ZIP System Sheathing Review

By Todd Fratzel on Building Materials, Framing

picture of ZIP System SheathingI’ve written several posts about the new ZIP System sheathing products from Huber Engineered Woods. This exciting new product combines the benefits of Advantech sheathing with a built in vapor and moisture barrier. We have been using the ZIP System roof sheathing and the ZIP System wall sheathing for this new ranch style home.

As you can see in the photo the two ZIP System sheathing products have different colors to differentiate them. The roof sheathing is a brownish orange color while the wall sheathing is a nice green color. The wall panels are a 7/16″ OSB structural panel and the roof is a 5/8″ thick tongue and groove structural panel.

picture of ZIP System SheathingOnce all the panels are installed you simply tape all the joints with a special tape from ZIP. Then you use a special roller to put pressure on the tape to make it adhere correctly. Once all the tape is finished you’ve created a “dried-in” building to work in. This product totally eliminates the need for a building wrap such as Tyvek and also a roof paper such as Roof Guard.

The ZIP System has worked very well. After the roof was taped it rained quite a bit. We only had a couple of drips inside and that was due to poor installation of the tape. Once we went back up on the roof and fixed the tape the water leaks stopped. Now we can just install the shingles directly on top of the ZIP System roof sheathing.

All and all I think the ZIP System is great. First of all I’m a huge fan of the Advantech floor sheathing products, especially how well it performs in a wet environment. The crew has loved working with this new product and it saves quite a bit of time not having to wrap the house with house wrap. I also think this product will drastically improve air infiltration performance for this new Energy Star home.

Check out other posts about the ZIP System:

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Steve Hall says:

    How do you properly flash a window using Zip Wall? Also is 2-3 perms enough for the wall to breath?

    • Todd says:

      @ Steve – You flash the wall just as you normally would with self adhering flashing. They actually recommend you use the same tape that is used to seal the panels. Not really sure breathing is all that necessary with this product. It’s the same type of material as the AdvanTech sheathing that is very good in wet conditions.

  2. Kate Fife says:

    Do you think this is a good product if the outside application is traditional stucco? Thanks Kate

  3. Jim R says:

    How well does this work with brick?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Fine so long as you maintain normal drain planes, flashing, etc that you’d use with any wood framed building.

  4. Sean W says:

    During the installation process nails are used to fasten the sheathing to the framing. Should you seal around the nail heads? Do the nail penetrations affect the moisture and vapor barriers?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Sean – ZIP has a very specific spec on this. The bottom line….penetration determines if additional flashing is needed. If the fasteners are installed correctly there is no problem. Check out their webpage for info.

  5. Colby says:


    I am about ready to take off on a large project, and doing it solo. 16’x28′ 2 story addition..

    My concern is with the subfloor of the second level.

    First level is a concrete floor/block foundation, and the second level floor system is near complete.

    Now ready to move forward to installing OSB sheathing on the floor, I am hesitant to jumping right in because it’s late April in Pennsylvania, which means we have an unpredictable forecast, and have seen some rain lately.

    My first thought was the Zip system, but that was prior to doing some research, learning that it’s only intended for roofing/wall applications..

    So the main dilemma is how to preserve the osb deck until it’s dried in. Do you have any recommendations, or trade tricks that don’t involve building temporary slopes to drape plastic sheathing over? I would consider this route, but I’m 25′ in the air, working alone.. So attaching plastic and it actually staying in place is a whole other obstacle.

    Thanks for any feedback!

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Use AdvanTech…it’s the only product we use and it works amazing…no worries about getting wet at all.

  6. Wendy says:

    HI, I live in FL and we are looking at Dream Finders Homes to build. I have never heard of them although they seam like they manufacture a good product. Time will always give you the best answer!
    They use the ZIP system, and again have not heard of this product.
    Floridia is a very humid state and since we are unsure of the product, was wondering if you have pros and cons about it. Also what are your thoughts on thermal barrier to be used at the roof?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      ZIP System is a great product, one we’ve used on dozens of new homes. We are based in the Northeast, so I’d recommend reaching out to ZIP on their website and asking them about how it performs in your climate. Good luck!

  7. J Quintin says:

    I like the Georgia Pacific Force Field better, the force field tape no rolling and can tear with hands, save labor costs,

  8. Thom says:

    Don’t use Zip System. It leakes horribly. We had to Tyvak anyway to stop all the leakes.

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Leaks? Sounds like someone didn’t tape it properly (roller), and, whatever was over it from siding wasn’t properly flashed.

  9. Lawrence DiPietro says:

    My experience is that the Zip system looks as well.

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