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Particle Board vs Oriented Strand Board: How Are They Different?

Particle Board

Particle board is a structural material made of wood fragments such as wood chips, sawmill shavings or saw dust, and a synthetic resin or a suitable binder, which is mechanically pressed into sheet form. It is a type of fiberboard, but made up of larger pieces of wood than the pieces used in medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and hardboard.


Particle board is cheaper, denser and more uniform than conventional wood and plywood. It is used as a substitute for them when cost precedes appearance and strength. Though it is denser than conventional wood, it is the lightest and weakest type of fiberboard, except for insulation board.

Europe alone consumes around 45 million square meters of particle board and MDF every year. Its main selling points are its price and stability. This stability enables new design possibilities. But if exposed to high levels of moisture, untreated particle board will prove to be totally unsuitable for outdoor installations.

This type of fiberboard has a very positive impact on timber resources and the environment. Seventy-five percent of particle board manufactured in Canada and the US is constructed entirely from recycled materials.

Oriented strand board (OSB)

Oriented strand board (OSB) is an engineered wood product formed by rectangular wood strands (flakes) arranged in cross-oriented layers with the help of waterproof adhesives. The result is a structural engineered wood panel similar to plywood in strength and performance, but more uniform and less expensive.

Widely used in residential and commercial construction, oriented strand board has already begun to replace natural plywood in many applications. The most common uses are as sheathing in walls, floors, and roofs. OSB is also referred as sterling board.

Oriented strand board has a rough surface with variety of colors. It is produced in large and continuous mats and has consistent quality. A range of thickness, panel size, strength, and rigidity can be given to the OSB by changes in the manufacturing process. These panels have no internal gaps, laps or voids, and are water-resistant.

Have you used particleboard or OSB for a renovation project before?

(6) Comments

  1. Hi, the loft in my 1910 property has old 4×2 rafters supporting lathe ceilings below. At this stage, I don’t want to board straight onto the joists just in case any deflection cracks the ceiling below, but neither do I want to fit larger joists at the moment. So I’m planning on fitting 50mm x 47mm cross battens on 600 centres. What would then be the lightest, strongest board to lay on top? I was wondering about 11mm OSB. It would obviously be lighter than 18mm chipboard t+g loft boards, but would it be stronger?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Duncan,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Technically it would be stronger. Even so, I would highly suggest getting a contractor or carpenter to take a look at the area and suggest a product. You will need to look into your building codes to determine what product works best as well as what will pass inspection. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  2. Hello
    OSB board is recommended for making a very firm pressing board for quilting pieces of material and not particle board. Is OSB more firm for this purpose as opposed to particle board?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Ann,

      Thank you for your inquiry! Yes, OSB is definitely more firm than particle board and will provide higher durability for your project. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

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