How to Attach OSB Boards

Written by paul massey
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OSB, the acronym for oriented strand board, is an engineered panel formed by bonding flakes or chips of wood with resin. OSB is widely used for sheathing floors, walls and roofs, and is available in the same nominal thicknesses as plywood. Although OSB is lighter and more economical than plywood, it possesses equivalent structural properties and the method for attaching OSB sheets to wall studs is the same as for floor and roof sheathing.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Chalkline
  • 2 wood blocks, 1/2-inch
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Power screwdriver (optional)
  • 8d sinker nails or
  • 1 1/4-inch stitch screws

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure vertically from the base of the wall at both ends and place a pencil mark at 48 1/2 inches. Use a chalkline to snap a horizontal guideline and connect the marks.

  2. 2

    Place two 1/2-inch wood blocks against the base of the wall, approximately 5 or 6 feet apart.

  3. 3

    Stand a full sheet of OSB upright against the wall and rest the bottom edge on the wood blocks.

  4. 4

    Shift the OSB sheet, as necessary, to position the end flush with the corner or end of the wall. Make certain the top of the sheet is aligned with the chalked guideline and the leading edge ends at the middle of a wall stud. Cut the sheet to length, if needed, using a circular saw. Note that all sheet end joints must meet on a wall stud.

  5. 5

    Secure the OSB sheet to the wall studs using 8d nails or 1 1/4-inch stitch screws spaced roughly 12 inches apart and 2 inches from the top and bottom edges at each wall stud. Additional fastening can be added at the base of the wall approximately 8 inches apart or half way between each wall stud.

  6. 6

    Move the 1/2 inch wood blocks to the next sheet's locations, again about 5 to 6 feet apart.

  7. 7

    Stand the next full sheet of OSB upright against the wall and rest the bottom edge on the wood blocks. Shift the sheet, as necessary, to butt the end against the previous sheet. Check that the top of the sheet is aligned with the chalked guideline and the leading edge ends at the middle of a wall stud. Cut it to length, if needed.

  8. 8

    Secure the OSB sheet to the wall studs using 8d nails or 1 1/4-inch stitch screws spaced as described.

  9. 9

    Repeat steps 3 through 8 to complete the first row of OSB sheets to the end of the wall. Cut the final OSB sheet in the row, as necessary, to make the end flush with the corner or end of the wall.

  10. 10

    Start the next row of OSB sheets by measuring the horizontal distance from the starting corner or end of the wall to the middle of the wall stud nearest to the middle of the first OSB sheet of the first row.

  11. 11

    Cut an OSB sheet to the dimension determined in Step 10 as the first piece in the row. This offsets the OSB sheet's end joints in the row by a minimum of 32 to 48 inches from the first row.

  12. 12

    Rest the bottom edge of the OSB piece cut in Step 11 on the top edge of the first sheet in the first row. Align the starting edge with the corner or end of the wall and the leading edge at the middle of the wall stud. Secure the piece in place with nails or screws. For a standard 8-foot framed wall, this will align the top edge of the piece with the wall's top plate, and additional fastening can be added at the top plate approximately 8 inches apart.

  13. 13

    Position the next full sheet of OSB upright against the wall and rest the bottom edge on the top of the first row. Shift the sheet, as necessary, to butt the end against the previous sheet. Check that the leading edge ends at the middle of a wall stud. Cut it to length, if needed, and secure to the framing with nails or screws.

  14. 14

    Repeat Steps 3 through 8 to complete the row of OSB sheets and complete the wall coverage, continuing to offset the end joints in alternating rows.

Tips and warnings

  • In addition to the nail or screw fasteners, OSB can be glued to the studs, joists or rafters using standard construction adhesive to maximise the sheet's shear strength.

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