Plywood has been around since the Egyptians first used it in royalty’s sarcophaguses. Plywood has come a long way since being made from papyrus reeds. Today’s Modern plywood’s are made from fewer trees than before and in the case of OSB (oriented strand board) it uses glues and scrap wood to create some of the strongest plywood available. But before you lay down the first piece in your next home improvement project, use these tips and techniques for plywood layout basics.
Depending upon the application your going to use it, plywood can be laid out in several different ways. Roofing for instance is the easiest. It lays out on a 24″ center. Hanging plywood on walls can be a little trickier and requires 16″ on center layouts. Know your applications measurements before you begin.
Plywood on roofing trusses or joists is one of the easiest layouts for plywood. Trusses and joists all fall on a 24″ layout, unless it is a snow load, then it lays out on a 19 1/8″ spacing.
Attach the first sheet of plywood onto a starting point like a hip truss or 4′ in from a gable end. Make sure the truss is as straight and level as possible then attach each end. Push the trusses or joists as needed to fit in the center of each end of the plywood. Nail the two bottom corners first, then the two top corners. Pull the measurement across the top hooking the first truss and mark the layout.
Always use the same layout truss to keep an accurate plywood layout.
Attaching plywood to the outside of a stud frame building can be a little trickier. The starting point is typically a corner of a wall. Studs should be on a ¾” setback from center. This allows the studs to break flush on the first corner with the plywood while the remaining studs are on center.
OSB and some plywood have nailing marks already on them. However they are almost always wrong or off and should never be trusted. Create your own plywood layout by hooking your tape to the corner of the wall. Now find the 16″ on center marks. Don’t mark it on each 16″ line. Instead go back ¾” on each mark for a perfect stud plywood layout every time.