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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / OSB smell or dampness?
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# Posted: 7 Oct 2010 19:50

Hi, I recently bought a small 12x16 cabin that has OSB on the interior walls, ceiling and floor (I put laminate flooring down over that). I don't like the look of the OSB and not sure it is what I smell or if it's just damp in there. Wondering if I should #1 remove all osb and put in paneling, tongue and groove stuff or can I leave it and just go over it?

#2 I also want to vault the ceiling to make it feel and look bigger. Do I have to put a ridge vent in or could I get away with a few of the circular vents? Currently there is not venting in the attic, so I assume that has contributed to the smell. I do leave a window cracked when not there, but no power to leave heater on.

Thanks for any advice

Gary O
# Posted: 7 Oct 2010 20:20


I've built and inherited a few small buildings, and the usual problem (especially in rain country) is moisture from the exterior, then the element of time and poor or no venting.
OSB is used quite a bit in the building trade, and I'd be surprised if it was the culprit unless it was damp and moldy.

Your attic sounds like the main cause, since it's not vented.
Is your roofing looking healthy? No leaks?

In your case, even though sacrificing storage space, I too would vault the ceiling, if for nothing but aesthetics sake.

OSB is a tad insightly, and I've even used cedar fence material, with battens to tidy up interiors (for a rough cabin like effect).

Hope any or some of this helps you

Gary O'

# Posted: 8 Oct 2010 02:16

Thanks Gary,

The roof looks pretty good. It's composite shingles and I think the building is about 4-5 years old.

Another ventilation issue I assume is that the previous owner put some metal skirting around the cabin (it's on piers) to keep critters out I assume, but no venting with that either. It's just a solid piece of sheet metal surrounding the crawl space. I bought 4 small screened soffit vents to cut into the skirting. Oh yeah, no soffit vents either, so I guess I need to put those in as well.

Would you suggest removing the OSB anyway before putting whatever wall/ceiling paneling in?

Another smell issue could be the mice nest in the attic. There were a few up there making a home in the insulation, but seem to be gone now along with the carpenter ants.


Gary O
# Posted: 8 Oct 2010 19:14

I'd still be concerned with the roof, due to the shoddy construction in the other areas. Any signs of leaks or dampness in the attic side of the roof?
Yeah, remove the mouse leavings and nests for sure.

If your OSB is in good shape, I'd leave it in tact (just that much more R factor).

And you're right on with the vents in the skirting.
I'd go with the ridge vents too.

Do you have pix? I'd love to see what you're dealing with.

Gary O'

# Posted: 12 Oct 2010 21:03

I have never liked the looks of OSB, and the smell from it also. Plywood at the time i did my cabin was only $3 a sheet difference. I didnt use a single piece of OSB. And I hate particle board even more, ie sawdust wood.

# Posted: 12 Oct 2010 22:29

For the smell, try using "coffee bombs". Take some old panty hose cut in 12" sections, tie knot in 1 end, fill with fresh el cheapo coffee grounds, tie knot. Place these around your cabin for a week or so.

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