Inadequate Panel Spacing – A Costly Mistake!

Ambient Temperatures and moisture conditions cause a constant state of expansion and contraction in every substance there is, whether solid, liquid or gas. This explains why bridges have expansion joints, why sidewalks have expansion joints and why you have to space structural panels such as OSB and plywood by 1/8” at joints to give them a chance to move as climate conditions change.

Not Spacing Makes the Top 10

Spacing panels 1/8” should be a basic fact of life for builders and their crews. But according to the APA (the Engineered Wood Association) a lot of builders and their framing crews don’t know or realize just how critical spacing really is and how it can impact their bottom line. The APA spends a significant amount of time doing field inspections all over the country. It compiled a top 10 list of common mistakes that builders make and presented them at the International Builders Show earlier this year. Incorrect spacing of structural panels is one of the leaders and is responsible for wavy, buckling OSB and plywood sheathing on walls right across the nation. You know what happens to siding when the sheathing buckles!

Think in 1/8” Increments

It’s a shame that something this simple can cause so many costly headaches. Whether proper spacing was not known, forgotten or even worse ignored, not spacing panels 1/8” makes everyone look bad. The builder, the site superintendent, the framer, the dealer and the manufacturer all take a hit on this one. We can’t point a finger at others and say it’s your job to educate – all of us are all responsible for that, so the next time you see a wall, or for that matter, a roof or floor being sheathed check the spacing and if isn’t there insist the panel be spaced 1/8”. It will make a better house. It will save everyone time and money. We all know callbacks are expensive and who pays for them. Panels are sized to allow for that spacing and a 10d nail makes an easy and great 1/8” spacing guide. It’s so easy to do this one right.

Build it better

Want to build an even better house? Use TallWall OSB wall sheathing. TallWall installs vertically so all edges are on framing for easy 1/8” spacing and that eliminates those awkward mid-wall horizontal joints 4x8s have. Using TallWall reduces wall air leakage up to 60%, plus it increases wall strength by up to 38% and that makes for flatter, stiffer stronger walls, fewer headaches with lower costs – it’s all good!

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