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Can You Use OSB For Cabinet? (How To)

Cabinets are an essential part of the home, from the kitchen cabinets to storage in the garage. Can cabinets be made from OSB?

OSB is not the best choice for making cabinets. The edges do not hold up to much pressure, so you must be cautious when putting them together. If you want to use OSB for cabinets, you can add sufficient bonding methods to strengthen the connecting pieces.

Osb for Cabinet

Most people compare OSB to plywood, and there are reasons to do so. Both products are suitable for construction and can be used for roofing, walls, and subfloors.

OSB was considered an inferior product when it was first manufactured but has dramatically improved since then. There are even instances when OSB is superior to plywood for specific uses.

That is why I would not discount the possibility of using OSB to build cabinets altogether. In some cases, you may even use OSB and other materials with each other to build a strong cabinet.

Plywood is made by gluing thin wood veneer sheets to create a thicker wooden sheet. OSB, on the other hand, is the acronym for oriented strand board.

OSB is fabricated from smaller strands of wood, typically Aspen or Poplar, and bonded with a waterproof resin. It is similar to plywood in size and shape, but there tend to be fewer voids and imperfections in OSB.

It is also essential to choose the proper OSB for cabinets. There are five different grades of OSB to choose from:

OSB/0 – This OSB has benefits because no formaldehyde is used during the board’s creation. As a result, off-gassing is minimized. It is also safer to cut because the dust will not contain formaldehyde.

OSB/1 – This is the best grade to choose if you want a high-quality and good-looking cabinet. It is the highest quality board usually used in the production of furniture. You should not use OSB/1 for wet conditions.

OSB/2 – This is a good choice for cabinet building if you are using it in dry conditions. It is a sturdy board, but you don’t want to get it wet.

OSB/3 – This load-bearing option can be used in humid conditions. You may use it in a kitchen or bathroom cabinet without a problem.

OSB/4 – This grade of OSB is similar to OSB/3, but it is heavy-duty. You can use this grade of OSB to build cupboards in a garage, shed, or other environments with exposure to high humidity levels.

In the end, the choice to use OSB for cupboards is a personal decision. Many people have done it successfully, but you must be skilled in DIY projects.

Should You Use OSB For Cabinet?

Osb for Cabinet

If you are choosing to use OSB for cupboards, you need to know about potential problems. Knowing these in advance can help you avoid issues as the construction progresses.

Perception: Although most people don’t consider this a problem, it is one of the more significant concerns. That is especially true for contractors or handymen building shelving units for others.

When most people think about solid cupboards, their thoughts automatically go to plywood. To be honest, plywood is a better choice but not the only choice.

As a contractor, I often discussed the possibility of using OSB when the situation called for it. It could save the homeowner money, but they would still gravitate toward using plywood in many cases.

It’s always best to go with the suggestion of the homeowner. You can use OSB, but don’t let it ruin your reputation because of the perception of others.

Formaldehyde: Unless you are dealing with OSB/0, you will have some formaldehyde in the production of OSB. It may be in various amounts, but it can still be a problem.

If you install the OSB cabinets in an area of the home with little ventilation, off-gassing can be a serious problem. Sometimes, the smell of formaldehyde may be so strong that the cabinets are removed.

Off-gassing can occur with any product, not just OSB. You can have it with plywood or other wood cabinets if they are treated chemically.

The off-gassing will not last forever. The issue will be minimized if you have OSB in storage for a few months. You may also benefit from sealing or painting the OSB shortly after the cabinet is built.

Another possibility is choosing OSB from a factory that cares for off-gassing while it is still at the plant. The fumes will be minimized by the time you purchase it from the store.

Strength: OSB is strong and, in some cases, stronger than plywood. That is not true along the edges.

If you are trying to support heavy items in the cabinet, OSB may not be the best choice. It can be used as long as you provide suitable support.

When you build the cabinet, you will also need to support the edges properly where they meet other sheets of OSB. This can be done with angle brackets, dowel rods, or biscuits.

Moisture and Durability: There may be problems with the durability of OSB, especially along the edges. When OSB gets wet, it also tends to swell along the edges, and the swelling stays even after it dries.

If OSB is exposed to moisture, it can deteriorate quickly. It may also not last as long as plywood if the moisture level is high.

You can use OSB in dry conditions without any concern. It will retain its shape if it is not exposed to water.

Ascetics: if appearance is a concern, OSB may not be as suitable as plywood. The strands can show through after the product is finished, which is a deterrent for some homeowners.

What Preparations Do You Need To Use OSB For Cabinet?

Osb for Cabinet

We have discussed the potential issues with using OSB for cabinets. We also discussed the benefits, including price and availability.

If you want to proceed with the project, you must start properly. Preparation is the key to success in any DIY project, including building cabinets out of OSB.

Step 1: Proper Planning – Measurements must be taken to determine the cabinet size and how much OSB is needed. It is always good to purchase at least 20% more OSB than the project requires.

During the planning process, you may also consider mixing in some other types of wood for the cabinet. It isn’t necessary, but it can help if you use plywood or another wood source in areas where the cabinets may be weakest.

Step 2: Acclimating – There are several necessary steps for acclimating. In general, we recommend 48 hours with the OSB in the same room, but there may be a need for longer acclamation.

Due to the possibility of off-gassing, it would be ideal to have the OSB for at least three months before building the cabinet. Otherwise, check with the manufacturer to see if they hold the OSB at the factory to allow for off-gassing.

Step 4: Prepare the Area – It would be best if the area were clean and clutter-free before you begin the construction project. Having a clean room makes it possible to build the cabinets in place.

Even if you are building the cabinets and moving them into position, having a clear path is beneficial.

How To Use OSB For Cabinet

Osb for Cabinet

Now, it is time to construct the OSB cabinets. Follow these steps to ensure that it is as stable as possible.

Step 1: Measure and Cut – A table or circular saw should be used for cutting OSB. In most cases, OSB cuts smoothly and cleanly, so you have nice edges to work with.

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To make the edges even cleaner, you can score the top and bottom with a utility knife or apply some painter’s tape to help hold things together.

Step 2: Assemble – Use a router to create a butt joint. Wood glue can then be used to attach the pieces together. Dowel rod pieces or a biscuit Joiner can be used to help hold things together better.

Depending upon where the cabinet is installed, you can also use small blocks of wood to screw the different sections together. Doing so will add another dimension of stability.

Step 3: Install Hardware – Pre-drill holes to install knobs, hinges, and handles. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully so the hardware is installed correctly.

Step 4: Finish – Although it is possible to leave the OSB natural, it is better if you finish it. Polyurethane or paint can make the finished product look fantastic and reduce off-gassing.

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Before you finish the surface, it is beneficial to sand it with an orbital sander. Making the surface smooth will also help you identify any imperfections that must be filled before the finish.

OSB is not the best choice for building cabinets, but it can be used to save money and if you will not overload the shelving. If the OSB is high quality and finished properly, it can last many years.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 18, 2023.

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