Reduce Buckling in Wood Sheathing Panels

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Reduce Buckling in Wood Sheathing Panels

If you have ever seen a roof or a wood panel that has areas that look as if an air bubble has formed beneath it, you’d know that it is an aesthetic disaster.

This unpleasant occurrence is called buckling, and it’s common in Plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) roofs and panels.

Buckling is the bending or bowing of wood panels. Buckling occurs due to changes in moisture content. As you know, wood expands and contracts. If there’s no space for the wood to move, it causes the panel to either bow in or out.

If you are building a new home or are redesigning your existing one, then your building contractor and building supplies company should consider a few simple tips recommended by the APA (American Plywood Association) that will help avoid buckling.

The Design

There are two ways to tackle the potential buckling problems with regard to the design of the build.

  1. Panel Spacing

    Panel spacing is the easiest way to prevent buckling when you are building a new home. According to the APA, it’s recommended that there must be a gap of at least 1/8 inch between panels. Contractors generally use a #10 penny box nail as a rule of thumb while installing OSB or plywood panels. This space allows the panels to expand or contract without causing buckling. Your building supplies manufacturer can shed more light on this.
  2. Acclimatize the Building Materials

    The second way to help prevent buckling is to let the wooden panels acclimatize to their new environment before installing them. However, you must ensure that if the panels are stored on site during the construction process, they are completely covered. If the wood panels are exposed to direct moisture, they will expand too rapidly, which can cause major issues.

Speak to your contractor to ensure that the panels are installed according to local building codes.

Repairing Without Removing the Roof

So how do you prevent buckling without uninstalling the roof?

To control moisture in an attic and crawl space, you must check the ventilation. Any adequately ventilated space will not have moisture build up as it allows the damp and moldy air to move out.

It is recommended that the adequate ventilation without the installation of a vapor barrier is 1 sq foot for almost 150 sq ft of attic space. You should also check to see if your blocking or bridging interferes with the movement of air in these spaces.

Additionally, examine the vents in your attic and soffit. Install baffling to ensure that the vent openings are not clogged by the insulation. Fixtures should also be sealed correctly.

Lastly, ensure that all appliances are vented to the outside, not to the crawl space or the attic. A licensed roofing contractor will be able to make the apt suggestions after checking your attic space.

With effective moisture control, you can prevent buckling in the wood sheathing panels easily.


Correcting Existing Warped Panels

The following techniques can be used to correct existing warped panels:

  • Saw-cut the ends of structural panels. This helps relieve pressure and also creates a gap that allows the panels space to expand in the future.
  • The buckled areas can be strengthened with wood blocking.
  • A panel clip can be used to level and align the buckled panels

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

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