musingsheader image
Helpful? 2

Return to the Backyard Tape Test

After being exposed to sunlight and wind-driven rain for 10 months, are any tape samples still tenacious?

Posted on Aug 30 2013 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

In the fall of 2012, I tested the performance of 11 air-sealing tapes by attaching samples to six different substrates mounted on the exterior wall of my woodshed. A month later, I tried to remove the tape samples to determine which tapes were most tenacious. I reported my findings in the April/May 2013 issue of Fine Homebuilding. (The details of the test set-up can be found in that article, “Backyard Tape Test.”)

The tape samples have remained in place for almost a year. Rather than dismantling the components and throwing them away, I recently decided to see which tapes have held up best over the last 10 months.

Here’s the good news: several of the tested tapes are still remarkably tenacious. In fact, a few tapes even seem to have gotten more tenacious as time has passed.

Peeling back the tapes

After trimming the flapping edges of all of the tape samples that hadn't blown away in the wind, I repeated the tenacity tests that I originally performed in October 2012.

As I wrote in the original article, “I peeled back about 3 inches of each tape to judge its tenacity. Some samples were so tightly attached that it was impossible to pull them back that far. The ratings given in my test report are based on my own judgment of tenacity. ... I didn’t use any tools other than my eyes and my bare hands, so this backyard test makes no claims to scientific validity. I rated a tape highly if it was difficult to peel back. ... While it seems logical to me to favor tenacious tapes over tapes that don’t hold very well, I’ll leave it to readers to judge whether my criterion was valid.”

The best-performing tapes — the ones that I rated excellent and describe as “still tenacious” — were very difficult to peel back. On some substrates — especially the foil-faced polyisoPolyisocyanurate foam is usually sold with aluminum foil facings. With an R-value of 6 to 6.5 per inch, it is the best insulator and most expensive of the three types of rigid foam. Foil-faced polyisocyanurate is almost impermeable to water vapor; a 1-in.-thick foil-faced board has a permeance of 0.05 perm. While polyisocyanurate was formerly manufactured using HCFCs as blowing agents, U.S. manufacturers have now switched to pentane. Pentane does not damage the earth’s ozone layer, although it may contribute to smog. , the housewrap, and the polyethylene — the best tapes were so tenacious that the substrates were damaged by my attempts to remove the tape.

Which are the best tapes?

Three of the most impressive tapes were Siga Sicrall, Siga Wigluv, and 3M All Weather Flashing Tape. Siga Sicrall was the best-performing tape on XPSExtruded polystyrene. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs. In North America, XPS is made with ozone-depleting HCFC-142b. XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation..

Siga Wigluv and 3M All Weather flashing tape clung tenaciously for 10 months to both plywood and OSB.

Which tapes were the most disappointing?

Just because a tape does well on one substrate doesn’t mean it will work well on another. For example, Zip System tape performed well on housewrap, but it fell off the XPS at some point during the last 10 months. So don’t use Zip System tape on XPS.

Dow Weathermate tape also fell off the XPS. Pro Clima Tescon No. 1 tape stayed in place on the XPS, but it was still disappointing; it came off very easily.

On plywood, Dow Weathermate and Venture 1585 CW-P2 did worse than all the other tested tapes. Venture 1585 CW-P2 was the worst performing of the tested tapes on housewrap.

A summary of the latest results

OSB. Two tapes performed very well on OSB: Siga Wigluv and 3M All Weather Flashing tape.

Plywood. Five tapes all did very well on plywood: 3M All Weather tape, Zip System, Siga Wigluv, Siga Sicrall, and Pro Clima Tescon No. 1.

Polyethylene. Four tapes performed very well on polyethylene: Polyken Shadowlastic, Siga Wigluv, Siga Sicrall, and Pro Clima Tescon No. 1.

XPS. This test taught me that XPS is one of the hardest substrates to tape; it’s even harder to tape than OSB. The best of the tested tapes on XPS was Siga Sicrall. (Note, however, that the manufacturer of Siga Sicrall recommends the tape for interior use only. The best-performing exterior-rated tape on XPS was Siga Wigluv.)

Foil-faced polyisocyanurate. Foil-faced polyiso is very easy to tape; almost any decent tape will work.

Housewrap. Most of the tested tapes performed well on housewrap.

Still getting stronger?

Some tapes that didn’t seem particularly tenacious after a month fared better after 10 months had passed. Tapes in this category include Pro Clima Tescon No. 1, 3M All Weather tape, and Zip System on OSB; Venture 1585 HT on housewrap; and Pro Clima Tescon No. 1 on polyethylene.

The apparent reason for this finding: the bond created by a high-quality acrylic adhesive is slow to develop. Tapes in this category may get more tenacious as time passes.

