Launch Slideshow

Huber Engineered Woods. ZIP System roof and wall sheathing feature built-in protective barriers. Along with ZIP SystemTape to seal the seams, the all-in-one panels eliminate the need for housewrap or felt, the company says, making the installation faster and easier than traditional materials. A stiffer, full-depth -inch roof sheathing board, the ZIP System roof sheathing panel requires no H clips as long as rafters are spaced at 24 inches or less. 800.933.9220. www.zipsystem.com.

Greening the Shell

A selection of 9 sheathing products.

Greening the Shell

A selection of 9 sheathing products.

  • Ainsworth. Thermastrand radiant barrier roof sheathing features an aluminum foil overlaid on micro-perforated OSB panels. The foil blocks up to 97% of the suns radiant energy, and the perforations control humidity buildup in the attic, the company says. According to the firm, the panels are twice as permeable as commodity OSB. The panels are Energy Starcertified and also carry certifications from SFI and/or the Canadian Standards Association. 604.661.3200. www.ainsworthengineered.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9A4%2Etmp_tcm131-309891.jpg

    true

    Ainsworth. Thermastrand radiant barrier roof sheathing features an aluminum foil overlaid on micro-perforated OSB panels. The foil blocks up to 97% of the suns radiant energy, and the perforations control humidity buildup in the attic, the company says. According to the firm, the panels are twice as permeable as commodity OSB. The panels are Energy Starcertified and also carry certifications from SFI and/or the Canadian Standards Association. 604.661.3200. www.ainsworthengineered.com.

    600

    Ainsworth. Thermastrand radiant barrier roof sheathing features an aluminum foil overlaid on micro-perforated OSB panels. The foil blocks up to 97% of the sun’s radiant energy, and the perforations control humidity buildup in the attic, the company says. According to the firm, the panels are twice as permeable as commodity OSB. The panels are Energy Star–certified and also carry certifications from SFI and/or the Canadian Standards Association. 604.661.3200. www.ainsworthengineered.com.

  • Dow. SIS Structural Insulated Sheathing combines a moisture-resistant blue foil outside face, a polyisocyanurate foam core, and structural sheathing. Builders can use -inch (R-3) panels to sheathe entire exteriors or 1-inch-thick (R-5.5) panels as shear panels on corners to match up with 1-inch foam sheathing on the rest of the exterior. Joints between panels are sealed with Weathermate tape. SIS panels contain 80% post-consumer recycled content and are Energy Starrated. 866.583.2583. www.dow.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9A6%2Etmp_tcm131-309905.jpg

    true

    Dow. SIS Structural Insulated Sheathing combines a moisture-resistant blue foil outside face, a polyisocyanurate foam core, and structural sheathing. Builders can use -inch (R-3) panels to sheathe entire exteriors or 1-inch-thick (R-5.5) panels as shear panels on corners to match up with 1-inch foam sheathing on the rest of the exterior. Joints between panels are sealed with Weathermate tape. SIS panels contain 80% post-consumer recycled content and are Energy Starrated. 866.583.2583. www.dow.com.

    600

    Dow. SIS Structural Insulated Sheathing combines a moisture-resistant blue foil outside face, a polyisocyanurate foam core, and structural sheathing. Builders can use ½-inch (R-3) panels to sheathe entire exteriors or 1-inch-thick (R-5.5) panels as shear panels on corners to match up with 1-inch foam sheathing on the rest of the exterior. Joints between panels are sealed with Weathermate tape. SIS panels contain 80% post-consumer recycled content and are Energy Star–rated. 866.583.2583. www.dow.com.

  • Georgia-Pacific. Nautilus combines OSB structural sheathing and a water-resistive barrier in one panel, reducing installation time; the panels install like traditional sheathing and seal with Nautilus seam tape. The panels include nailing guides that are visible through the integrated building wrap. The Blue Ribbon OSB is SFI-certified. 800.284.5347. www.builditbetter.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9A7%2Etmp_tcm131-309912.jpg

    true

    Georgia-Pacific. Nautilus combines OSB structural sheathing and a water-resistive barrier in one panel, reducing installation time; the panels install like traditional sheathing and seal with Nautilus seam tape. The panels include nailing guides that are visible through the integrated building wrap. The Blue Ribbon OSB is SFI-certified. 800.284.5347. www.builditbetter.com.

    600

    Georgia-Pacific. Nautilus combines OSB structural sheathing and a water-resistive barrier in one panel, reducing installation time; the panels install like traditional sheathing and seal with Nautilus seam tape. The panels include nailing guides that are visible through the integrated building wrap. The Blue Ribbon OSB is SFI-certified. 800.284.5347. www.builditbetter.com.

