Inadequate Panel Spacing – a common but costly mistake.

Ambient Temperatures and moisture conditions cause a constant state of expansion and contraction in every substance there is, whether solid, liquid or gas. This explains why bridges have expansion joints, why sidewalks have expansion joints and why you have to space structural panels such as OSB and plywood by 1/8” at joints to give them a chance to move as conditions change.

Improper Spacing Makes the Top 10

Spacing panels 1/8” should be a basic fact of life for builders and their crews. But according to the APA (the Engineered Wood Association) a lot of builders and their framing crews don’t know or realize just how important spacing really is. The APA spends a significant amount of time doing field inspections all over the country. It compiled a top 10 list of common mistakes that builders make and presented them at the International Builders Show earlier this year. Incorrect spacing is one of the leaders and is responsible for wavy, buckling OSB and plywood sheathing on roofs and walls right across the nation and we all know that means siding, roofing and flooring problems.

Insist on 1/8” Increments

It’s a shame that something as simple as proper spacing can cause so many costly headaches. Whether the requirement for 1/8” spacing it’s not known, forgotten or even worse ignored, not providing the proper spacing makes everyone look bad, the builder, the site superintendent, the framer, the dealer and the panel manufacturer. We can’t point a finger at someone else and say education is your job because we all have to share that responsibility so when you see a floor, a wall, or a roof being sheathed, insist 1/8” spacing be left between the panels. It will save everyone time and money (your money). Callbacks are expensive so let’s reduce them. The panels are sized to allow for this spacing and a 10d nail makes an easy and great 1/8” spacing guide. It’s so easy to do this one right – just space the panels 1/8”.

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