Skip to Content

Can You Use OSB For Countertop Base? (How To)

When people think about installing countertops, they consider using the highest quality wood product available as a base. Does OSB qualify?

You can use OSB as a countertop base if you prepare everything properly. OSB is a quality product that has benefits over plywood in some areas. It can save you money and, at the same time, provide a solid base.

Wooden clean countertop

The biggest problem, and one that we will discuss below, is how people perceive OSB. I ran into this problem regularly when I was installing countertops.

When people see OSB being used as a countertop base, they tend to panic. That is because OSB has a bad reputation, but is it deserved?

We will consider the benefits of using OSB and the potential problems that may go along with it. In addition, we will discuss the different options available for a countertop base, should you desire to use one.

The countertops are a showpiece in the home, one of the first things most people notice when they enter the kitchen. That is why granite is such a popular choice, but if granite isn’t supported properly, it will not last long.

The strength of the countertop is not always in the material that you see on the surface. In many cases, it is actually the base that provides the strength and allows for the installation of stone or other materials to work well.

That is why choosing what material to use as a countertop base should be taken seriously.

Will OSB save you money? Absolutely! But there are other factors to consider. Saving a few dollars to install your countertop will not be worth it if it does not last long.

That is why it is important to know the truth about OSB and why it may not have the best reputation in the construction industry. It’s also a good idea to understand why most contractors use OSB for countertops and in every other area of the home.

Let’s consider some important safety factors before we begin talking about the installation of OSB as a countertop base. Unless you work safely, you are going to end up with some problems.

Always pay attention to what you are doing and work deliberately, not quickly. It only takes a moment for disaster to strike, regardless of whether it is with a power saw or with something getting in your eye.

Ensure all guards are in place on every piece of power equipment you own. Always wear safety glasses, and when appropriate, wear gloves.

These are just some of the factors to consider so that you can work safely and live to work another day.

Should You Use Osb For Countertop Base?

Man working on the OSB

Most contractors will use OSB as a base for the countertop in kitchens and bathrooms. I would use it frequently for my home and when installing countertops in other people’s homes.

That doesn’t mean that it is a flawless material, and you need to consider the good and the bad. The good thing is OSB is a strong material that is less expensive than other types of material. It works well but consider the following:

How People Perceive It – Perception is one of the most critical factors for installing anything in the home, especially if you are installing it in somebody else’s house. Even if OSB is the right choice, if the homeowner wants plywood, you should also lean in that direction.

When OSB was first manufactured, it did have some serious flaws. It was not a very strong material, and it did not hold up well under use. That has changed.

You can use OSB and be happy that it is just as good as plywood. It does have some issues, as we will discuss below, but those are small in comparison to the price savings.

Moisture – One of the biggest issues associated with OSB is moisture. When OSB gets wet, it will swell on the edges, including the cut edges.

Of course, when plywood or any other type of wood gets wet, it swells, but there is a difference. When plywood dries out, it returns to its original shape.

When OSB dries out, the swelling on the edges will remain. This will be okay with some countertops, but if it gets extremely wet and you have a tile countertop, you can expect cracks in the tiles and the grout.

Even with a solid countertop, such as granite or marble, you can still experience problems. You may have cracks in the seams, or the material itself may crack in extreme cases.

As long as you keep the OSB dry and allow it to acclimate to the inside temperature and moisture, these problems will be minimized. The countertop base will not get wet in most cases unless there are serious problems with the countertop itself.

Weight – One other issue that is often overlooked is the weight of OSB. It is slightly heavier than plywood, which is not typically a problem, but if you are net on your weight, you need to pay attention to it.

The weight is not going to be an issue for most installations. It may even work to your advantage in some ways to have the extra weight as a more solid surface. As long as you aren’t overstressing the cabinets below, it can be used.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on April 19, 2023.

These are just some of the issues to be considered when installing OSB under a countertop. It can be used, but caution should be used along with it.

What Preparations Do You Need To Use Osb For Countertop Base?

Man working on the OSB

If you have decided to use OSB as a countertop base, now is the time to prepare everything for the install. When you prepare everything in advance, the installation will go smoothly.

Clean and Dry – When preparing to install OSB as a countertop base, everything has to be clean and dry. You don’t want anything to get under the OSB, and you don’t want anything on top when the countertop goes down.

You may think it is overkill when cleaning OSB again and again but you really can’t have it too clean. Even a tiny piece of dirt or debris can make a difference and could be disastrous when installing the finished countertop.

As far as being dry, you need the OSB to be completely dry. It is best if it doesn’t get wet in the first place, so store it indoors so it can acclimate and remain dry before it is installed.

In some cases, there may be a few weeks or perhaps a month between installing the countertop base and installing the countertop. Avoid the temptation to use the countertop base as a countertop during that time.

Quite simply, if you get OSB wet, you are going to have problems. The edges will swell, and they will stay swollen, even after it dries.

Level – One other important factor is to check the level before the OSB is installed and after it is installed. Everything needs to be properly leveled so the water will not rush off the countertop onto the floor.

Check with the manufacturer to see if a certain slope needs to go toward the sink. It will be minimal if it does exist.

PRO TIP: Use a long straight edge, such as a drywall knife, to check the OSB for any high points. It is not typically going to be a problem, but if you can catch the high points in advance, the strand can be removed and filled.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on April 19, 2023.

How To Use Osb For Countertop Base

Man working on the OSB

Now that everything has been prepared properly, it’s time to install the OSB as a countertop base. This is a very easy part of the project, but it is one that must be done properly.

1. Measure and Cut – If you’ve never heard the expression, measure twice, cut once, it’s time to learn it now. You have to cut everything properly so that it fits precisely. Now is not the time to get sloppy when cutting.

Lay everything out in position dry before you install anything. Doing so will ensure that you have everything in place to begin the installation.

2. Attach – The countertop base should be attached using construction adhesive and screws. You should set the screw so it is not sticking up and will not affect the installation of the countertop.

3. Clean (Again) – As a final step, thoroughly clean the area. Check for any high points, particularly along the edges, and use a shop vac to remove any dust or debris. You will have to repeat this process immediately before the countertop goes down.

You can use OSB as a countertop base, but it has to be dry and properly acclimated to the room. If you install everything as you should and are cautious not to get the OSB wet, it can provide a suitable base that will last as long as the countertop itself.

Related Articles

Can You Use OSB for Deck? (How To)

Can You Use OSB for a Shed? (How To)

Can You Use OSB For Roofing? (How To)

Can You Use OSB For Subfloor? (How To)

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on April 19, 2023.

Can You Use OSB For a Bathroom Subfloor? (How To)