Under the roofing shingles, metal plates, or other types of coating, there lies a very important part of our roofing system, and that is roof sheathing. It can be of any type such as OSB or particle boards like plywood. 

Now, what type of material is good enough for your roof is a matter of concern. The decision of choosing OSB Vs Plywood for roofing sometimes becomes very difficult for the homeowner.

Let’s have a brief look at the comparison between these two roof sheathing materials.

OSB Vs Plywood For Roofing 

Both the OSB and plywood necessarily have their privileges for what they are chosen in a particular field. But while making up your mind for your roof sheathing, OSB and plywood have tough competition.

From a point of view, you can say OSB is more affordable, sustainable and also gives a consistent construction baseline with fewer soft spots. Again, it also has some flaws including containment of formaldehyde and susceptibility to swelling.

On the other side, plywood can resist moisture better. It is stronger and durable than OSB. But, it can split up or cause a breakdown in extremely hot weather conditions. 

So, you see none of them are just perfect for any kind of roof. You must consider your weather condition, budget, preferences, shingle type, insulation, and many other things before choosing what roof sheathing you want.

The various aspects that need to be considered before you set your decision are given below-

The internal structure: Plywood is better

OSB: OSB’s full abbreviation is Oriented Stranded Bands. It comprises thin strands or fibers of softwood that are combined using glue, wax, and resins. The next step is to heat the combination at a certain temperature that helps to form stand bonds. 

Plywood: Plywood mainly consists of thinly glued wood piles that are pressurized and heated up to form bonds between the smaller parts. The internal structure of it is somewhat different, as here each layer has a cross-connection with the previous layer. And that makes the bond very strong and also gives structural integrity.

Installation benefits

OSB: Using long OSB boards ensures fewer joints in your roof sheathing. This can protect your roof from various leaking and damaging problems.

Plywood: Using plywood, helps to hold the roofing nails which can be very useful in the case of attaching shingles with nails.

Cost Benefits: OSB is better

Although the cost variation between these materials seems to be small at first, this can make a huge difference on a larger scale.

OSB: The OSB’s retailing price is almost $38 to $48 for a ½ ” 4* 8 inches panel.

Plywood: On the other hand, the retailing price of plywood is $40 to $50 for the same size panel.

So, it can be said that plywood is a bit expensive from OSB.

Resistance: Plywood is better

OSB: In the case of water resistance, OSB has a very low score. But nowadays some modern OSB is water-resistant from the outside. If the inside gets in contact with water then, it can cause leakage and damages. 

Plywood: It has high chemical and water resistance, any substance can not get inside of it no matter what you try. That makes it an ideal choice for roof sheathing.


As both OSB and plywood are used as roof sheathing material, one of the best maintenance options for them is to keep the good condition of the above layers. 

OSB: For OSB, you have to make sure that any kind of moisture is locked and can not come in contact with it. It must be dry and sealed properly.

Plywood: In the case of plywood, heat is the major issue. As plywood can not resist a certain level of heat, and after passing that, it starts to delaminate. Eventually, your whole plywood structure will fall apart if you are not careful enough.  

Final Words

I hope that after reading this article, your queries about OSB vs plywood for roofing have now come to an end.

Overall, if you are thinking about a cost-effective and durable choice OSB is for you. And if you are looking for strong, water and chemical resistant, highly efficient material plywood will be best for you.

Now, it is up to you to choose between OSB and plywood.


As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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