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Old 01-13-2014, 01:36 AM   #11
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Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) is what is used for beams etc. and often finished to look good in other applications. I have also seen it used as Tim mentions. It is very strong because is not made from wood chips, rather from lengths of veneer chopped up with the wood grain providing long strands of fiber. OSB is mainly a plywood substitute and is made from random wood chips. Both are manufacture with heat, pressure and glue.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:05 AM   #12
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Brian, thanks for the clarification. I knew about the laminated beams but had assumed when I saw the sheet goods that they were OSB. I don't believe I have ever seen LVL sheet goods in the U.S. Home supply stores. Is it something Canada has that we don't get? The LVL I have seen would make great counter and table tops in trailers when sealed.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:36 PM   #13
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There are actually two types of structural lumber made from veneer (LVL) and Structural Composite Lumber (SCL). Brand name is Parallam. If you Google Parallam there are lots of images showing lots of unusual applications for the lumber. It is manufactured in big long ingots and then cut up into beams usually. But folks even use it to turn into bowls. It is not sold in sheets.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:15 PM   #14
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They often use OSB in the trailers in the US. Counter tops that get wet by the sink which is almost impossible to keep dry, swell. I often see people say they are looking at units with "a soft spot in the floor" and we have looked at such units in the past and that is the OSB breaking down from a combination of moisture and the pressure of someone walking over the area. I don't know if they have different qualities but I am not willing to take a chance on that. There is also a lot of glue involved in keeping all of those little pieces held together and when it out gasses..... Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:16 PM   #15
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There's a lot of "OSB" used in "sticks 'n bricks" homes in the PAC NW. I had my shake roof replaced on my home and was concerned about all the horror stories I've read about OSB. Yeah, that first stuff was glued together and melted in the rain. Not now. It's manufactured with resin. And for everything I've read is very comparible to plywood.

The floor of my Scamp is OSB... probably that early stuff. And yeah, horror stories about the floor just inside the doorway. THAT has more with continual moisture (put a towel down on the floor to wipe feet!) than the product. It's a major problem for owners with carpet... not so much for owners with vinyl. Maintenance is KING!
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:23 PM   #16
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Even if the modern stuff is comparable to plywood in terms of water resistance (not saying it is... I'm ignorant on the subject), it still has different properties. It's more flexible, and it sags more readily than plywood, which in turn is more flexible and sags more readily than solid wood.

I'll concede that OSB has its uses, but I'll avoid it when I can. I do use plywood in my own work when it's appropriate.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:11 AM   #17
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As plywood is made from veneer of younger and younger trees...fast growing trees planted after clear cuts, thus with no shading competition (read less dense)... and OSB is made using better and better resins...the gap between the two is quickly closing.
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:51 AM   #18
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Interesting article, Chinese competitors dumping plywood on the North American market, undercutting price by as much as 56%.......
U.S. plywood industry's plea for help rejected
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Old 01-14-2014, 02:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brookside View Post
Counter tops that get wet by the sink which is almost impossible to keep dry, swell. !
I saw an example of the new water proof particle board at Lowes, where they had a piece of it in a bottle of water in their counter top display to show that the old problem of swelling no longer exists. I don't know how long the piece had been in the water, but it was probably for months. Much more stable than even marine plywood.
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:44 PM   #20
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LP SmartSide products are basically wood strands or chips, just like OSB, and set in a waterproof resin. Their products come primed, and are used a lot around here for exterior trim work, and probably account for 75% of the painted window battens around here. We have been using it for many years, with zero callback.

OSB is a fine product, and one I don't hesitate to use for floors and wall sheathing all the time. In the last 10 years we have never had an issue with sag, neither on the roof or the floor. In fact, plywood on trusses seems way more springy underfoot than OSB does.
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