04:38AM | 08/02/04
Member Since: 08/01/04
1 lifetime posts

I am having a contractor build a new home for me. This home will be built in NorthEastern US (Pennsylvania). The builder normally constructs exterior walls with 2x4's, insulation, and Dow "Blueboard" sheathing. Only the corners/ends of any walls have OSB. The builder says they can do OSB covered with "blueboard" on all exterior walls but there is a cost increase for this. The builder says that they build all of their homes this way and that they see no clear benefit in doing OSB on all walls. I have asked some other local contractors and have gotten mixed results.

Is it worth the added expense to have OSB done on all exterior walls???

Glenn Good

12:40PM | 08/12/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
320 lifetime posts
Oriented Strand Board or OSB is primarily used to sheath the entire house for several reasons. Here are a few of them:

1) If the house is in a high wind area where severe weather is a substantial threat.

2) When the corners of a structure have large windows, doors, or other openings close to the corner preventing the OSB from stabilizing the wall properly.

I personally had my home sheathed entirely with OSB for better all-round structural stability and piece of mind. I have been in the construction industry for over 34 years and have seen most everything that can happen to a building.

For example:

If a foundation has a weak spot in it the OSB can help limit the amount of disruption it causes to the upper levels of the home. It is not a cure for a foundation problem by any means but it can be a big help by greatly limiting the amount of damage caused if a portion of the foundation heaves or settles slightly.

High winds caused by tornadoes or hurricanes are another big factor to consider. If you live in an area prone to either of these weather related conditions I would strongly recommend using OSB sheathing throughout on the exterior walls. OSB may not protect your house from a direct hit from a tornado but in a near miss it could make all the difference.

Earthquakes are another thing to consider although additional seismic anchors and straps should be used in addition to the OSB in high risk areas.

Just a few things to consider.


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06:39AM | 08/26/04
Member Since: 02/13/03
90 lifetime posts
Why not use 2x6 exterior walls. That extra 2 inches adds alot of insulation value.

Had a home built last summer and used all OSB, no outside insulation but used 2x6 walls with R-21 insulation.

PA is no different than Iowa, it gets cold there. About every custom house in upper midwest has the 2x6 exterior walls. Only ones that don't are spec houses, where low bid is everything.


06:09AM | 10/12/06
Member Since: 06/19/06
26 lifetime posts
I agree with hoganem, I would not build a home without the 2x6 walls, I live in Alabama, the extra 2 inchs seem to insulate better.


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