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Considerations to Make When Choosing Ply Board for Exterior Wall Sheathing

Most exterior walls require sheathing to increase their strength, boost insulation properties, and act as a nailing base for siding. Sheathing is usually carried out on newly constructed walls. Existing walls do not require it unless the existing siding is stripped during renovations. Ply board is one of the commonly used materials for external wall sheathing. It consists of thin layers of wood and wood chips glued together to form a board. However, with so many types and grades of ply on the market today, it is essential to consider the following factors to ensure you get the ideal one for your application.

Type of wood

Ply board can be categorized into two types based on the wood used in its manufacture. These are softwood ply board and hardwood ply board. The softwood ply board is engineered from softwood tree species such as Douglas-fir, cedar, spruce, and pine. They are lightweight and offer reasonable strength to structures. They are usually used as sheathing materials for external walls, but not the ideal option as they are prone to surface defects, wear, and damage from impact.

On the other hand, hardwood ply boards are engineered from hardwood tree species. They are the most suitable for exterior wall sheathing due to their strength, stiffness, and resistance to wear. They also have a high resistance to impact, making them ideal for heavy-duty wall structures. Hardwood ply board is the best sheathing material if you are looking for a material that offers excellent strength and insulation properties.

Structural properties

The various types of ply board have different properties, all of which makes them ideal for different applications. When it comes to choosing the most suitable one for exterior wall sheathing, you need to consider moisture resistant ply board to prevent mold growth and decay when exposed to high humidity. Types of ply board with surface defects such as knots, or one that isn't sanded smooth are suitable for sheathing as it will be covered with another material such as siding. The surface defects and roughness should not be a determining factor.

Ply board thickness

The primary reason for the use of ply board for exterior wall sheathing is to increase its strength; therefore, it is essential to purchase ply board with the ideal thickness for this application. The thickness of the board may vary depending on the configuration of the siding. If it attaches to the studs, the thickness of the ply board is not an issue. However, if the studs and siding are placed apart, the thickness of the ply board will depend on the space between the studs and the siding.

Exterior wall sheathing is an essential step in every construction project. Consider these factors to ensure you buy the right ply board to increase your exterior wall's strength and improve its insulation properties.