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    Roof materials – Plywood vs OSB debate

    If you’re a homeowner looking for a new deck, you need to compare Plywood vs OSB.

    Depending on how old your home is, it may need an entirely new decking system.

    A decking system is what’s underneath your shingles.

    Usually, newer homes already have durable decking systems installed, but if you have an older home, your system is likely comprised of plywood, and may be rotted due to moisture and delamination caused by rain and other forms of inclement weather.

    According to Dmitry Lipinskiy, owner of Roofing Insights, there is a 5% chance that older homes will need a completely new decking system when their roofs are repaired.

    As a homeowner, if you find yourself in this position, know that when you install a new decking system, you will have to decide between using plywood or OSB.

    Lipinskiy says that both plywood and OSB are sufficient, but that he does prefer OSB.

    “Both plywood and OSB will meet the code. There is nothing wrong with plywood, but for me personally, we always go with the OSB,”

    he says.

    “The reason is very, very simple: performance over a long period of time.”

    Lipinskiy mentions that plywood delaminates, and unfortunately, manufacturers do not issue warranties when the plywood rots on account of the elements.

    To be fair, OSB is not exactly best friends with water either. It’s simply “the lesser of two evils,” according to Lipinskiy.

    “Both OSB and plywood absolutely hate water,”

    Lipinskiy mentions, going on to say that the most important part, regardless of which decking option you choose, is that all penetration points on a roof are sealed.

    A few other downsides to plywood:

    1. It becomes soft and weak when it delaminates.
    2. The curb appeal of your home is lost because soon your shingles will start to misalign, creating an eyesore on the top of your home.

    Despite also being susceptible to water damage, Lipinskiy says that

    “OSB doesn’t lose structural identity over long periods of time.”

    But one thing to keep in mind:

    If you’re a contractor or homeowner in the market for purchasing either plywood or OSB, there is a shortage of supplies right now due to trade restrictions imposed on Canada because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Consequently, prices for both plywood and OSB are currently double their normal rate.

    Need help with your next OSB project?

    Check out the Roofing Insights Directory!

    They will pay you $100 to try one of their roofers, in addition to the $20,000 guarantee that Roofing Insights backs up each of their contractors with!

    Quentin Super
    Senior Copywriter at Roofing Insights, author of the internationally-selling book The Long Road North, founder of quentinsuper.com

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