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 with an 1/8” gap at joints to give them …
When installing structural panels, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also liaise with your design professional and consult The Engineered Wood Association (APA) guide E30V which you can download here. We have included some tips to keep in mind when installing OSB wood structural panels.
Expansion and contraction of your flooring system is a given. Because they are manufactured from different materials or different kinds of the same material, your flooring and substrate will expand and contract at different rates. Expansion joints give your flooring the space it needs to expand without buckling or cracking.
Using expansion joints allows your flooring and sub-flooring to expand without affecting the look and feel of your floors.
Plywood and OSB paneling expands and contracts as it adjusts to the moisture content of the building site. Unrestrained by fastening and framing, panels can move an average of 1/8 inch as they acclimatize. Correct spacing of panels will help to make allowances for expansion and prevent buckling of walls, floors and roofs and gaps in the building envelope that will compromise energy efficiency. “Energy savings start with the framing.”