buckling in wood sheathing panels

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Wood Sheathing Panels

“I love wavy lines on the roof of my home” – said no homeowner ever. And can you blame them? This dreadful occurrence is called buckling, and it transpires when there’s a change in moisture content. Buckling is common in oriented strand board (OSB) and plywood in roofs and panels. 

Wood expands and contracts naturally because of the moisture content in the wood. If there isn’t enough space between the wood panels, the boards are forced together and pushed either out or in, causing a bow/bend in the panel. 

Whether you are redesigning your existing home or building a brand new one, your building supplies company and/or your contractor should consider a few simple tips suggested by the American Plywood Association (APA) to avoid buckling. 

The Design

There are a number of ways to avoid buckling when designing your next building project. 

  • Spacing
    When designing your next build/project, it’s best to map out the spacing of your panels. Spacing your panels is probably the easiest way to avoid any potential buckling when you are building. The APA suggests a gap of ⅛ inch between each panel to ensure there’s enough space for the wood to expand/contract. The easiest way to ensure a ⅛ gap between panels is to use a #10 penny box nail in between the installation of each board.
  • Allow time for acclimation
    Wood panels should always be stored at the construction site prior to installation. Not only does proper storage reduce the possibility of damage to the panels, it also allows the panels to acclimatize to the environment before installation.For more information on proper on-site storage visit the APA.

Always be sure to speak to your contractor prior to installation so that wood panels are installed correctly per local building codes. 

Repairing without removing the roof

There are a lot of ways to prevent buckling from happening, but what do you do when your existing home shows signs of buckling? 

The first step in assessing the situation should be to check the ventilation in the attic space.  If the home is not adequately ventilated, there will be a build up of moisture as there’s nowhere for the moist air to escape. The moist air will then cause a number of issues, including buckling of the wood panels/shingles on the roof.

In the winter, this can cause an even bigger issue – ice damming. If the moisture in the attic is not controlled, the hot air will melt the snow on the roof. The snow then melts and freezes on the eaves, which causes a buildup of snow, ice, and water. This can lead to major problems, as well. 

Lastly, be sure to ask your contractor if your appliances are vented to the outside of the home. If the appliances are vented to the attic or crawl space, it can cause more moisture/heat which only adds to the problem. 

With proper moisture control in place, it’s easy to prevent buckling in the wood sheathing panels. 

Correcting Existing Warped Panels

If your home currently has warped panels, all hope is not lost! You can follow a few simple tips to correct the problem:

  • Use a saw to cut the ends of the wood panels. This will help alleviate pressure and it will also create a space that allows the panels to expand in the future.
  • The areas of concern can be made stronger with wood blocking.
  • Ask your building supply company or contractor about panel clips. Panel clips can be used to strengthen, align, and level the buckled panels. 

For more information on fixing buckling or preventing it, contact us today. 

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Parliament Building Supplies

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