Skip to Content

Can You Put Drywall Over OSB? (How To)

OSB is a common type of building material and it is sometimes used to cover a wall or ceiling. There may be a time when you want to come back and cover over the OSB with drywall. Is it possible to do so?

As long as the OSB is free from defects, you can cover it with drywall to create a more polished look. You will even find it easier to attach the drywall, as you won’t have to look for a joist or stud unless you prefer to screw into one with a longer drywall screw.

Man installing drywall

Oriented strand board (OSB) is a type of engineered wood panel that is very similar to plywood in its strength but it is less expensive. It uses wood strands that are arranged in such a way that they hold together with adhesive to make a solid piece of material.

Can You Put Drywall Over OSB? (How To)

Builders have been using OSB since it was first developed in 1970. Prior to that time, plywood was being used but OSB is less expensive, so it was not long before people began using it in place of plywood.

Since you will often find OSB on walls, roofs, ceilings, and other areas of the home, there may be times when it is used as a type of covering. Sometimes, it was put up with the thought that nothing would ever be put on top of it but if you want to finish off an area, you may not want that particular look.

Adding drywall is an excellent way to finish off the room and make it feel warmer and more like home. It would be very difficult to finish off OSB in the same way, unless you skimmed it with drywall mud, which would be quite a project.

Fortunately, there are very few things that need to be said about installing drywall over OSB. As long as you have the drywall and the tools to do so, you can begin attaching it without much forethought.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t have everything prepared properly. Proper preparation will make for a much nicer job, and we will discuss how to properly prepare the OSB for drywall to be added.

You should also consider some other factors that may impact the job. These can be a problem, but by preparing in advance, you can overcome the problem before it becomes an issue.

Let’s consider some of these issues as well as how to get started on this job so you can enjoy the benefits of having drywall in place.

Should You Put Drywall Over OSB?

Man installing drywall

Installing drywall over OSB is a relatively straightforward process. That doesn’t mean, however, that it is without problems. Here are some of the issues you may face.

Expansion/Contraction – The expansion rate of OSB is different from drywall. As the two materials are attached to each other after you install the drywall, this could eventually be a problem.

Generally speaking, you won’t run into this difficulty unless you are installing the drywall over OSB in an area of the home with high moisture. Then again, if you are doing so, there are other potential problems that we will discuss below.

Some of the issues that are associated with this include having screws loosen or cracks form in the seams of the drywall. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen on occasion.

Mold – One of the more stressful situations that can happen when installing drywall over OSB is for mold to form. This sometimes happens because of another issue, the fact that OSB holds onto moisture, and drywall tends to let it go.

Since there could be moisture trapped behind the drywall, it could result in the growth of mold. With moisture, oxygen, and a food source (drywall), you have everything necessary for the growth of mold. Since it is behind the drywall, you may not recognize it for a long time.

One of the only things you can do in this regard is to purchase a type of drywall that is mold resistant. It isn’t going to fix the problem completely but it will help.

Weight – There is a significant amount of weight that is put on the supporting studs or rafters when you hang drywall over OSB. Both types of materials can add a lot of weight but together, they are significantly heavy.

This is especially a problem when putting drywall over OSB on the ceiling. The pressure downward can cause the screws to loosen and the drywall could eventually fall.

One way to take care of this problem in advance is to use long drywall screws and screw through both the drywall and OSB into the supporting rafter. It is not always necessary to do this on vertical surfaces but on horizontal surfaces, the extra holding power will work well.

Thickness – It is not always necessary to consider the thickness of the wall but in reality, you are adding some thickness to it. It may only be 1/2 inch on each wall, but that can add up and can be significant, depending upon why you are considering it.

There really isn’t any way to avoid this other than using the thinnest drywall possible. Otherwise, 1/2-inch drywall is the standard that is used in most cases.

Receptacles and Switches – Finally, you will be hanging drywall near some receptacles and switches. Those items can be difficult to deal with when they are an extra 1/2 inch back into the wall.

