Sheathing house framing studs with plywood covering

As we finish the framing part of the walls and roof we will want to cover them with sheathing. There are several choices in sheathing. Most carpenters and contractors use plywood to cover house framework.

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You can use plywood, wafer-board, or lumber siding. There are many other kinds of sheathing that are sheathing and siding combined, but in the interest of saving money, I suggest using plywood or wafer-board.
Wafer-board is like plywood in the fact that it has several layers glued together. The difference is that wafer-board is made from chips and plywood is made from large timber. Wafer-board has a better future than plywood with all the tree-huggers in the world, so now is a good time to start using wafer-board.

When I talk about wafer-board, I’m really referring to a product called OSB or Oriented-Strand-Board. It costs less than plywood and is at least as strong.

You can also use a product called T-111 for exterior siding.


exterior siding



I used T-111 when I first started. Initially I wanted to save money by using a sheathing that could be painted to save on vinyl siding costs. That was a dumb idea because I really hate to paint. It was sort of an expensive lesson, but it worked out fine anyway.


T-111 siding

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When you get to the windows and doors part of your home construction project, you can either piece together strips of sheathing or just cover up everything and use a router to cut them out. I like to keep the sheets big because it gives more strength. You can use a jigsaw or a saber saw to cut things out either. If you are using plywood, you might consider running the sheets sideways so that the wood grains give more strength.

Wafer-board doesn’t matter because the chips run in different directions each glued layer for extra strength. The roof sheathing is applied the same as the walls and the floor. In the attic space, you will need to put a vent in so that there can be airflow to prevent moisture and mold, also to regulate temperatures directly under the roof.

The vent is placed above the insulation, but below the truss ridge. It will need to be framed in before the sheathing gets put up. Vent covers can be purchased where you get doors, windows, or siding and retailers will have rough opening measurements.

If you choose to cover the doors and windows with sheathing and then cut them out with a router or a saw, it will use more sheathing than if you piece it together around the openings. Either way is fine though.

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Well that’s it for the sheathing part of of your home construction project. At this point, your house will be enclosed except for the doors and windows. From here on, the work will be easier, but a little time consuming.


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