CDX vs OSB What Is the Right Choice for You

Kevin Brown

CDX vs. OSB: Making the Right Choice

Are you deciding between CDX and OSB for your next project? CDX and OSB are commonly used building materials, each with its own benefits and considerations. Understanding the differences between CDX and OSB can help you make an informed decision.

CDX is a type of plywood that is constructed with a core made of softwood veneers. It is known for its durability and strength, making it a popular choice for construction projects. CDX is also resistant to warping and shrinking, which can be advantageous in humid or wet environments.

On the other hand, OSB, or oriented strand board, is made by compressing wood strands with adhesive resin. OSB is available in various thicknesses and can be a cost-effective alternative to CDX. While OSB may not have the same level of durability as CDX, it is still a reliable option for many applications.

When considering which material to choose, it is important to take into account your specific needs and project requirements. Factors such as the intended use, environmental conditions, and budget should be considered.

By understanding the differences between CDX and OSB, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs. Whether you choose CDX for its durability or OSB for its cost-effectiveness, both materials have their own unique advantages.

CDX vs OSB What Is the Right Choice for You
CDX vs OSB What Is the Right Choice for You
CDX vs OSB What Is the Right Choice for You

Two popular types of plywood, CDX and OSB, provide the necessary home protection. It’s important to know which type to use and where.

CDX vs OSB What Is the Right Choice for You

Every piece of plywood may look the same at first glance. However, each type of plywood has its own benefits and applications. Let’s explore OSB and CDX plywood to learn more about their unique characteristics.

CDX plywood, in particular, is commonly used in construction and renovation projects. It is made from multiple layers of wood veneer that are glued together, with the outer layers being of a higher grade and the inner layers being of a lower grade. The “CDX” designation stands for “C-D Exposure 1,” indicating that it is suitable for exposure to weather and moisture.

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The main advantage of CDX plywood is its durability and resistance to moisture. Its strong construction and moisture-resistant properties make it an excellent choice for exterior applications, such as roofs, walls, and subfloors. CDX plywood is also often used for concrete forms and other temporary structures, where its strength and affordability are advantageous.

What is OSB Plywood?

OSB plywood, short for Oriented Strand Board, is another type of engineered wood product. It is made from layers of wood strands that are oriented in different directions and bonded together with resin. This construction gives OSB plywood its characteristic strength and rigidity.

OSB plywood is known for its versatility and cost-effectiveness. It can be used in a wide range of applications, including wall sheathing, flooring, and roof decking. OSB plywood is particularly popular in the construction industry due to its consistent quality, availability, and competitive pricing.

One of the key benefits of OSB plywood is its high load-bearing capacity. It is able to support heavy loads and withstand structural stresses, making it suitable for use in both residential and commercial construction projects. OSB plywood is also a sustainable choice, as it is made from fast-growing trees and is produced with minimal waste.


In summary, CDX and OSB plywood are two different types of plywood with their own unique characteristics. CDX plywood is durable, moisture-resistant, and commonly used in construction projects. OSB plywood, on the other hand, is versatile, cost-effective, and known for its high load-bearing capacity.

Understanding the differences between these two types of plywood can help you make informed decisions when choosing the right material for your project.

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CDX vs OSB What Is the Right Choice for You

To understand CDX plywood, we must break down its name. The C and D stand for the veneer grade, while the X signifies the glue that binds them. One sheet of CDX plywood consists of a C and D veneer glued together.

Each plywood sheet has a grade. C-grade plywood has unsanded surfaces with defects and knots under 2″ in diameter. These imperfections are insignificant when using C-grade plywood for subfloors.

D-grade plywood also lacks sanding and contains defects and knots larger than 2″ in diameter.

The “X” in CDX refers to the glue used to attach the different types of plywood. Some plywood uses a standard adhesive. CDX plywood uses a specialized adhesive that makes it a great choice for use inside and outside your home.

What is OSB?

CDX vs OSB What Is the Right Choice for You

OSB, or Oriented Strand Board, is an engineered wood panel made from wood strands that are 3” to 6” long. It offers great versatility.

Unlike framing lumber and other types of wood, OSB can contain knots and defects, as it utilizes the entire tree during the manufacturing process.

To make OSB, the manufacturer mixes the wood strands with a waterproof resin. They then subject the mixture to high heat and pressure, which results in the large plywood sheets found in hardware stores.

What sets CDX apart from OSB?

While many people think all plywood types are interchangeable, this is not true. OSB and CDX each have unique benefits that make them great choices. It is important to understand that these benefits lend themselves to specific uses. For example, OSB is more water-resistant than CDX. CDX easily absorbs and loses water, while OSB does not absorb water easily due to the resin used in its manufacturing process.

However, this resin also makes it harder for OSB to lose absorbed water.

CDX plywood is more expensive than OSB. Different sizing affects the prices. Thinner CDX sheets cost around $20.99 while thicker ones can run upwards of $40.99 per sheet.

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OSB plywood starts at $15.80 per sheet and thicker sheets can cost up to $32.99.

The key difference between OSB and CDX is their applications. It’s important to use the right plywood for the job, just like you wouldn’t use framing lumber to build a large deck on your home.

Subflooring doesn’t face moisture exposure, so CDX is an excellent choice due to its thickness and durability. CDX is also suitable for roofing in low-rainfall areas.

OSB is a popular option for sheathing, serving as the base layer for roofs. It is water-resistant and ideal for installation underneath shingles, roofing metal, or your chosen roof finish. Both OSB and CDX offer numerous benefits and practical applications.

In fact, it is nearly impossible to construct a home without utilizing at least one of these plywood types.

When meeting with your contractor, inform them of the type of plywood you want to use. Understanding each type’s benefits and common applications will help you choose the right lumber to protect your home from the elements.

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