How Do I Install O.S.B. as Flooring?

June 27th 2002

Question from Trevor in Edmonton, Alberta -----

Dear Shell,

My wife and I love the look of chipboard on a floor. We have seen it in a couple of trendy businesses and would like to do the same in our house. Can you give us a few suggestions about:

a) How thick?

b) What type of varnish? (We like the clear look)

c) When to varnish? Before, after, or both?

d) Should we put a glue or adhesive down before?

e) How to fasten. Nails, Screws etc?

f) Any other tips you can think of knowing we know nothing.

Thanks for your help, we love your show and books.



Dear Trevor,

O.S.B. (chip board) has become very popular as a trendy floor and wall finish.

1. Use a minimum of ½” or 7/16” material.

2. Allow the O.S.B. to be in the room for 3 days before installing. It is important to allow the O.S.B. to acclimatize and reach the proper moisture level within your home.

3. The sub floor should be clean and dry and if there any squeaks, now is the time to screw the floor tight using 2 ½” #8 wood screws (drill pilot hole through sub floor plywood first).

4. Apply All Purpose Wood Glue to the sub floor in beads 12” apart and place a bead of glue around the entire sheets of O.S.B. 2” from the edge (Weldbond is my choice for glue).

5. Install the O.S.B. using 1 3/4” casing nails (set the nails with a nail set 1/8” below surface). Lay the O.S.B. opposite to the way your plywood sub floor runs and nail into the floor joists where possible. Note: O.S.B. sheets should be just butting one another not bashed together tightly. (approximately 1/16” between sheets would be great).

6. Apply a solvent-based urethane such as Varathane Professional Floor Finish (Black Label Can) as your finish (after you sand the floor...sanding is optional). Do not use a water-based urethane.

It’s Just That Easy

Shell Busey