Business Advice5 min

Are Premium OSB Products Worth It?

When beginning new construction, many builders start with the mindset of using commodity OSB. But sometimes following a discussion on flooring, potential moisture problems or wet weather construction, a discussion of value around premium products emerges. When considering commodity OSB versus premium products, are premium OSB products worth the upgrade?

Manufacturers like LP Building Solutions dedicate time and technology to create value-added OSB technologies to match a range of performance levels. This means builders can match solutions with their clients’ budget, location, performance expectations and length of expected residency. 

Why you should use premium products versus commodity OSB

Not all homes have the budget to use all premium products. However, there may be areas where it’s best to consider an upgrade over commodity OSB, such as under hardwood flooring or large format tile. Premium sub-floor panels provide a stronger, less bouncy feel, making it a better choice for dining and living rooms with heavy furniture. 

Is the difference visible? 

Kyle Stumpenhorst of @rrbuildings looked at the difference between standard OSB sub-floors and LP® Legacy Premium Sub-Flooring panels. Setting up the camera to view the deflection between supports set two feet apart, the commodity OSB visibly bounced while LP Legacy sub-flooring was stiff and strong as he walked across it. In cases like this, it’s easier to see the difference in commodity OSB versus premium OSB.

When building custom homes, which typically have greater price-per-square-foot options, premium sub-floors can help reduce callbacks due to performance concerns. Additionally, in areas where the sub-floor and air and water barrier are exposed to more moisture and rainwater, the performance of commodity OSB products may suffer after lengthy exposure. Premium OSB products, on the other hand, have the technology to better withstand the elements. 

Are premium products worth the upgrade – looking at the warranty

The LP Structural Solutions portfolio is engineered for durability and resiliency. 

“Instead of ‘good’ products, LP Structural Solutions products are ‘better and best,’” says Jeff Yelle, Director, OSB/EWP Technology, LP Building Solutions. “We take special care in the manufacture of these products, and the portfolio offers the best value for homeowners who can take advantage of the whole system.”

LP’s superior limited warranty demonstrates the confidence the company has in its products. LP Legacy Premium Sub-Flooring features a Covered Until It’s Covered® no-sand warranty and a lifetime limited warranty. 

Comparing commodity OSB and housewrap to integrated WRB with premium OSB

If new home construction is located in areas that experience strong storms, wind and rain, using a premium integrated air and water barrier can help safeguard the home from water intrusion. 

Tests like those conducted by Construction Instruction, which simulated a 15-minute rainstorm with 50-mph winds, show the commodity housewrap leaked water through the WRB and into the wall cavity. The side with LP WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier showed no evidence of water intrusion. 

Aren’t all radiant barrier OSB products the same? 

LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier is different,” says Yelle. “It’s unique as it was the original and offers VaporVents Technology.” 

The perforated radiant barrier is specifically made to prevent moisture build-up, drying more quickly during construction.

“When OSB sheathing is installed during construction, delays are typical. This increases likely exposure to rain,” says Yelle. “After the roofing materials have been installed, any moisture that was absorbed by the sheathing must escape. If it’s a sealed radiant barrier, moisture has nowhere to go—it will have a hard time dissipating into the atmosphere. This elevates the risk of moisture problems down the road.”

Using premium OSB products can upgrade your reputation. Here is business advice for selling premium building materials’ long-term value.  

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