Behind the Scenes: Why it Matters What Type of Wood Goes Behind Siding

Siding is the superhero of your home. It protects it, shields it from harmful weather, and keeps it safe and comfortable. But it doesn’t act alone. Certain elements come together to allow siding to perform its best, and that’s why it matters what type of wood goes behind your siding. The wood that goes behind your siding serves several functions, from increasing insulation to waterproofing, and adding structural support for the framing of your house. All these elements are key to a comfortable, functional, durable home. There are 2 types of wood that are used behind siding: oriented strand board and plywood. Check out the differences below to see which one would work best for your abode.

Oriented Strand Board vs. Plywood

Oriented strand board and plywood are the most common sheathing materials to use behind siding. They both share advantages when it comes to strength and durability, but there are some differences between them. OSB costs less than plywood, which makes it a popular choice among contractors and homeowners. In fact, OSB is used over 75% of the time in North America, making it clear that today’s consumers are extremely cost conscious.

Advantages of OSB

Cost efficiency isn’t the only thing that makes OSB stand out. OSB is manufactured as a composite material, made from as many as 50 strand layers packed and compressed into the same thickness. This makes it strong, durable and able to easily repel water. It’s also more resource-efficient since it can be made from small fast growing trees from tree farms rather than old forests. OSB panels can be manufactured up to 16 feet (or higher), which means you can sheathe your walls from top to bottom leaving no horizontal seams.

Advantages of Plywood

The one thing plywood has over OSB is its reaction when exposed to large amounts of water. This happens during construction delays when sheathing panels are covered with snow, rain and ice. Plywood swells consistently across the sheet, then returns to its normal dimensions when it dries, and it dries out pretty quickly. OSB, on the other hand, tends to swell along the edges and the edges don’t go back to normal once they dry up. OSB takes longer to get wet than plywood, but it also takes longer to dry.

OSB and plywood panels are equal in strength, weight and ability to hold fasteners, but OSB has become the favourite across North America due to its lower cost and consistent panel-to-panel quality. The wood behind your siding allows your siding to perform its best. If you’re in the market for new siding for your home, find your nearest Gentek dealer to help you with your siding project!