Years ago Oriented Strand Board (OSB) took over from plywood as the material of choice for flooring and wall panels. OSB gained popularity based on it’s lower price and relatively impressive specifications. Whilst Plywood of similar thickness could have just 5 to 7 plies, cheaper OSB sheathing trumps it with up to 50 strand layers.
It’s not price alone that gave OSB the edge. OSB is made from smaller flakes of wood layered at different directions, adding strength from every angle. Due to the construction from smaller flakes it’s possible to get much larger panels. One sheet of OSB can run from below the floorboards through the ceiling and even the entire length of a wall. All those layers means it’s strong, and you can also trust the thickness. Plywood might have aligned knots in the panels, but that can’t happen with OSB.
The Weakness of OSB
There’s only one real disadvantage to using OSB instead of plywood, but it is significant. Plywood is better at handling water and moisture, absorbing it evenly and releasing it evenly. OSB can swell in different spots, if you trim the factory sealed edges you can greatly reduce the water resistance and make the sheathing vulnerable to water damage. With OSB popular in flooring and roofing, water repulsion is not a property that you want to forego. OSB is a critical structural element of your building and, unless you live in a desert, water is going to be one of the main culprits you need protection from.
Whilst OSB is made with high pressure treatment, glues, resin and wax to repel water, whilst considered waterproof, it is not moisture repellent and will absorb water. Over time that can lead to all the problems we know and hate, that can undermine the strength of your home.
Extending Life of OSB
The good news is that there’s a simple solution. You can protect OSB, and Plywood, from water, chemicals, gasoline and more. Durabak is ideal for protecting wood, it is a unique product, used on boats, jeeps and more. Durabak comes in a can and is rolled on just like paint, it’s one part so no need to mix in hardener or reducer. Durabak bonds to itself, so it’s not like a paint or stain that just colors or treats the wood. Durabak seals the wood, and encapsulates the fibers and flakes.
Durabak is made from a special polyurethane formula which forms excessively strong chemical bonds when applied to wood. Used to protect everything from truck bed impact to the decks of US Navy Nuclear Warships, it’s tough stuff. Once rolled on the Durabak cures to form a contiguous and impermeable membrane of water resistant polyurethane. The protection isn’t only skin deep, as it seeps into the wood fibers and brings them added elasticity. Like the 5% lycra that makes your underwear so much more comfortable and also prevents rips and tears.
Durabak is easy to apply by anyone, you just need to clean, sand and xylene wipe the OSB before rolling it on. A gallon of Durabak will provide 3 coats of protection to 50 sq.ft of OSB on one side. Outdoor Durabak 18 is ideal for external paneling, adding better weather protection including UV resistance. Durabak is available in 16 colors, which can be mixed together to create an unlimited range of color options.
Speak to a Durabak expert today on 303-690-7190 or chat on our site www.durabakcompany.com