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How durable is structural sheathing?

Quarles, S. L.
Proceedings of the International Particleboard/Composite Materials Symposium, p 85-90

Quarles, S. L., (2001), "How durable is structural sheathing?", Proceedings of the International Particleboard/Composite Materials Symposium, p 85-90.
The long term performance of oriented strand-board (OSB) used as structural sheathing has been questioned in recent years, largely concerning its perceived susceptibility to biological degradation and dimensional instability. The performance concerns have been raised in litigation, but also expressed in both popular and technical publications. The objective of this paper is to review these performance concerns, which are based on personal in-service observations, discussions with architects and individuals involved in building construction litigation, limited laboratory testing, and a review of literature where performance related issues have been discussed. From these sources, it is learned that the performance concerns involve both structural and health related issues. These two issues are of particular concern in the western United States because of reported differences between OSB and CDX-grade plywood sheathing. The structural issues include strength reductions resulting from increased susceptibility to decay fungi, increased thickness swell (TS), and the combined affect of fastener corrosion and iron degradation in the adjacent wood. The health related issues seem to be limited to mold growth on OSB and concern for the associated indoor air quality.

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Author Information and Other Publications Notes
Quarles, S. L.
Stephen L. Quarles: University of California Forest Products Laboratory, Richmond,, California 94804 USA
  1. Physical Limitations of Moisture Meters
  2. Wood durability issues on the long-term performance of wood in service  

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