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When you have a construction project, the importance of the integrity of the exterior building envelope can’t be overstated. The construction industry has come a long way in terms of building envelope technology since tar paper was considered the gold standard. Two relatively recent innovations, AdvanTech and ZIP System, have taken innovative new approaches to building envelope design and installation. Here’s a quick look at each technology, the strengths and weaknesses of each and in what situations they work best.


Over the past few years, the AdvanTech brand has made a name for itself in its strong, moisture-resistant subflooring systems. Now the company has branched out into wall sheathing and roof decking. AdvanTech FlooringIt’s designed to provide an unheard of 500-day weather resistance for longer projects that require more time for drying in. It’s also rated to structural 1 levels by providing 10% higher shear strength than similar competitors, making it a great option for high winds, snow loads, rain, ice and seismic loads. Designed to meet ESR-1785 standards, it provides industry-leading stiffness, strength, and fastener-holding capability. This package is all wrapped up with a limited lifetime warranty.

The largest drawback to the AdvanTech specialty sheathing system for most homeowners or contractors is the cost. Though it provides superior protection of the structure, many people aren’t willing to deal with the premium required for the upgrade. Generally speaking, AdvanTech runs about 50% higher than regular OSB, though the price difference doesn’t take into account the cost of a separate building wrap product.

ZIP System

ZIP System was developed to help builders consolidate steps in creating the building envelope. It combines the steps of installing the sheathing and weatherization barrier by integrating the weatherization barrier into the surface of the sheathing, only requiring tape to complete the barrier system.ZIP System Installation The membrane acts to prevent the movement of moisture and air through the barrier. The tape used in the system is designed to provide superior flexibility, making it a great choice around corners, sills, wall penetrations and curves. Because the system includes roof decking options to create a continuous weather barrier, it qualifies for Fortified Home standards. The system, properly installed, qualifies for a 30-year warranty.

ZIP System shares at least one disadvantage with AdvanTech – the higher price. It also runs about 50% higher than regular OSB, but that figure does not take into account the cost of a separate building wrap system. Another area of concern for many contractors is that with the incorporation of the weatherization barrier, every fastener that pierces the surface of a ZIP System panel creates a potential source of water or air infiltration through the barrier that leads directly to the sheathing beneath it. There is also some concern that damage to the panels from regular knocks on a construction site requires patching to regain its integrity.

These two specialty sheathing products provide you with a wide range of options while helping to reduce your overall workload. However, it’s important to understand the limitations and advantages of each system to make the best possible choice for your project’s demands. If you need help finding the perfect specialty sheathing for your project, Poulin Lumber is here to help. Please feel free to contact one of our experienced associates today for more information, with any questions or to get a quote on these dynamic sheathing materials.

P.S – Download our AdvanTech & ZIP System Product Brochure below for even more details on each product and how they could benefit your building project.

AdvanTech and ZIP System Product Brochure