and is also stronger than particleboard. OSB can be used for internal and external applications.
Design properties for OSB are proprietary so manufacturers of OSB can provide the relevant specifications. OSB is not currently produced in Australia
OSB is an engineered wood panel product so it shares some characteristics with other panel products like plywood and particleboard. OSB is stronger than particleboard and depending on how it is manufactured it may be as durable as certain types of plywood.
OSB can be used for both indoor an outdoor applications. As per plywood, the durability of OSB will in part depend on the bond quality used in manufacturing. Although the use of a durable adhesive provides a bond of long-term effectiveness, it does not guarantee the material's long-term durability in every application.
Check with suppliers for further information.
OSB sizes will vary between manufacturers. Thicknesses can range anywhere from 8 mm to 25 mm with an average length of 2440 mm and width of 1200 mm.
The sizes of individual strands used in the manufacturing of OSB can also vary depending on intended use.
Check with suppliers for the sizes of OSB they stock.
There are currently no Australian regulations, standards or codes that specifically deal with OSB.
Suppliers will be able to provide specifications on the OSB products they stock.
*Disclaimer : The species mentioned here are just a guide and for specific information refer to Suppliers Section
Fire resistance in the form of a fire rating can only be applied to a total building element incorporating OSB, eg ceiling lining. A product can not be fire rated.
OSB suppliers can provide more information regarding the fire resistance of the OSB products they stock, and testing data should be available as per AS/NZS 3837 Method of Test for Heat and Smoke Release Rates for Materials and Products using an Oxygen Consumption Calorimeter.
For more information about fire resistance regulations please refer to C1.10 Fire Hazard Properties within the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
OSB is generally manufactured using a phenol-formaldehyde or resorcinol-formaldehyde adhesive. Some manufacturers are now also using formaldehyde-free adhesives.
OSB can be treated to protect against fungal or termite attack. Consult with suppliers as to the specifications of the products they stock.
OSB does not have the same appearance qualities as per plywood. OSB's mottled appearance and lack of grain patterns and uniform colour limits the appearance applications in which it can be used.
As a structural material, OSB can be used as flooring, bracing or as a cladding under stucco, weatherboards, or other surface cladding. The design of structural OSB is similar to the design of structural plywood.
Consult suppliers for further information.
For on-site storage of OSB, it should be supported on level bearers to keep it flat, well clear of the ground for good ventilation and stored undercover to keep it dry prior to installation.
As OSB is a panel product, care should be taken to protect edges. Suppliers will be able to provide appropriate handling instructions for the products they stock.
Health & safety
When working with OSB, it is important to be aware of the potential risks of working with wood dust and formaldehyde. Inhalation of excessive amounts of wood dust can pose a serious health risk so it is important that proper precautions are taken when working with OSB.
Cutting or sanding should only be undertaken in a well-ventilated area. To avoid potential exposure to wood dust it is recommended that a Class P1 (Particulate) respirator, dust-proof goggles, gloves and long sleeves are worn at all times.
Formaldehyde gas is not likely to be released unless boards are being heated, laminated or laser cut. If undertaken in a well-ventilated workplace then formaldehyde emissions are unlikely to exceed industry standards.
Each manufacturer should have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which provides information on health and safety issues associated with each product. Please contact the manufacturer directly to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
OSB can be cut easily enough with normal woodworking tools, however it is best to refer to supplier's specifications as to the placement of holes and notches.
Refer to supplier's specifications.
OSB can be sawn, drilled, screwed and nailed with ordinary woodworking tools.
OSB is likely to be produced from fast growing, renewable species - which would usually include small diameter trees, forest ‘thinnings' or timber offcuts/waste. The maximum amount of wood fibre is used from each log, helping to ensure there is little wastage from timber resources.
OSB can be painted or stained. Check with suppliers for specifications.
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