Osb vs Plywood for Roofing: What Are the Differences?


With the average roof lifespan of around 20 years, you may have had to replace your roof a few times. Nobody likes leaking into their home, but if your roof isn’t up to par, this could happen.

But, of course, the last thing you want to do is get a bucket and run around whenever it starts raining, right?

One of the most important factors in keeping water out of your home is your roof. Not only is a leak a massive headache that you try to avoid, but it can severely damage your home if not resolved quickly. So, being proactive, you’ve decided to inspect your roof.

It’s been a while since you’ve been up there, and now you’re trying to decide if you should use OSB vs plywood for roofing. But what are the differences, and why should you know about this material? Let’s take a look at the answer below.

What Is Plywood?

Plywood is made from layers of wood veneers that are glued together. The grain of each layer is oriented in alternating directions, which gives plywood added strength and stability.

It is typically used for construction applications, such as sheathing and roof decking.

What Is OSB?

OSB (oriented strand board) is a manufactured product that consists of small pieces of wood that are bonded together with adhesives.

Additionally, OSB panels are available in various thicknesses, so they can be customized to meet the needs of your particular project. Another thing is that it is treated with chemicals to make it fire resistant, while plywood is not.

So, if you’re looking for durable, low-cost roofing material, OSB is a great choice.

Cost Differences Between OSB and Plywood for Roofing

When it comes to cost, plywood is usually more expensive than OSB. However, the price difference can vary depending on the grade and thickness of the boards.

For roofing, the most common thicknesses are 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch. Therefore, a 4×8 sheet of 3/8 inch plywood will cost around $20, while a 4×8 sheet of OSB will cost approximately $15.

Installation Differences Between OSB and Plywood

There are several installation differences between OSB and plywood roofing.

OSB is manufactured in large panels which are easy to transport and install, while plywood is made up of smaller, individual boards that must be nailed or screwed together on-site. Because of its size and weight, OSB can be more difficult to work with than plywood, especially on roofs with limited access.

Plywood is also more forgiving than OSB when it comes to installation errors.

For example, if nails or screws are driven into the plywood at the wrong angle or too deeply, the plywood will likely crack or split, but the damage will be more superficial and can be easily repaired.

With OSB, even a tiny mistake can cause the entire panel to delaminate.

You might be thinking now whether to hire a roofing specialist or not, read more about this to help you with the decision making.

A Guide to OSB vs Plywood for Roofing Expectancy

If you’re looking for durable, long-lasting material, OSB vs Plywood for roofing are the best options. Both are strong and will protect your home from the elements.

The main difference between the two is that OSB is made from smaller pieces of wood that are glued together, while plywood is made from large sheets of wood that are glued together.

We hope that you found this article helpful and informative. To learn more about construction tips and home improvement, keep browsing our blog.