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1/4″ plywood wall sheathing instead of 7/16 OSB?

mikeysp | Posted in General Questions on

Hi. I have a bunch of 1/4″ plywood available and thought: why not use it for exterior wall sheathing instead of my original plan of 7/16 OSB?

I am in zone 4a. 

I will be covering it with 2″ foam, housewrap, 1x verticals for rain screen, and lap siding.

Thank you.


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  1. Expert Member
    Peter Yost | | #1

    All structural sheathing panels have an APA rating:

    I suppose that even a 1/4-inch plywood panel has shear contribution but note that the APA referenced above has a table that STARTS at 3/3-inch thickness.


  2. Expert Member


    The first place to start is y0ur building code. Ours wouldn't allow 1/4" as sheathing.

    On a practical level 1/4" yields several difficulties.
    - I'm not sure an air-nailer will fasten it to the studs without overdriving,
    - The resulting sheathing, even with 16"0c backing, will be quite wavy. That's a problem in particular if you intend to tape the seams.
    - You can't nail trim or anything else to it and expect it to stay put.

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