In some cases, you may be able to pull the box closer to the surface but in most cases, you will just have to use longer screws when putting on the covers.

What Tools Do You Need To Put Drywall Over OSB?

tools for drywall

Putting drywall over OSB is not difficult but you will need some tools to get the job done. Here are the tools you should gather in advance:

  • Drywall Square
  • Drywall Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drywall Screw Setter Bits
  • Level
  • Chalk Line
  • Pencil
  • Stud Finder
  • Drywall Knives
  • Sanding Pole
  • Safety Glasses
  • Respirator

What Preparations Do You Need To Put Drywall Over OSB?

Man installing drywall

It is not generally necessary to do a lot of work in advance when putting drywall over OSB. There are a few things that you can do ahead of time, however, that will make the job go much smoother.

Inspect and Repair – One of the most important things you do is to inspect the OSB for any damage. Sometimes, it can be difficult to spot the damage because of the way OSB looks on the wall.

Carefully go over the wall to see if there are any holes or cracks that would cause problems. Something else to check up on is the joints from one sheet of OSB to another. If they don’t line up, it is going to show up under the drywall.

Finally, you can use a wide scraper to gently go over the entire surface of the OSB and check for any protrusions. These could be small pieces of wood strands that are sticking up from the surface. It may also be nails or screws that cause this difficulty.

Any damage or other issue with the OSB should be repaired at this point. Allowing it to stay in place is only going to make the drywall magnify the issue and it will look worse when you are finished.

Straight Walls – There is some wiggle room when it comes to installing drywall over an uneven surface. For the most part, however, it is better if everything is straight and plum.

Quite honestly, there isn’t much you can do to straighten a wall or make it plum if it is already in place. What you may need to do in some cases, however, is float a portion of the wall to keep it close enough to plum so that drywall can be hung.

The drywall is going to hide a lot of the issues in the OSB and they won’t show through. If you have the wrong issues in place, however, it is going to be a noticeable problem.

How To Put Drywall Over OSB

confused man standing

Putting drywall over OSB is an easy process. Here’s how to do it:

Measure and Mark – Measure the area you are covering and mark the drywall at any spot where a cut needs to be made. You only need to make a small mark with a pencil because the drywall square will handle the rest.

Cut – After marking the drywall, use the drywall square to give yourself a straight edge at the mark. Use a utility knife to cut along the straight edge, being careful not to cut your finger in the process.

You don’t want to cut the whole way through the drywall, just try to cut the paper and the little bit of the gypsum so it creates the weakest point on the drywall.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on January 3, 2023.

You can then lift the drywall on its side and use your knee at the opposite side of the score mark to pop the drywall so it snaps. You can then use your utility knife to cut through the paper that is holding everything together.

Hang – Hanging drywall is an art form but if you have some help, you can easily do it yourself. Put the drywall in place and then use drywall screws to attach the drywall to the OSB.

Since you have a solid material that is already attached to the studs, you really only need to drill into the OSB. Some people prefer to use the studs, so they use longer screws.

Finish – Use drywall mud and tape to finish the joints. Cover the areas where the screw heads are showing with additional drywall mud. Cover it enough that you won’t have a dip but not so much that it will be difficult to remove the excess.

I would recommend using a wet sponge to wet sand the drywall finish. It does a good job and you won’t have any dust.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on January 3, 2023.

You can hang drywall over OSB by simply attaching the drywall with drywall screws. Make sure that you check the OSB for damage ahead of time and then attach it permanently. Longer screws can also be used to drill through both materials into the stud.

Related Articles

Can You Put Drywall Over Asbestos? (How To)

Can You Put Drywall Around Bathtub? (How To)

Can You Put Drywall Over Brick? (How To)

Can You Put Drywall Over Concrete?

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on January 3, 2023.

Can You Put Drywall Over Plaster? (How To)