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OSB boards: use and areas of application
OSB boards: use and areas of application

Video: OSB boards: use and areas of application

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Video: Framing : OSB vs. Plywood - Whats the difference in COST AND PERFORMANCE 2023, January

Owing to their many fields of application and possible uses, OSB boards or coarse chipboard are very interesting for builders who want to build, expand or furnish their home at low cost: OSB boards have a warm wood look, are structurally high-strength and dimensionally stable, even under the influence of moisture and are considered a "healthy" material.

Standardized production of OSB boards

North American plywood and veneer manufacturers were looking for a sensible way of recycling residual chips.

The elongated chips, the "strands", were oriented in the direction of the fibers and pressed with glue into "boards" - these so-called OSB boards (oriented strand boards) made of aligned chips have also been produced in Europe since the 1990s, their share of the chipboard market is about 20 percent. What started experimentally is now subject to a standardized production process; The properties of OSB panels are defined by the European standard EN 300 or in general building inspectorate approvals. Only coniferous wood from the thinning of sustainably managed forests is used for the production of OSB boards.

OSB boards - classification

Depending on their mechanical properties and relative moisture resistance, the panels are divided into four classes. A distinction is made between two types for use in dry areas and two types for load-bearing use in wet areas. In Germany, the manufacturing requirements for OSB panels and their application can also be regulated via a general building inspectorate approval.

  • OSB / 1 denotes panels for interior construction (including furniture) for use in dry areas
  • OSB / 2 boards are suitable for load-bearing purposes for use in dry areas
  • OSB / 3 marks panels for load-bearing purposes for use in damp areas
  • OSB / 4 panels are heavy-duty panels for load-bearing purposes for use in damp areas

The multilayer structure of OSB panels

Predominantly pine trunks are debarked and cut with rotating knives into chips ten millimeters wide and ten to twelve centimeters long - they give the panels their characteristic, unmistakable texture. The coarse chips are dried to a moisture content of six percent, so the wood absorbs the glue better - the glued chips are arranged in three layers in a throwing process: once lengthways to the grain direction, then lengthways and again lengthways. With high pressure and a temperature of around 220 degrees Celsius, the layers are compressed in presses to form plates a few centimeters thick. They consist of about 95 percent wood, synthetic resin is used for gluing: polyurethane resin (PUR resin) hardens by heating, is extremely hard, abrasion-resistant and water-resistant.

OSB panels are manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner

The standardized European standard EN 13986 for OSB distinguishes two classes of formaldehyde:

  • Class E1 materials contain a maximum of eight milligrams of formaldehyde per 100 grams of material
  • Class E2 materials contain eight to 30 milligrams per 100 grams. Wood materials of emission class E2 are not permitted in Germany.

The Öko-Test magazine tested OSB products from European manufacturers for their pollutant emissions, five of seven products were rated "very good" or "good". Three plates gave off odor-intensive aldehydes, which, however, are not harmful to health.

Conventional chipboard contains around 20 percent glue, OSB only four to six percent. Some construction biologists consider polyurethane resins to be of concern because their manufacture is not very environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, many planners and builders - also and especially for the construction of eco-houses - choose OSB boards: the less glue a board contains, the less health and the environment are affected by pollutants.

OSB panels: high strength and surface worth seeing


In interior design, OSB panels are valued as wall and ceiling cladding as well as flooring.

Photo: living4media / Liesbet Goetschalckx

OSB boards have better material properties than particle boards. With the same material thickness

  • make the long, slim shavings OSB boards more resistant to bending in the longitudinal direction than conventional chipboards with short, undirected fibers;
  • the three-layer structure gives OSB panels more dimensional stability;
  • contain less glue due to the chip size;
  • the surface is suitable as a visible surface due to the material composition and the appearance.

Use of OSB boards in house construction

In house construction, OSB panels are suitable for planking and bracing walls, roofs and ceilings and as cladding for facades. The panels should acclimatize for around 48 hours before installation or laying, so their expansion is reduced by differences in humidity between the storage and the installation location. Color design with glazes, varnishes or plastic coating gives OSB surfaces that “certain something” or protects them permanently from wind and weather - if the OSB panels are to be painted or top coverings applied, this work should ideally be completed within 36 hours of the OSB -Assembly. Otherwise, the plates can “bowl” in an unfavorable climate, that is, they can bend upwards in the shape of a bowl. The danger disappears if solvent-based paints are used for the surface treatment - and the risk increases with water-based paints.

In the roof area and in the outer walls, OSB panels can act as a vapor barrier. The Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) requires an airtight outer shell for new buildings. Where two plate edges lie next to each other, a joint is created - this “impact” should prevent wind and moisture from penetrating. All joints of tongue and groove connections must be taped on the inside of the roof or wall using a special adhesive sealing tape. It bridges the joint - even if it widens due to the panel shrinking. However, if the joints are on rafters or stands and are carefully nailed or screwed on, they may not need to be taped.

Use of OSB panels in interior construction

In interior design, OSB panels are valued as wall and ceiling cladding as well as flooring. The panels can be used in all rooms - even in the bathroom, provided they are not exposed to splash water. Careful sealing and sealing are important, especially around sanitary connections. OSB is equally suitable as a floor covering or substructure - however, because of the heat-insulating properties, it is not suitable for underfloor heating. The surfaces of sanded plates absorb lacquer better than unsanded workpieces. They can be treated with conventional paints, waxes and wood oils. Water-based paints, however, can cause the material to swell, even though it has a low thickness swell overall. If you want to be absolutely sure, grind the plates again over the entire surface to level small differences in the chip height. The surface should be dry, free of dust and grease.

Kiste aus OSB-Platten
Kiste aus OSB-Platten

As packaging material, packaging and transport boxes made of OSB boards protect sensitive goods from the bottle of wine to the machine.

Photo: iStock / LeventKonuk

OSB panels in furniture construction and as robust packaging

OSB boards are used in furniture construction as a rigid material for shelves and frames, workbenches, tables and chests. As packaging material, packaging and transport boxes made of OSB boards protect sensitive goods from the bottle of wine to the machine. Because of their dimensional stability, OSB panels are often used as formwork boards for concrete formwork.

Different forms of delivery

Common thicknesses are six to 40 millimeters for straight-edged panels and twelve to 35 millimeters for tongue and groove connections. There are formats from 1, 830 x 675 millimeters to large-format XXL plates of 11, 500 x 2, 800 millimeters. Unpolished, ground and coated surfaces are on the market. Trained woodworkers will tell you which of the four types of OSB panels is the right one for the desired area of ​​application and how it may need to be protected from moisture.

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