OSB Board vs MDF Board vs Plywood – What’s The Difference?

There are many different types of building materials available. Three of these can cause some confusion: OSB, MDF and plywood. Some people think that these three boards are the exact same thing. This is not the case actually.


OSB Board

OSB, oriented strand board, is an engineered wood particle board that is formed by adding adhesives and then compressing the wood flakes together.

osb board

OSB board

MDF Board

MDF, medium density fiberboard, is an engineered wood product that is created by the breaking down of wood residuals into fibers and then combining it with wax and resin to form panels.

mdf board

MDF board


Plywood is a sheet of manufactured material that was formed from thin layers of wood veneer that are glues together, it is an engineered wood.





Difference Between OSB board, MDF board and Plywood

The differences among OSB board, MDF board and Plywood are shown in the below comparison table.



OSB Board

MDF Board



Rectangular shaped wood strands layered in specific orientation and combined together with wax and resin adhesive. Wood fibers got by breaking down hardwood and softwood residuals are combined using wax and resin and heat pressed. Thin sheets of veneer are glued together.


Outer layers are aligned parallel to the strength axis of the panel and inner layers are aligned perpendicular to the axis. Uniform, smooth and free of knots and grain patterns. Odd number of layers with grains of adjacent layers at right angles to each other. Face veneers are higher grade than the core veneers.


Roofs, Walls, Subflooring. Cabinet construction, crafts, Moldings/trim work, shelving and bookshelf siding. Roofs, Walls, Subfloors, Boxes, Packages, Sports equipment, Musical equipment, Playground equipment, High-end loud speakers.


Although many people assume that OSB, MDF and plywood are the same thing, they are different in their construction, uses and strength. They are all engineered woods that are used in construction projects but they are not interchangeable. Contractors and carpenters are able to guide you in deciding which boards would be best for the project you have in mind. Most home improvement stores will have people to help you better understand what each of these boards would be used for.




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