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Preventing Water Damage to OSB

Sheathing your shed’s walls with Oriented Strand Board (OSB) requires building the walls like you would a house. Siding would need to be installed over an OSB subfloor protected by a moisture barrier. Vinyl siding is suggested due to its low cost and ease of installation.

For those unfamiliar, what is OSB?

Compressed layers of wood strands are joined with adhesives (often synthetic resin and wax) to create OSB, an engineered wood product. This wood product has been around since 1963, and its strength is increased not by chance but by careful placement of wood strips in each successive layer. There might be as many as 50 layers of wood in a single panel.

How to Prevent Water Damage to OSB.

OSB can be used as a substitute for plywood, which is why some people choose it. In any case, OSB is often treated to repel water before leaving the factory. However, if you want to use it outside, you might need to add a protective covering to make it weather resistant. We gathered this data to show you how to keep OSB dry.

Step 1: Waterproof Your OSB

Look for the ‘waterproofed’ label to ensure your OSB is suitable for outdoor use. All OSB has some degree of waterproofing, but knowing how much will be helpful.

Step 2: Layout and Templates

When you cut OSB, you disrupt the edges and lose any sealant that might have been, creating entry points for water. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and trim the materials you’ll need before sealing the edges with waterproofing. Prepare the necessary pieces by measuring, marking, and cutting them to size.

Step 3: Apply Paint If Needed

Putting on an outside coat of paint will not only make your OSB look better, but will also protect it from the elements. In order for the sealer to safeguard the topcoat, the paint must be applied prior to the waterproofing.

Note that OSB can be stained to achieve a more natural look if that is what you desire.

Step 4: Use a waterproofing product.

A high-quality sealer is available at any hardware or home improvement store. Brush the sealer over the ends and surface of the OSB board by dipping the tip of the paintbrush into the container. This should be done on all sides, not just where the cuts were made. Apply the coating and wait 12 to 14 hours for the seal to dry on your OSB pieces.

In order to finish coating the wood, you must now turn it. Additional waterproofing layers can be added if desired. You need just wait 12 to 14 hours between applying successive coats.

Step 5: Test

The final step in waterproofing OSB is to make sure you’ve applied enough of the waterproofing material. You may see if your item is truly watertight by letting it sit out in the rain for a few hours. If it doesn’t saturate the board after that time, your OSB is probably watertight. If it doesn’t pass the test the first time, apply more layers and let them dry.

Can Exterior OSB Board Be Installed?

DIN EN 13986 is the standard for describing and classifying engineered wood sheet products. Class 3 OSB is suitable for external use, making OSB/3 and OSB/4 the go-to options for damp environments.

Is OSB Waterproof?

Yes. Several different OSB sealers are available for use in waterproofing OSB. These sealants often dry with no discernible odor.

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