OSB vs Particleboard

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OSB (Oriented Strand Board) and particleboard are two different types of manufactured wood products. These materials are being used in an increasing number of construction projects, because they are much cheaper than wood and most other engineered wood products, such as plywood or timber. With some protection and sealing, OSB and particleboard can also look fairly attractive. Some of the key differences between OSB and particleboard are detailed below.

Oriented Strand Board

Stacked OSB.

As the name suggests, OSB is essentially a board composed of wood strands, all of which are oriented or arranged in a manner that maximizes durability and strength. The strands of wood are manufactured from softened pieces of wood and then bonded together to form the board. Each wood strand is covered with a resin adhesive. The strands are then oriented at right angles to each other to form a layer. The layer is then passed through very high heat and pressure, which helps in the bonding process. The end result is Oriented Strand Board, which is coated with a sealant to protect the material from moisture.

OSB is an environmentally-friendly product because it does not give off toxic emissions. Manufacturers prefer to use fast growing, younger trees because these can be replanted and replaced very quickly. The rate of deforestation is much lower than that caused by other wood products. There is minimal wastage of wood. Event though OSB is much cheaper than plywood or timber, it is comparable to these products in quality and strength.

OSB also has a few drawbacks, one of which is inferior resistance to moisture. If an installer or carpenter cuts off a piece of OSB, the cut edge must be coated with sealant. If this is not done, moisture can infiltrate and cause the OSB to swell up and weaken.



Particleboard is made of small wood particles that are glued together to form a sheet. The components of a particleboard are usually wood chips, sawdust, and shavings that would otherwise be disposed of as trash. Particleboard is, therefore, one of the most environmentally-friendly products available, because it reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

The manufacturing process of particleboard begins with sorting out the different particles. The particles that are of the right size are coated with a strong resin adhesive. This results in the formation of a near-liquid mixture, which is laid out in sheets. The sheets are then exposed to cold compression. This makes the sheets tough and compact. Afterward, the sheets are processed at a very high temperature and pressure, which helps set the glue and stabilizes the product. After the sheets have cooled down, they may be covered with sealant or sometimes covered with laminate. To improve its appearance, a sheet of real wood may also be used to cover it.

Particleboard is not sturdy and durable like OSB. It is a cheap alternative for projects that do not require longevity. Particleboard is highly susceptible to moisture damage and cannot be secured with regular screws, because they may cause damage. It is therefore unusable in outdoor conditions. However, for the price, many users find it worthwhile to use particleboard in small projects.