Zip System Wall and Roof Sheathing — Keep the Job Dry and Kiss House Wraps Goodbye

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zip-system-close-upZip System by Huber Engineered Woods takes construction to the next level. Wall and roof sheathing (panels) are resin coated for maximum air and water resistance and have a high R-value (thermal resistance value).  That means low heat loss and a very energy efficient product. The panels install quickly and joints are sealed with Zip flashing tape — that's it. The system is designed to eliminate the need for house wraps or roofing felt.  Take a look at the picture at the left – you can what it looks like up close. The sheathing is an OSB (oriented strand board), coated with a water resistant, threaded resin layer. The panels are pre-marked with a fastening guide for error-free installation. Roof sheathing is red and wall sheathing is green, just in case you've somehow overlooked the large, black lettered warnings "Wall Use Only" and "Roof Use Only" stamped all over each panel.

Zip System wall panels on an addition.

The Zip Tape (a flexible flashing tape) is about 3 ½” wide and seals the joints between panels. It’s been put through some pretty rigorous testing to ensure it’ll hold up to even the most extreme environmental conditions, hence the 30-year warranty on tape and panels. But… here’s the real beauty of Zip System: Not only does it provide a solution to how to keep the interior of the structure dry during the framing process (a huge plus, especially in the case of additions), but it allows you to side, shingle, or apply whichever building product you’re using directly over it. The Zip System eliminates the need for house wraps and felt. (Not to mention the oh-so-effective use of giant plastic tarps duct taped and nailed over the build-in-progress.)

With that said, I know of at least one prominent builder in my area who still insists on using Tyvek over the Zip System as a super back-up measure – I may have previously mentioned the wind we get around here – even though Huber makes panels specifically for high wind zones.

A closer view.

Multiple Panel Sizes and Specs for Your Building Project

Wall Panel Dimensions:

Thickness – 7/16″  Sizes – 4′ x 8′, 4′ x 9′, 4′ x 10′

Thickness – 1/2″ Size – 4′ x 8′

Special panel lengths are now available for high wind zone applications – 4′ x 97-1/8″, 4′ x 109-1/8″, 4′ x 121-1/8″

Roofing Panel Dimensions:

½” self-spacing profile

5/8″ self-spacing profile

5/8″ tongue and groove profile

Back side of Zip System wall panel (OSB).

Tricks to Proper Installation

There are a few tricks to proper installation, a big one being that the nails should NOT be sunk into the panel, but rather should be flush with the surface. (My better half can attest to this. He and his partner weren’t so careful about this particular detail and ended up with some minor water seepage.) Here is a more comprehensive read for installation tips.

You can easily estimate the cost for your building project and locate Zip System at a retailer near you.

Photo of author

About Liz

Liz is a professional, custom picture framer based in Central New York. She and her contractor husband are currently renovating their second home together. At the time of this writing, they are not on speaking terms. Her love of making stuff with wood and DIY home projects began by watching her Dad. (It was also around this time Liz's incessant use of "colorful language" took root.) She's an avid gardener, stellar cook and doesn't throw like a girl: an all-around rad chick.

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