OSB vs Drywall: Which One Should You Choose?

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Choosing a good material is super important for walls. OSB and drywall are some of the names that always come on top. That’s why comparing is essential in making the final decision. 

What are the differences between OSB vs Drywall? 

When it comes to price, OSB is at least 4 times pricier than drywalls. But their maintenance is very easy and cheap in the long run.  On the contrary, drywalls can be painted easily and produce a neater result. In terms of durability, OSB can’t be matched as it’s extremely durable. 

Anyhow, that was a quick overview of the entire comparison. Keep reading if you want to know more about OSB and drywall. 

Let’s not wait around any longer and head right in!

OSB vs Drywall: Primary Differences

Comparing two different products head to head can take a lot of time. Knowing key information about both of them is key to reducing the overall time and effort. 

To help you with that, we’ve made you a small table-

Features OSBDrywall
Price3.50$ to 7.50$ per sq. ft.1.50$ to 1.80$ per sq. ft.
MaintenanceEasierHarder 
DurabilityExtremely durableVery weak 
InstallationEasyHard
Painting Harder; requires a primerEasy painting
Fire protectionModerate (Regular OSB)High

After going through the table, which one are you liking more? 

OSB vs Drywall: Comprehensive Comparison 

Have you reached a conclusion yet? If not, that’s completely alright. We’ve categorized the features and compared them vividly- 

Price Point

The first concern before building the walls is always the price range. Because everything else is related to budget and it can’t be compromised. Similarly, when comparing Shiplap with drywall, you’ve to consider the price first. 

A single square foot of OSB sheet costs around 3.50$. There are multiple types of OSB sheets. Among them, regular and fire-rated ones are super popular. 

To meet the residential code requirements, you may have to install fire-rated OSB sheets. Those are around the 6$ range. Because of this, you may end up spending more than 2500$ per room. 

On the other hand, drywalls are super cheap. A single sheet of drywall costs 1.50$ to 1.80$. They’re also mass-produced and super easy to get. If you’re drywalling a room, it will cost you around 1000$ to 1300$ on average. 

Unfortunately, this advantage in pricing comes at a greater cost. One such example is drywall getting wet near the shower. In such cases, you’ve to know how to fix wet drywalls near your showers

Winner: Drywall is significantly cheaper when it comes to upfront cost. 

Maintenance 

In terms of maintenance, maintaining OSB is easier than drywall. It’s a super tough sheet so it can endure a lot of rain and other damages. 

It’s also super easy to clean! Just get a wet sponge and you can get any stains off. All without worrying about damaging the wall. 

It also has a lot of shear strength. This makes hanging easier. That’s why you won’t have to worry about damaging the wall in the process. 

But drywalls are really bad when it comes to maintenance. Before everything, you’ve to be really careful when moving furniture. One wrong move and you may create a hole in the wall. 

It’s also harder to clean as drywall’s biggest enemy is water itself. That’s why washing drywall is different from washing normal walls. 

Winner: OSB is easier to clean and maintain. 

Durability 

Durability is a serious concern when it comes to walls. If the wall isn’t sturdy enough, it’ll create a lot of problems. 

In terms of durability, OSB boards have a sky-high performance. These sheets are extremely durable and super tough. 

When it comes to durability, plywood is a name everybody knows about. It’s very famous for being durable. Surprisingly, OSB sheets can match that super easily. 

We’ve brought plywood into this debate to give you an idea. That’s how strong OSB sheets really are. 

Drywalls, on the contrary, don’t provide too much durability. But they can be maintained, in which case, they will last longer than usual. But it’s not enough to be impressive. 

Winner: OSB sheets are way more durable than drywall. 

To help you out, we’ve provided you a list of our favorites-

OSB boards
Drywall Sheets

This will let you choose whichever you like more and get started!

Installation 

When building walls, you’ve to take installation into account. The total costs can differ when using different types of sheets. 

OSB boards are easy to build as they’re wooden. They hardly require any professionals. All you have to do is to watch some online tutorials. And you can DIY it completely. 

OSB boards are really good to use for interiors. They are good-looking and offer a good decorative finish at the end. But you’ve to sheath OSB boards to use as interior walls

On the other hand, the total costs of installing drywalls can be high. Besides, you’re going to need a professional for this. Because it’s comparatively harder to install. 

Drywalls require a lot of precision. There aren’t enough gaps to make mistakes as they’re very weak. 

Winner: OSB is easier to install and can be done by anyone with proper tutorials. 

Painting 

After installation, painting becomes the next major concern. Surprisingly, drywalls have something to show in this category. 

Although OSB is easier to install, it’s way harder to paint. OSB boards require a primer to achieve a better look. It’s also harder to give a nice painted finish. 

Unfortunately, there are more. Even if you prime and paint properly, it may have an unfinished look. It’s due to its hard texture. It takes multiple coatings to achieve a decent finish. 

On the contrary, drywalls are easier to paint. Achieving a painted finish is easy and doesn’t require a primer. This, in turn, reduces a lot of costs. 

Winner: Drywalls let you achieve a better-painted finish for a lower price. 

Fire Protection

Whenever you’re building something, your house must meet the necessary code requirements. One such requirement is fire protection. 

In terms of fire protection, OSB boards aren’t optimal. But they do have a solution for it. OSB boards have a fire-protected variant. But these sheets cost a lot of money. 

But drywalls have better fire protection and meet the code requirements. Fire-rated OSB is still a better option. But drywall is the victor when compared to regular OSB boards. 

Winner: Drywall is better than regular OSB boards. 

At the end of the day, OSB offers a lot of protection and durability. This may make you opt for OSB. But if you think you can maintain drywall properly, drywall is the better option. 

FAQs

Question: Can OSB be used for interior walls?

Answer: OSB sheets are great for interior walls. They’re extremely durable, strong, and can have a great finish. But the painting requires a primer and multiple coatings. 

Question: Can you waterproof OSB?

Answer: OSB is made with resin and adhesives. This makes OSB boards extremely water-resistant. If you’re building something that requires protection from water, OSB is a great choice. 

Question: What is stronger OSB or plywood?

Answer: Plywood may be really famous but its shear strength isn’t even close to OSB. This makes OSB really great for hanging objects. OSB is also thicker than plywood. 

Final Words

That was all we could provide and explain on OSB vs drywall. Hopefully, this comparison was enough to satisfy your curiosity. 

Last but not least, have a nice day!

Richard Allen