For builders, the sheathing process for residential construction is a vital step to ensuring a weathertight home. Structural sheathing helps support the house frame and serves as a vehicle for siding, brick, stucco, and other cladding materials to be attached to the exterior. Builders who have historically used oriented strand board (OSB) for structural sheathing are now feeling the pain of sky-high lumber costs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Luckily, there is an alternative, a structural sheathing material that offers stable pricing, lightweight design, an integrated water-resistive barrier (WRB), and a best-in-class air barrier: ThermoPLY by OX Engineered Products.
Steady as She Goes
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted industries of all kinds, and residential construction is no exception. With lumber costs increasing significantly since April 2020, builders who have already signed contracts with owners are losing thousands of dollars per job as the materials they once budgeted for are now up by as much as 80 percent.
Compare that to the price stability of options outside the commodity lumber market, such as ThermoPLY structural sheathing.
For builders, the price stability and consistency that OX offers is a value proposition versus the weekly fluctuations in OSB prices.
One and Done
During the residential construction process, time is money. The more efficient building teams are, the higher their margins and the quicker they can move on to the next job.
OX ThermoPLY’s high-performance integrated WRB allows construction teams to make a single pass around the structure to completely install the sheathing system, a one-and-done approach. With standard OSB and other materials, the structural sheathing layer must first be fastened to the studs. Then, a construction crew must make a second trip around the house to install house wrap or any other necessary components or barriers.
Another benefit to selecting ThermoPLY is that the product is much lighter in weight than OSB, simplifying jobsite handling, easing the burden of installation, and making that one single trip around the house even easier. ThermoPLY is also offered in custom sizes to meet the requirements of homes big and small.
As an example, ThermoPLY is manufactured in long sheets to accommodate installation for tall vertical walls. There is no upcharge (unlike OSB) for longer lengths such as 9- and 10-inch panels. This allows for vertical plate-to-plate installation and ultimately requires less labor and preparation time.
The Secret Ingredients
ThermoPLY is made from adhered layers of high-sized fibers and an extruded polyethylene layer that serves as the WRB. ThermoPLY panels are also much more pliable than standard structural sheathing materials. This flexibility allows them to significantly outperform OSB with regard to envelope leakage rates.
No wall is perfectly straight. ThermoPLY’s pliability allows it to follow the wall to a much closer degree than a sheet of rigid OSB can. With ThermoPLY, installers are able to get a tighter seal to the studs, providing a boost in weathertightness compared to alternative products and installation methods.
ThermoPLY is either butted together and taped at the seams or overlapped and fastened to studs. With the overlap installation method (using 48-3/4” panels instead of 48”), sealing tape is not required.
In addition, its 1/8” thickness and fastening using staples (preferred attachment method) effectively seals the entire home to a greater degree than is possible with OSB sheathing.
ThermoPLY is a proven structural sheathing solution that has been used for the past 50 years on more than five-million homes. The product’s performance and price stability have made it the preferred structural sheathing for builders throughout the country. In fact, every top ten builder in the United States is currently utilizing ThermoPLY for residential construction jobs.
ThermoPLY also comes with a 30-year system warranty when installed with OX seam and flashing tapes and following approved installation methods. This means builders must also use these recommended flashing tapes for inside and outside corners to ensure the ultimate seal. When proper installation practices are used, the warranty for the homeowner is tough to beat, as it is inclusive of the air barrier, water-resistive barrier, material, and labor.
The Proof Is in the Product
No other structural sheathing product delivers a more innovative, high-performance, and cost-effective solution for residential construction than ThermoPLY. The product:
- Eliminates the need for house wrap and associated materials and labor.
- Weighs less, reducing on-site construction time by one to three days.
- Offers stable pricing and reduced material costs.
- Delivers the ultimate structural sheathing performance with increased moisture and mold resistance, and a superior moisture and vapor barrier.
Taken together, these advantages stretch well beyond the construction site. They also provide value to the homeowner in a house that is better protected from the elements and ready to stand the test of time.