Despite recent price fluctuations, oriented strand board (OSB) is on a great run. The numbers don't lie: North American OSB production in 1980 was 751 million square feet per year; as of year ending 2002, the number has grown to 22 billion square feet. Not bad for a product that didn't even exist 25 years ago.
OSB is manufactured from waterproof heat-cured adhesives and rectangular-shaped wood strands that are arranged in cross-oriented layers. The panels share many of the strength and performance characteristics of plywood but have slowly surpassed plywood in the home building industry.
OSB started life as just another option for roof and wall sheathing as well as other applications. The simple panel of yesterday is now a specialized product that comes in different varieties tailored to specific applications.
Spokane, Wash.-based Potlatch Corp. dedicates a large portion of its efforts to specialty OSB products. The manufacturer offers products that resist termites and products that boost energy efficiency and improve building efficiency. Another of its products is OXTreme Sturd-I-Floor, a new product that resists moisture and edge swell thanks to a sealed edge that locks out moisture and eliminates the need for sanding panel edges. The self-spacing, tongue-and-groove design also allows for expansion and contraction, so the floor will not warp. In addition to the I-Floor, Potlatch also manufactures LuminOX radiant barrier roof sheathing and OXTerminator, which resists mold growth.
Huber Engineered Woods in Edison, N.J., also has found ways to offer specialized OSB to its customers. The manufacturer has introduced CedarStran OSB, a product that builders use to upgrade closets, says the company. Made from 100 percent Eastern red cedar, which offers natural protection from insects and moisture, it costs a lot less than cedar planks and is stronger than other cedar panels, the company adds.
Though its prices may fluctuate, OSB remains a constant in home building by constantly changing.
X box: OXTreme Sturd-I-Floor is a specialty OSB panel that resists moisture and edge swell. The product has a specially formulated edge seal that locks out moisture and eliminates the need for sanding panel edges. It has a self-spacing, tongue-and-groove design that allows for expansion and contraction and comes with a 50-year warranty. Potlatch Corp. 800-750-3850. www.oxspecialties.com.
Best defense: TJ Performance Plus Panel is the "best" OSB product in the company's new good, better, and best panel strategy. A component of the FrameWorks floor system, the panel provides a stiffer underlayment and reduces problems with hardwood and ceramic tile applications. A clear edge seal keeps out moisture and helps to keep floors flat. Trus Joist. 208-384-6161. www.trusjoist.com.
Insect repellent: CedarStran is made from 100 percent Eastern red cedar, which offers natural protection from insects and moisture. The manufacturer says its product costs less than cedar planking and is stronger and stiffer than other cedar panels. It is manufactured with engineered strand construction and has layers that are specially oriented for strength and stability. Available in 4-by-8-foot panels, CedarStran is smooth-sanded to enhance aromatic emission and prevent snags. Huber Engineered Woods. 800-933-9220. www.huberwood.com.
Orange grove: Top Notch Orange Plus OSB features an edge coating that minimizes water absorption and has a self-draining system that reduces standing water and the need for sanding, the company says. Available in 96-by-48-inch panels and various thicknesses, the product carries a transferable 20-year limited warranty. LP Corp. 800-648-6893. www.lpcorp.com.
For more product information, visit ebuild, Hanley Wood's interactive product catalog.