Steps Involved in Building a HouseSpike's Calculators

Plywood or OSB Sheathing

All the amounts and types of material mentioned here are personal preference and is how I would do it. The thickness of your sheathing materials that you need to use will be mentioned on your building plan.

What should you use?

Plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) sheathing, to me it makes very little difference on which to use. For the longest time I used plywood sheathing for the sub floor, but OSB has much improved and could be used as a substitution for floor sheathing. Just make sure that you get good quality sheets.

Exterior Walls

Minimum thickness to use on walls; 3/8" plywood or 5/16" OSB.

If you are using fiber cement siding as a finish go with a min of 1/2" plywood or 7/16" OSB for the exterior walls.

Wall sheathing can be nailed or stapled,

Nail or staple sheets at 6" centers, 9 nails or staples for the middle rows and 3" centers, 16 nails or staples for the edge rows. In addition add 2 nails or staples in top and bottom plates in the joist spacing.

These nails in between the studs will do more than any of the other nails to make a strong wall and keep your building plumb. Assuming that you levelled or squared your wall properly before nailing down the sheathing.


Minimum thickness to use for roof sheathing is 7/16" OSB or 1/2" plywood for trusses 24"O.C.

Roof sheathing can be nailed or stapled.

Nail or staple sheets at 6" centers for middle rows and 3" centers for the edge rows.

Additional 3 nails or staples into the sub fascia and ridge blocking, in between the trusses.

Sub Floor

For sub floor sheathing 16"O.C use a min of 5/8" T&G plywood or 3/4" T&G OSB.

When a building plan calls for the floor joist to be 19.2" O.C I spend the extra money for a few additional joist and change it to 16" O.C. If I were to go with 19.2" O.C. floor joist spacing I would use 3/4" plywood for the sheathing. But the additional cost for that sheathing would basically pay for the additional joist and using 5/8" plywood.

Sub floors should be glued and screwed. There are people that will use shank nails and glue. Granted a much faster job and they will tell you that it is just as good nailing as screwing the floor down. Well at least they used glue. Anyhow, sub floors should be glued and screwed.

Screws: Nine on the edges, 6" apart and seven screws for the middle rows 8" apart.

Glue: A large tube of glue should produce approx. 85 lineal feet of bead.

Depending on your joist spacing, for 16" O.C joist spacing you would use 28' of that bead of glue and a tube would do just over 3 sheets.

For 19.2" O.C. joist spacing you would use 28' of that bead of glue and a tube would do 3 1/2 sheets.

When the glue is cold you will be hard pressed to get that volume out of one tube and on nice days you will stretch it a bit further.

Exterior Decks

If you are finishing your deck with vinyl use select T&G plywood sheathing. Fastening would be the same as for interior floors.

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