Sheathing in construction, its types and material used in it

Articles > Sheathing in construction, its types and material used in it

Use of Sheathing in Civil Engineering:

Speaking generally, the sheathing is a protective or decorative cover of a material, like a sheathing of a sword, a sheathing of a blade, and a sheathing of surgical instruments. In construction and civil engineering, sheathing is the term used for a covering sheet or board and panels that are used to cover the floor, walls, and roofs and ceiling of buildings. The outer sheathing is aimed at providing strength to the structure. It also provides weather resistance to the building. Sheathing may consist of boards and panels of plywood, timber, gypsum, marble, and oriented strand board. The sheathing panels are stuck to the surface with the help of adhesive material or by means of nails. 

Purpose of Sheathing:

  1. The exterior sheathing helps to protect the building from entering water and moisture into the wall structure.
  2. External marble or gypsum sheathing also protects the building from weathering and erosion of the wall and roof surface.
  3. The sheathing is installed for decorative purposes and to make the building look charming.
  4. Roof sheathing protects the roof from seeping rainwater through the roof.
  5. Sheathing crosses over the joints of the bricks, thus giving the construction of the wall extra strength.
  6. The use of Sheathing in the wooden building is rack-resistant and protects the building from tilting.
  7. Sheathing adds the structural integrity of framing in wooden buildings.
  8. Sheathing provides compressive and tensile stress, which is helpful in protecting against seismic waves.
  9. Sheathing resists heat and cold conductivity through the walls and roof of the building.
  10. Sheathing saves the costs of plastering. Many builders install sheathing on the rough surfaces of walls, floors, and roofs without plastering them.
  11. Sheathing saves the labor cost. A large number of labor is not needed in sheathing work as compared to plastering, whitewash, and paints.
  12. Sheathing saves the cost of paint and coloring.

Material Used in Sheathing:

There are a lot of types of materials used in the sheathing. The most common materials used in sheathing are timber/lumber, plywood, gypsum, marble, glazed ceramic tiles, and oriented strand boards (OSB). 

Types of Sheathing:

There are three types of sheathing.

  1. Floor Sheathing
  2. Roof Sheathing
  3. Wall Sheathing

(1). Floor Sheathing:

Floor sheathing means the coverage of the floor surface of the building with sheathing panels, like glazed ceramic tiles, timber and plywood panels, marble, gypsum, and other types of stones. Floor sheathing is installed generally with a material of high strength and turgidity, as the floor is meant for bearing a load. The floor sheathing is made to protect the slippery action. The surface of the sheathing is slightly rough, so that walkers may not slip.

(2). Roof Sheathing:

The interior sheathing of the roof is called a false ceiling. The false ceiling is generally installed with a light weighted material, like timber/lumber, plywood, and plaster of Paris. The sole purpose of the false ceiling is to decorate and provide charm to the interior of the building.

The exterior sheathing of the roof is covered with the sheathing material made up of wooden panels, glazed ceramic tiles, marble, and gypsum, etc. The sole purpose of the external sheathing of the roof is to strengthen the roof and to protect it from water seepage.

(3). Wall Sheathing:

The purpose of the wall sheathing is both decorative and protective. The interior of the walls is sheathed to decorate the interior of the building, while the exterior of the wall is sheathed to decorate as well as to protect is from weathering. Another purpose of the wall sheathing is to reduce the heat and cold conductivity. In a wooden building, the wall sheathing made up of plywood and timber is installed, while in concrete and masonry buildings the wall sheathings are of many types. For example, the interior of the concrete/ masonry building may be covered with plywood panels, timber plates, and ceramic and stone tiles, while the external surface of the walls is covered by sheathing it with marble, stone, and glazed ceramic tiles.   

Types of Sheathing with regard to material used in it:

Sheathing in construction can be classified into the following types regarding its material.

(1). Timber/Lumber Sheathing:

The wood obtained from the tree trunks and branches is called timber. In the USA it is known as Lumber. The timber/wooden panels and grooves are used as the sheathing material for buildings.

(2). Plywood Sheathing:

Plywood is an artificial substitute for timber and other natural wood. Plywood is made from thin sheets of wood stuck with one another by means of adhesive fluid. The thickness of plywood may vary according to its demand. Plywood is a very attractive material used as sheathing material. Plywood is of low cost and easy to install.

(3). Marble/ Stone Sheathing:

Another alternative to the above mentioned two types of sheathings is stone. Marble is also a kind of rock/stone. The ground stone is altered into thin tiles. These tiles are used as sheathing to the floor and walls of the building.

(4). Glazed Ceramic Tiles:

Glazed Ceramic Tiles are a very good and durable alternative of the naturally occurring marble and stone. These are made by heating the sand and clay under pressure. These tiles can be used as decorative and protective tools for a building.

(5). OSB (Oriented Strand Boards):

Oriented strand board is a type of engineered wood similar to particle board, formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands in specific orientations. It was invented by Armin Elmendorf in California in 1963.



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