Is plywood or OSB better for a shed?

When it comes to building a shed, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is what type of material to use for the walls and roof. Two popular options are plywood and oriented strand board (OSB). Both of these materials have their own unique properties and benefits, but which one is better for a shed? In this article, we will take a closer look at the differences between plywood and OSB and help you determine which one is the best choice for your shed.

What is Plywood?

Plywood is a type of engineered wood that is made by gluing together several thin layers of wood veneer. These layers are then pressed and bonded together to create a strong and durable sheet of wood. The layers are arranged in a cross-grain pattern, which gives plywood its strength and stability. Plywood is available in various thicknesses and grades, making it a versatile option for a wide range of construction projects.

What is OSB?

OSB, or oriented strand board, is also an engineered wood product. It is made by compressing and gluing together strands of wood in a specific orientation. This creates a strong and durable panel that is similar in appearance to plywood. OSB is often used as a cheaper alternative to plywood, but it also has its own unique properties that make it a popular choice for construction projects.

Durability and Strength

When it comes to durability and strength, both plywood and OSB are excellent choices for a shed. Both materials are strong and can withstand heavy loads, making them suitable for use as walls and roofs. However, plywood has a slight edge in terms of strength. The cross-grain construction of plywood makes it less likely to warp or twist, making it a more stable option for long-term use.

Moisture Resistance

One of the biggest concerns when building a shed is moisture resistance. Both plywood and OSB are susceptible to water damage, but they have different levels of resistance. Plywood is made from layers of wood veneer, which are glued together with a waterproof adhesive. This makes it more resistant to moisture than OSB, which is made from strands of wood that are compressed and glued together. If exposed to water for an extended period, OSB can swell and lose its strength, whereas plywood will maintain its structural integrity.


When it comes to cost, OSB is generally the more affordable option. It is made from smaller pieces of wood, which makes it cheaper to produce than plywood. However, the cost difference between the two materials is not significant, and it ultimately depends on the specific grade and thickness of the panels you choose.


In terms of appearance, both plywood and OSB have their own unique look. Plywood has a more traditional and natural wood grain appearance, while OSB has a more uniform and industrial look. This may be a factor to consider if you are looking for a specific aesthetic for your shed.

Ease of Installation

Both plywood and OSB are relatively easy to install, but OSB has a slight advantage in this area. OSB panels are larger and lighter than plywood, making them easier to handle and install. However, plywood is more flexible and can be cut and shaped more easily, which can be beneficial for more complex shed designs.


In conclusion, both plywood and OSB are suitable options for building a shed. They are both strong, durable, and affordable materials that can withstand the elements. Plywood has a slight edge in terms of strength and moisture resistance, while OSB is more cost-effective and easier to install. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider the factors mentioned above and choose the material that best suits your project.

Is plywood or OSB better for a shed?

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