PG(SC) asked at the end of another thread, for more info on finished OSB floors. So, I decided to start a new thread.
When this type floor was mentioned before, it was ridiculed by someone - so since we've already heard it, you just go on to the next thread, please.
This is info for anybody who might want to consider it.
I had "pros" (the same guys who did wall framing) install it.
In spite of my explanation that it would be the finished floor, so be careful, etc- they were not so much. Ex: They put a big chip on the edge of the sheet right at the front door, not all seams were aligned well/tightly, quite a few screws were not all the way in/perfectly straight - so that an edge was above the surface. Next time, I would lay it myself.
I filled imperfections (uneven joints)with plastic wood, cracks with beige caulk. I first filled the long joint cracks with wood filler, but it worked loose - so caulk ended up working much better at the joints, since it can expand & contract.
Some of these repairs are a bit too big for my taste in places, but mostly blend in. Same color as many of the wood pieces in the OSB. Sheets were screwed down (not T&G, but that would be fine), with screws just below the surface. When filled with plastic wood, they disappear into the OSB pattern of flecks & pieces.
The most difficult part was sanding off the black lines that normally act as nailing guides - the ink is down in the nooks & crannies. I used a rectangular-shaped floor buffer type machine for sanding with a very course grit. Ended up with a hand sander & very course grit to focus on and remove the lines, then smoothed it all over with the big machine. I only went up to 120 grit (from 38), which is fine.
I finished it with 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane. I chose oil, because it is most durable, and it gives a bit of an amber color without needing to use stain first. I just like the more natural color - but, of course any stain could be used, if desired. Lightly sanded between coats with 220 sandpaper.
I've seen this floor before, but this is my first time using it. If I do it again, I think I would do these things differently:
>Lay it myself, carefully driving each screw straight & just below the surface- the first time.
>Do not install baseboard until after - due to the difficulty of sanding off lines & not being able to get them all right at the very edge, without messing up the baseboard.
>I would seriously consider purposely leaving SMALL, EVEN gaps between the sheets for expansion - and caulk them all. This would create a purposeful geometric (staggered brick pattern) design on the floor that I (personally) think would look cool/modern.
Most of the way through this reno, I planned to keep it as a rental, but now it's for sale. This floor would definitely be good in a (especially lower-end) rental. Any future nicks or other damage would be easy to camouflage, and can refinish easily with one more coat of poly. And they would have to work pretty hard to get through the poly.
One thing is still unknown: How an appraiser will view it. Since it is uncommon as of yet, they may not like it as a "finished" floor. I think it will depend on the individual appraiser. Hopefully, they will accept it after I point out & prove it is NOT the subfloor - you can see the wood subfloor from underneath. If not, I can loose-lay the cheapest sheet vinyl just to make them happy for the inspection.
First potential buyer viewed it today and liked it.
Cost per s.f. depends on the current cost of OSB, screws & Poly - and whether you do it yourself (like I did) or not.