What Is OSB Siding?

Oriented strand board, or OSB, is a manufactured wood product formed from wood chips and glue. OSB siding is a siding material made in the same manner. OSB siding is painted and maintained similarly to other wood siding, rather than having a permanent finish the way vinyl and steel siding do. The material has some advantages and disadvantages over wood or synthetic sidings.

OSB Siding Form

OSB siding is available in a number of forms, depending on the manufacturer.  Panel-type siding is available in both 4-foot by 8-foot and 4-foot by 10-foot sheets. Panel siding is installed vertically on the wall.  Also available is lap siding, which comes in in designs 4 inches and wider. The lap siding is marketed in 16-foot-long segments, allowing for faster installation than wood siding, which is often available only in shorter lengths. 

OSB Siding Appearance

Panel-type OSB siding comes in a variety of designs, including vertical grooves that resemble a rustic board siding look or a stucco appearance.  Lap-siding OSB pieces look similar to wood siding, but they don't have the wood grain or knots of natural wood and usually have a smooth finish.

OSB Advantages

Ease of installation is one of the chief advantages of OSB siding.  The longer pieces of the lap siding install quickly, with fewer joints than natural wood. The siding is commonly primed at the factory, eliminating that step during the finishing process.  OSB siding is made from smaller trees that require less growing time, making the material friendly to the environment.

OSB Disadvantages

OSB is susceptible to moisture damage and is not recommended in high-humidity areas.  Prime the siding on all sides and edge surfaces if it doesn't come that way from the factory. Start the bottom course of siding at least 6 inches above ground level. 

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.