  • Homasote. 440 SoundBarrier is a nearly 100% recycled nailable structural board made from cellulose fiber, with an insulating value of R-1.2 per 1/2 inch. Originally intended as a soundproofing product, the firm says it withstands jobsite weather and mistreatment better than standard, impregnated fiberboard, and offers shear strength sufficient for many exterior wall-bracing applications.  800.257.9491. www.homasote.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9A8%2Etmp_tcm131-309919.jpg

    true

    Homasote. 440 SoundBarrier is a nearly 100% recycled nailable structural board made from cellulose fiber, with an insulating value of R-1.2 per 1/2 inch. Originally intended as a soundproofing product, the firm says it withstands jobsite weather and mistreatment better than standard, impregnated fiberboard, and offers shear strength sufficient for many exterior wall-bracing applications. 800.257.9491. www.homasote.com.

    600

    Homasote. 440 SoundBarrier is a nearly 100% recycled nailable structural board made from cellulose fiber, with an insulating value of R-1.2 per 1/2 inch. Originally intended as a soundproofing product, the firm says it withstands jobsite weather and mistreatment better than standard, impregnated fiberboard, and offers shear strength sufficient for many exterior wall-bracing applications. 800.257.9491. www.homasote.com.

  • Huber Engineered Woods. ZIP System roof and wall sheathing feature built-in protective barriers. Along with ZIP SystemTape to seal the seams, the all-in-one panels eliminate the need for housewrap or felt, the company says, making the installation faster and easier than traditional materials. A stiffer, full-depth -inch roof sheathing board, the ZIP System roof sheathing panel requires no H clips as long as rafters are spaced at 24 inches or less. 800.933.9220. www.zipsystem.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9A9%2Etmp_tcm131-309933.jpg

    true

    Huber Engineered Woods. ZIP System roof and wall sheathing feature built-in protective barriers. Along with ZIP SystemTape to seal the seams, the all-in-one panels eliminate the need for housewrap or felt, the company says, making the installation faster and easier than traditional materials. A stiffer, full-depth -inch roof sheathing board, the ZIP System roof sheathing panel requires no H clips as long as rafters are spaced at 24 inches or less. 800.933.9220. www.zipsystem.com.

    600

    Huber Engineered Woods. ZIP System roof and wall sheathing feature built-in protective barriers. Along with ZIP SystemTape to seal the seams, the all-in-one panels eliminate the need for housewrap or felt, the company says, making the installation faster and easier than traditional materials. A stiffer, full-depth ½-inch roof sheathing board, the ZIP System roof sheathing panel requires no H clips as long as rafters are spaced at 24 inches or less. 800.933.9220. www.zipsystem.com.

  • iLevel by Weyerhaeuser. According to the manufacturer, the proprietary glues and resins used in Edge Gold OSB flooring panels make it more water-resistant and durable when exposed to jobsite conditions and weather. The panels come stamped with a fastener location guide for easier, accurate, and warranty-compliant nailing, and bears the SFI-certified Fiber Sourcing label. 888.453.8358. www.ilevel.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9AC%2Etmp_tcm131-309940.jpg

    true

    iLevel by Weyerhaeuser. According to the manufacturer, the proprietary glues and resins used in Edge Gold OSB flooring panels make it more water-resistant and durable when exposed to jobsite conditions and weather. The panels come stamped with a fastener location guide for easier, accurate, and warranty-compliant nailing, and bears the SFI-certified Fiber Sourcing label. 888.453.8358. www.ilevel.com.

    600

    iLevel by Weyerhaeuser. According to the manufacturer, the proprietary glues and resins used in Edge Gold OSB flooring panels make it more water-resistant and durable when exposed to jobsite conditions and weather. The panels come stamped with a fastener location guide for easier, accurate, and warranty-compliant nailing, and bears the SFI-certified Fiber Sourcing label. 888.453.8358. www.ilevel.com.

  • LP. LongLength OSB allows for easier sheathing of homes with higher ceilings, requires fewer total panels, and results in fewer seams, the firm says. Installed vertically, the extended-length panels tie the top plate to the floor joists and eliminate the need to install fillers or blocking material. Several lengths and thicknesses are available. The sheathing is SFI-certified. 888.820.0325. www.lpcorp.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9AD%2Etmp_tcm131-309947.jpg

    true

    LP. LongLength OSB allows for easier sheathing of homes with higher ceilings, requires fewer total panels, and results in fewer seams, the firm says. Installed vertically, the extended-length panels tie the top plate to the floor joists and eliminate the need to install fillers or blocking material. Several lengths and thicknesses are available. The sheathing is SFI-certified. 888.820.0325. www.lpcorp.com.

    600

    LP. LongLength OSB allows for easier sheathing of homes with higher ceilings, requires fewer total panels, and results in fewer seams, the firm says. Installed vertically, the extended-length panels tie the top plate to the floor joists and eliminate the need to install fillers or blocking material. Several lengths and thicknesses are available. The sheathing is SFI-certified. 888.820.0325. www.lpcorp.com.

