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ZIP System® Sheathing and Tape Transforms Multifamily Apartment Project

4 Min Read

Mike Reardon was attending a lunch-and-learn program for builders and architects in 2014 when the presenter began using “innovative” and “integrated” in the same sentence to describe an alternative to housewrap. It was a lightbulb moment for the Missouri architect and a turning point in how he would approach weather-resistant barriers for his firm’s multifamily projects.

“Housewrap issues are a constant challenge on job sites,” said Reardon, project manager for M.W. Weber Architects, an architectural design firm that specializes in multifamily, commercial and retail projects. “Housewrap is hard to install and can make dry-in difficult. This is not what you want on a job site.

“In addition,” he continued, “I was adding square footage to my own home at the time and was using housewrap. I was experiencing firsthand just how difficult it can be, in terms of usability and making a project airtight.”

ZIP System® sheathing and tape is an innovative structural roof and wall system with an integrated water- and air-resistant barrier that streamlines the weatherization process, while providing a continuous air barrier to reduce air leakage. Following the lunch-and-learn presentation on ZIP System sheathing and tape, Reardon was convinced the system could prevent the infiltration of air and water better than housewrap.

“I knew right away I wanted ZIP System sheathing and tape for our firm’s projects, and it didn’t take much to convince people to switch,” he said. “The contractor for our next apartment project was initially sold on housewrap, but once we demonstrated how ZIP System sheathing and tape installs quicker, he was convinced.”

I would never recommend going back to housewrap.

Bramblett Hills Apartments is a luxury apartment complex in O’Fallon, Missouri west of St. Louis. The project includes 218,000 square feet of ZIP System panels in 204 apartments in 17 three-story buildings, 87 garages and a clubhouse.

“ZIP System sheathing and tape transformed the Bramblett job site with a two-step installation process – install the panels and tape the seams,” Reardon said. “Taping became a one-man job, and that’s not possible with housewrap. We have an aggressive construction schedule – completing a new building every 30 days – and this schedule would not be possible without using products designed to perform."

Reardon said another benefit to using a structural sheathing system with built-in moisture protection is that it can be put in place regardless of the time of year. It’s a promise the manufacturer, Huber Engineered Woods LLC, backs with a 180-day Limited Warranty.1

“ZIP System products do not appear to be negatively affected by weather during or after installation,” he said. “Once the panels are in place the structure is airtight, which is critical to preventing mold and moisture from penetrating the building. I would never recommend going back to housewrap.”

Tim Breece, president of Propper Construction Services, which along with TriStar Development are the owners of the project, said faster dry-in times and more predictable construction schedules are the hallmarks of ZIP System sheathing and tape. Propper also plays a secondary role as construction managers over the development.

“ZIP System sheathing and tape is more reliable than housewrap,” Breece said. “The system’s water-resistant capabilities and its ability to hold up under extreme weather conditions are especially important to us.

“The continuous air barrier also is a plus, as well as fewer man hours needed to install the system,” he added. “The seam tape is an obvious plus too, especially given how unpredictable Mother Nature can be in the Midwest.”

Bramblett Hills is scheduled for completion in August 2016, and Breece is already looking ahead to his next project using ZIP System sheathing and tape. Propper Construction has more than 450 multifamily units under construction in the St. Louis area, with an additional 400 units expected to begin construction before year’s end.

“ZIP System sheathing and tape has been a great problem-solver for us,” Breece said. “It is almost foolproof to install and its ease of installation keeps our projects moving forward with no callbacks. It would be an understatement to say we are bullish about using the system in other multifamily projects.”

Discover more from ZIP System building enclosures here.