Many older homes don't have exterior insulation, and adding continuous exterior insulation helps prevent thermal bridging where cavity insulation can't — at the studs. By helping prevent this excess heat loss, continuous exterior insulation helps increase the overall energy efficiency of the home. One of my clients started adding insulation to his older home himself using a two-step process: installing 1-inch foil-faced rigid insulation followed by a layer of 7/16-inch ZIP System® wall sheathing. When we started working with him, we knew there was a faster way: use ZIP System® R-sheathing and tape. We ended up completing two projects with this customer, using ZIP System R-sheathing and tape in two different applications: over the original exterior sheathing for his primary home and as a replacement for the original exterior sheathing on a lake cabin.
Option 1: Add ZIP System® Sheathing and Tape Over Original Exterior Sheathing
With Zip System® R-sheathing, the insulation is factory-applied to the ZIP System® sheathing, so we could reduce thermal bridging with fewer installation steps than the alternative method the homeowner was using, all while preserving the bones of the old home. We added the layer of ZIP System R-sheathing on top, replaced the old windows and replaced the finish with a new vinyl siding, for which ZIP System R-sheathing provided a nailable base.
"With ZIP System R-sheathing, the insulation is factory-applied to the ZIP System sheathing, so we could reduce thermal bridging with fewer installation steps." - Jeremy Kassel, Remodeler
Option 2: Demolish the Original Exterior Sheathing and Replace with ZIP System R-Sheathing
The same customer also has a lake cabin he is updating into a more refined cottage. It was built in the 1950s as a hunting cabin, so it started out very rustic. Previous work to the cabin was subpar, and the building was left in bad shape. The wall sheathing was rotting and damaged, as was some of the framing.
Having witnessed the benefits of using ZIP System R-sheathing and tape on his home, he requested that we also use it for this reconstruction work on his cabin. In contrast to the home project where we could preserve the original wall, we had to completely remove and reconstruct the worst wall on one side of the two-story cabin. We were able to use the ZIP System R-sheathing and tape for both the continuous insulation of and the primary structural component for the exterior cabin wall. The ZIP System R-sheathing and tape products added insulation to the finished wall assembly, structural durability via the exterior engineered wood panel, and an exterior water-resistive barrier to help prevent the kind of moisture damage that previously affected the integrity of the cabin.
Exterior Renovation and Remodel Results
Using ZIP System R-sheathing panels and tape is a streamlined, effective method for moisture, air and thermal management. With ZIP System™ tape, you just apply and roll. We're confident in the ZIP System® products' performance over time to keep water out. And we definitely enjoy the benefit of not using housewrap. Handling housewrap is unpleasant and at times can be unsafe. We have now used ZIP System R-sheathing in multiple remodeling projects with great results. We are huge fans, as are the end users — our happy customers.