  • RoyOMartin. Eclipse radiant barrier OSB or plywood sheathing has an aluminum foil backing that the company says will block up to 97% of the suns radiant heat when used in a roof deck, significantly reducing attic temperatures. When used as a wall sheathing (OSB only) with approved foil tape to seal seams and corners, the product is redefined as Eclipse Energy Guard and serves as an energy-efficient housewrap. FSC-certified sheathing also is available by special order. 800.299.5174. www.royomartin.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9AE%2Etmp_tcm131-309954.jpg

    true

    RoyOMartin. Eclipse radiant barrier OSB or plywood sheathing has an aluminum foil backing that the company says will block up to 97% of the suns radiant heat when used in a roof deck, significantly reducing attic temperatures. When used as a wall sheathing (OSB only) with approved foil tape to seal seams and corners, the product is redefined as Eclipse Energy Guard and serves as an energy-efficient housewrap. FSC-certified sheathing also is available by special order. 800.299.5174. www.royomartin.com.

    600

    RoyOMartin. Eclipse radiant barrier OSB or plywood sheathing has an aluminum foil backing that the company says will block up to 97% of the sun’s radiant heat when used in a roof deck, significantly reducing attic temperatures. When used as a wall sheathing (OSB only) with approved foil tape to seal seams and corners, the product is redefined as Eclipse Energy Guard and serves as an energy-efficient housewrap. FSC-certified sheathing also is available by special order. 800.299.5174. www.royomartin.com.

  • Timber Products. The companys softwood plywood comes in 8-, 9-, and 10-foot lengths; 4- and 5-foot widths; and thicknesses from 5/16 inch to 2 inches. It is available in several grades for sheathing, concrete forms, and underlayment. The panels are SFI-certified and are available with FSC certification. 800.547.9520. www.timberproducts.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9AF%2Etmp_tcm131-309961.jpg

    true

    Timber Products. The companys softwood plywood comes in 8-, 9-, and 10-foot lengths; 4- and 5-foot widths; and thicknesses from 5/16 inch to 2 inches. It is available in several grades for sheathing, concrete forms, and underlayment. The panels are SFI-certified and are available with FSC certification. 800.547.9520. www.timberproducts.com.

    600

    Timber Products. The company’s softwood plywood comes in 8-, 9-, and 10-foot lengths; 4- and 5-foot widths; and thicknesses from 5/16 inch to 2 inches. It is available in several grades for sheathing, concrete forms, and underlayment. The panels are SFI-certified and are available with FSC certification. 800.547.9520. www.timberproducts.com.

  • 3TMs&Callouts.ai

    The certification agency stamp will show the following information for panel identification:1-Panel grade2-Span rating4-Bond classification5-Product standard6-Thickness7-Mill number8-APAs performance-rated panel standard11-HUD recognition12-Panel grade, Canadian standard13-Panel markRating and end-use designation per the Canadian standard14-Canadian performance rated panel standard15-Panel face orientation indicatorSource: APA-The Engineered Wood Association

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp9A5%2Etmp_tcm131-309898.jpg

    true

    The certification agency stamp will show the following information for panel identification:1-Panel grade2-Span rating4-Bond classification5-Product standard6-Thickness7-Mill number8-APAs performance-rated panel standard11-HUD recognition12-Panel grade, Canadian standard13-Panel markRating and end-use designation per the Canadian standard14-Canadian performance rated panel standard15-Panel face orientation indicatorSource: APA-The Engineered Wood Association

    600

    The certification agency stamp will show the following information for panel identification: 1-Panel grade 2-Span rating 4-Bond classification 5-Product standard 6-Thickness 7-Mill number 8-APA’s performance-rated panel standard 11-HUD recognition 12-Panel grade, Canadian standard 13-Panel mark—Rating and end-use designation per the Canadian standard 14-Canadian performance rated panel standard 15-Panel face orientation indicator Source: APA-The Engineered Wood Association

IAQ & ADHESIVES

News reports of formaldehyde concentrations in mobile homes provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina has made builders concerned about the softwood, exterior structural panels used to sheathe walls, floors, and roofs. But the moisture-resistant glues used to make exterior sheathing in the U.S. do not contain urea formaldehyde, the adhesive that has created indoor air quality concerns. According to Marilyn LeMoine, spokesperson for the APA, all of the exterior, structural panels manufactured in the U.S. today comply with or are exempt from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Air Toxic Control Measure for Composite Wood Products, arguably one of the world’s most stringent standards regulating toxic off-gassing from building materials.

Most OSB and many plywood panels use the adhesive diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) as a binder, which contains no formaldehyde and no ecological risks, says LeMoine. Some plywood and OSB contain binders made from phenol formaldehyde, which becomes stable during processing and results in such low emission levels in the finished material that these products remain exempt from all formaldehyde emission standards.

