Professional Builder discovers how MEDITE SMARTPLY is taking OSB to the next level.
PB: There can’t be too many builders out there now who haven’t encountered Oriented Strand Board (OSB) in the workplace, but we suspect to the uninitiated, one eight by four sheet tends to look like any other. Can you help to dispel this common misconception?
MEDITE: OSB is undoubtedly one of great success stories of innovation for the construction sector in all its guises and has been around since the late 1970s. It was originally conceived as an alternative to imported plywood, and early on it was mostly favoured for boarding up derelict old buildings and general hoarding applications. However, we’ve come a long way since then. Thanks to massive investment in new manufacturing processes as well as advances in composition and formulation processes, OSB panels, such as our smartply version can now do so much more. From flame retardant to super strength and even airtight, OSB can be effectively deployed across a whole host of construction projects from roofing, sarking and flooring to timber frame builds and low energy conservation projects.
PB: Whenever engineered boards are discussed, the subject of formaldehyde tends to rear its head. What are the facts about working with these boards in confined spaces and any issues concerned with subsequent dust inhalation?
MEDITE: A lot is currently being said in the marketplace right now about zero added formaldehyde, but our boards have actually been meeting this requirement since 2001 so it’s great the industry as a whole is now seeing this as the gold standard. In fact, as well as meeting E1 European standards, as of 2010 all MEDITE MDF products have been tested and approved as being fully CARB2 (California Air Resources Board) compliant – that’s one of the most stringent formaldehyde tests in the world. The manufacturing sites in Clonmel and Waterford in Eire feature the very latest production technology to deliver straighter, flatter and more consistent boards than ever before in a range of sizes and thicknesses, unparalleled within the sector.
OSB3 is our standard offering, designed for use in humid conditions and therefore ideal for many structural and non-structural applications in both internal and protected external environments. This may include roofing, flooring, wall sheathing and site hoarding.
A flame-retardant version of this board (smartply FR) is also offered, developed in response to the Structural Timber Association’s Design Guide to separating distances during construction for timber frame buildings above 600m2 total floor area. A water-based eco-friendly flame-retardant solution is added during the production process, which means the panel can be cut, fixed, or otherwise altered without breaking the integrity of the CE mark, or flame retardance – it’s pretty unique.
The range also includes what we believe is a world first: smartply Propassive . This structural panel contains an integrated vapour control and air barrier for use as a structural sheathing in timber frame structures. As the move to more modern methods of construction continues to take on ever greater significance, we feel this product will become more important.
At the same time to meet the more exacting demands of site hoarding, Siteprotect is pre-coated with a smooth, heavy duty, cross linked polymer primer, making it ideal for use in a wide range of both temporary hoarding and more permanent site security applications. It’s moisture resistant OSB qualities means that it won’t delaminate as quickly as most standard ply, which is a real issue.
Completing the range is Pattress Plus, developed in response to the increasing popularity of c-stud drywall partitions. This OSB3 panel incorporates a continuous recess to accommodate ‘C’ shaped metal studs and meets all the latest standards relating to anchorage and pull out fixing tests. It’s really quick to install and saves installers cutting on site: no excess dust, reduced noise from less power tools, less hassle.
PB: An impressive line-up certainly, but we understand you also offer an offer an OSB4 engineered wood panel?
MEDITE: This is a high-performance panel suitable for more demanding applications in offsite manufacturing and construction. It is manufactured using Controll technology where wood strands are precisely bonded using a formaldehyde-free method, contributing to the panel’s moisture resistance. Panels are pressed to dimensions of up to 2.8m wide by 7.5m long, with a maximum thickness of up to 40mm. We believe it’ll be the new standard OSB in years to come: watch this space!
PB: We won’t look at a humble OSB sheet in the same way ever again!
MEDITE: The standard OSB panel has certainly evolved tremendously from those early days, but the education process continues. We have to make sure the end user always selects the right board for their particular application and to that end our technical experts are constantly looking at new solutions and improvements for the product. Environmental pressures are also increasing and builders have the reassurance of knowing that all the timber we use comes from FSC and PEFC certified, managed forests. To secure this future, the Coillte group plants millions of trees each year (19 million in 2016) and owns approximately 7 per cent of the Eire land mass. We like to think MEDITE SMARTPLY is a natural choice in more ways than one!