Plywood vs OSB?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ldyjarhead, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Ldyjarhead

    Ldyjarhead Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2009
    South/Central OH
    I'm hoping to come up with the simplest design for a 4x8 coop (less measuring/cutting/put-together'ing). I see lots of basic instructions on BYC but all mention plywood.

    Could I use OSB instead of plywood, or is that a no-no for chickens?
  2. ErieSpurs

    ErieSpurs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Elyria, OH
    I am currently moving so I found an ad on Craigslist for a guy making coops. I bought one and it is made out of OSB. I gave it a coat of outdoor paint and it works like a dream.

    It currently houses 2 guineas. It works so nice, that I will probably build or purchase another. So in short OSB will work fine, just make sure you put multiple coats of outdoor paint inside and out so it doesn't rot.
  3. Ldyjarhead

    Ldyjarhead Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2009
    South/Central OH
    My concern was any health hazards from whatever material is in the OSB, holding it together.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  4. Waldo

    Waldo Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 9, 2009
    central west Georgia
    All of our housing for our chickens is made from osb. If it is turned with the right side out, the side for the outside, it lasts for years. We have seen no bad effects from it. We are using it for the roof of our smaller houses that are for the seperated breeds. We put two coats of white cool seal on side for top on each 4x8 sheet. Can get 2 good coats for three boards from a gallon. in all the recent rain the coops have stayed dry.
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I've used both and both seemed to work OK.

    Painting them would make them last longer, but I never have. So long as they are vertical, not in ground contact, and can get plenty of sun and wind so they dry out fast.

    Up north where it freezes I'd probably put a good coat of paint on.

  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Plywood is better than OSB -- it will last longer and require less paint and be easier to clean. So, instructions generally reference plywood. That said, you can get away with OSB in some situations, especially if you do not require it to last a super long time. I would not use it anywhere real wet, and it is a good idea to paint it no matter where you use it (it will take up a lot more paint than sanded plywood or other materials, b/c it is so rough). But sometimes it probably IS a reasonable option.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    :)OSB has some advantages over plywood:

    OSB is generally more square and has smaller dimensional tolerances
    It can be manufactured into panels of up to 8' x 24', far larger than plywood
    There are no soft spots such as those that can occur in plywood
    OSB is made from smaller (often farmed) trees reducing the demand for old growth timber
    OSB has greater shear strength than plywood; the span rating, nail pull and screw hold are all roughly the same
    It can be $3 to $5 a panel less expensive than plywood. For a typical 2400 square foot home, OSB will save about $700 if used as the subfloor, sheathing, and roof decking instead of plywood.

    :(The major disadvantage of OSB is that if it gets exposed to significant amounts of water or moisture, the edges expand by up to 15%. . .especially if they are cut edges. This swell will then telegraph onto the shingles or some flooring. When plywood gets wet, it expands evenly throughout the panel, dries more quickly and shrinks down to its original size more rapidly than OSB.
  8. captainmoose

    captainmoose Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2009
    SE PA
    OSB is fine but I would paint or seal it. When it is not sealed or painted the glue breaks down and the wood starts to peel. I have a garage that has OSB on it and is painted, after 15 years the wood flakes are starting to peel. I'm just going to put siding over it and it will be just like new.
  9. Mr. Peepers

    Mr. Peepers Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2009
    For a 4x8 coop, you're probably going to use maybe six sheets of ply. The difference in cost between OSB and exterior grade ply is $2 to $3 per panel (at 84 lumber) so the difference between using ply and using OSB is going to be about $18 TOTAL at most (probably less). The exterior ply will last longer, especially if exposed to any moisture, will take paint better, will hold screws and nails better, and all in all will yield a more solid and durable structure. You could also probably get away with using 3/8 ply in applications where you might require 1/2 OSB. If weight is a consideration, you could save about 13 lbs per sheet that way. Basically, both will work. Pay your money and take your choice.
  10. JimWWhite

    JimWWhite Chillin' With My Peeps

    I built mine using OSB that I sealed, primered, then painted with two coats of exterior paint. I agree with PhilErvin about OSB. OSB is straight and true and I think easier to work with. Plywood has chemicals in it to glue the layers together just like OSB has the same thing to hold the chips together. It's a wash.


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