OSB Subfloor vs Plywood debate



I am having my building contractor install Bruce Hardwood flooring…contractor is saying that it is OK to lay down hardwood on OSB and that I do not need to upgrade subfloor to plywood. I know this goes aginst what you are saying but what are the pitfalls of OSB. Remember Bruce hardwood apparently is also agreeing with my contractor that OSB is ok as a subfloor when applying hard wood strips. (They are nailing hardwood & not using any glue) What are your thoughts on this matter? much appreciate you help and advise on this topic.




Dear Ken

Oh boy here we go again with the old OSB / Plywood debate. I stand firmly on the 3/4″ plywood or pine board subfloor side of this issue. I am not interested in what works well in the short term. My hardwood floors are going to last 100-300 years because I refuse jobs that are to be installed on the OSB. And I have lots of research to back this up. Studies done by a famous wood science university, and lots and lots of antidotal information. Plus a web site of an OSB manufacturer themselves, which shoots holes in their own argument. Oh, also a class action lawsuit involving a mass failure of this product made by a well known southern lumber baron. This material has a really checkered past. That all said, I felt so strongly about this negative effects of this product, I wrote another Strip Floor article, meant to influence the minds of the professional floor installers. I don’t care to influence Bruce or your builder, they may be stuck in their past habits. I devoted about a third of this article to the pitfalls of this material.

As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.