The statement “no added formaldehyde” in a wood product may sound like a hedge, but it is only because wood itself contains small measures of formaldehyde. It’s all around us, as natural as air and water. You just don’t want to breathe too much of it. How much is too much? No one knows, and hence the effort to avoid products that raise the concentrations of formaldehyde indoors beyond the background levels found naturally outside.

Some foreign-made, exterior-grade panels allegedly contain unsafe levels of formaldehyde; buying trademarked panels stamped with the U.S. Product Standard PS1 (plywood) or PS2 (OSB) ensures that you are not adding measurable risk. Panels with an APA stamp comply with the CARB standards.

GREEN CERTIFICATIONS

Beyond the structural stamps, plywood and OSB are available with certifications that confirm the product comes from a reputable source and sustainably managed forests. Although many forests are sustainably managed, the only way to provide credible proof is through independent, third-party auditing such as from FSC or SFI. Once the wood leaves the forest, a third-party, chain-of-custody certification monitors that the wood harvested is indeed the wood received by the end-user.

USGBC’s LEED program only gives points for FSC certification, but is currently considering including others; the ANSI National Green Building Standard and many other programs provide points for either.

VALUE ADDED

From a green building perspective, the most interesting developments in sheathing can be found in some new products that integrate structural features with other components, such as insulation or weather-resistive barriers.

Dow’s SIS panels, for example, combine structural lateral bracing, insulation, and a water-resistive barrier. Huber Engineered Woods’ ZIP System roof and wall sheathing offers structural panels with a proprietary coating that acts as a weather barrier.

Innovative products also are helping to stiffen floor systems and reduce squeaks. AdvanTech from Huber features advanced resins for greater water resistance than commodity OSB and plywood, according to the company, as well as greater design bending strength and stiffness.

Weyerhaeuser’s iLevel Edge and Edge Gold floor sheathing products offer similar higher performance in structural stiffness and moisture resistance.

And while roof sheathing with integral reflective radiant barriers isn’t that new, its use is growing in hot, sunny climates where solar heat absorption from roofs can really crank up cooling loads.

Various brands of fiberboard sheathing, once used as cheap filler between structural panels, now have rebranded themselves as ecological, energy-efficient, and mildly structural sheathing systems. Homasote 440, a product originally designed for sound attenuation, is being repurposed as a high-performance exterior sheathing panel made from nearly 100% post-consumer recycled cellulose fiber with a maximum shear strength of 309 pounds per square foot (compared to let-in bracing at 245 pounds).

Manufacturers are offering or exploring a number of resource-efficient sheathing alternatives, such as ERT4C’s Eco-sheet, a European plywood replacement made from a mix of recycled polymers and other recycled materials including waste electrical and electronic equipment.

And researchers at Canada’s Alberta Research Council are developing an oriented structural straw board (OSSB) product, but because of straw’s small, relatively weak fibers, this option has so far proven difficult and expensive to produce as a structural product. This group is planning to open an OSSB plant in partnership with a private manufacturer.

The sheathing category is clearly evolving quickly, driven by our expanded knowledge of building science and the technical innovations manufacturers are bringing to their products. There are some great new options for green builders these days, and I am sure we’ll see even more in the years to come.

Fernando Pagés Ruiz develops ecologically minded affordable housing in the Midwest and mountain states. His two books, Building an Affordable House and Affordable Remodel, are available from The Taunton Press.

 


READING THE LABEL

The certification agency stamp will show the following information for panel identification.

  • The certification agency stamp will show the following information for panel identification:1-Panel grade2-Span rating4-Bond classification5-Product standard6-Thickness7-Mill number8-APAs performance-rated panel standard11-HUD recognition12-Panel grade, Canadian standard13-Panel markRating and end-use designation per the Canadian standard14-Canadian performance rated panel standard15-Panel face orientation indicatorSource: APA-The Engineered Wood Association
    The certification agency stamp will show the following information for panel identification: 1-Panel grade 2-Span rating 4-Bond classification 5-Product standard 6-Thickness 7-Mill number 8-APA’s performance-rated panel standard 11-HUD recognition 12-Panel grade, Canadian standard 13-Panel mark—Rating and end-use designation per the Canadian standard 14-Canadian performance rated panel standard 15-Panel face orientation indicator Source: APA-The Engineered Wood Association

 

1 Panel grade

2 Span rating

4 Bond classification

5 Product standard

6 Thickness

7 Mill number

8 APA’s performance-rated panel standard

11 HUD recognition

12 Panel grade, Canadian standard

13 Panel mark—Rating and end-use designation per the Canadian standard

14 Canadian performance rated panel standard

15 Panel face orientation indicator

Source: APA-The Engineered Wood Association