Substrate Tapes worth considering Tapes to avoid
OSB The four tested tapes were all still in place after 10 months. From the most tenacious to the least: Siga Wigluv, 3M All Weather tape, Zip System, and Pro Clima Tescon No. 1. All four tested tapes were acceptable.
Plywood Five tested tapes were still tenacious after 10 months: 3M All Weather Flashing tape; Zip System tape; Siga Wigluv; Siga Sicrall; and Pro Clima Tescon No. 1. Two tested tapes were significantly worse than the others: Dow Weathermate and Venture 1585 CW-P2.
Polyethylene Four tapes were most tenacious: Polyken Shadowlastic; Siga Wigluv; Siga Sicrall; and Pro Clima Tescon No. 1. The other two tested tapes — Venture 1585 HT/W and Dow Weathermate — were very good, but not quite as good as the four best tapes. All of the tested tapes were acceptable.
XPS Siga Sicrall was the winner; it held well after one year. Siga Wigluv and 3M All Weather Flashing tape still held, but were not as tenacious as Siga Sicrall. Pro Clima Tescon No. 1 and Polyken Shadowlastic tape barely stayed on. Zip System tape and Dow Weathermate both fell off.
Foil-faced polyisocyanurate Most tested tapes were still tenacious after 10 months: Siga Wigluv, Siga Sicrall, Pro Clima Tescon No. 1, Dow Weathermate, Polyken Shadowlastic, Nashua waterproofing repair tape, and Venture 1520 CW foil tape. Venture 1585 CW-P2 was noticeably less tenacious than all the other tested tapes.
Housewrap Four tested tapes were tenacious: 3M All Weather tape; Zip System; Siga Sicrall; and Venture 1585 HT. Two tested tapes did not perform very well: Dow Weathermate (fair) and Venture 1585 CW-P2 (poor).

Martin Holladay’s previous blog: “Fukushima and Vermont Yankee.”

Click here to follow Martin Holladay on Twitter.


Tags: , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay
1.
Fri, 08/30/2013 - 09:46

Excellent
by Aaron Gatzke

Helpful? 0

Scientific or not, it is an excellent article.
Thank you Martin!


2.
Fri, 08/30/2013 - 10:12

The results are in...
by Katharine Kranich

Helpful? 0

SIGA Tapes rock! www.sigatapes.com


3.
Fri, 08/30/2013 - 10:19

SIGA TAPE ROCKS
by Jason Peacock

Helpful? 0

We had a builder here in Maine build two houses next to each other. With the first house he didn't use any tape and the blower door test was a 1.2 @ ACH 50, not bad. The next house he built he used www.SIGAtapes.com to air seal and his blower door test was 0.4 @ ACH 50, very impressive. He used very similar wall details and insulation in both houses. Due to such a tight house (he also used triple pane windows) he has an HRV that he runs continuously on low. He has all Tier III appliances and 3.9 kW of PV. He's on track to be Net Zero with the second house. Very impressive.


4.
Fri, 08/30/2013 - 21:59

a few points could be added...
by Jin Kazama

Helpful? 0

Did you include the average prices for the tapes ( like $/ft of tape ) somewhere in the previous pages??

Then, this study is also valid on the analyse of the used substrate.

I would've love that you also used TUKtape from canadian technical tape on this study
( which is what is in use on 90%+ of buildings i see around here )

By my personal experience, most acrylic tapes develop a strong bong on Tyvek because of it's fiber like surface ( usually rips a layer of fibers from the HW only a few hours after being applied )

You could've also include peel stick poly + alsphat adhesive membranes
as alot of builders use them to seal in different levels of flashings.

I'll be looking to test the 3M products soon ..i've had some discussion with local tradesman about their new "clear" water/moisture proof peel stick membrane which just happen to look like the tape you tested.


5.
Fri, 08/30/2013 - 22:11

http://www.cttgroup.com/cante
by Jin Kazama

Helpful? 0

http://www.cttgroup.com/cantech/en/details/135/

this is what i'm talking about ... i don't know about other provinces,
but in Quebec, i'd guess that near 80% ( may be even higher ) of all exterior building tapes installed
are of this product.
The price may explain why ..sells for ~9$ /roll at any local stores.

I have tested 1-2 years of direct sunlight before the plastic peels off from the glue
( which is not bad i'd say )
If used interior, u can still have it stick back after 1-2 years of installation date.
( the acrylic must be responsible for that feat )

It does not do well on EPS and XPS though ...not at all i'd say.

3M and Siga tapes are expensive .. .. i've quickly found from 30 to 70$/roll depending on width
( approx 75ft lenght )


6.
Sat, 08/31/2013 - 05:00

Edited Sat, 08/31/2013 - 05:20.

Response to Jin Kazama
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Helpful? 0

Jin,
Here is a link to the Fine Homebuilding article: Backyard Tape Test. The article includes price information on all of the tested tapes. The least expensive tapes (thin housewrap tapes) cost 7 cents a foot. The most expensive (Siga Wigluv) costs 47 cents a foot.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when housewrap tape was first introduced, it was known as "contractors' tape" here in New England. It was manufactured by DuPont, and it was always red, and everybody called it contractors' tape. Then DuPont renamed it "Tyvek tape," and other manufacturers entered the market.

Meanwhile, over the border in Quebec, everybody called the stuff Tuck tape. Tuck tape is a brand name, although many builders assume that it is a generic name -- as if the tape helps you tuck in the loose elements of your building envelope, I guess. The tape is manufactured by Canadian Technical Tape Ltd. in Montreal.

"Contractors' tape," "housewrap tape," and "Tuck tape" all resemble packing tape used to seal cardboard boxes. These tapes are thin, and they have an acrylic adhesive. I tested three tapes in this category: Dow Weathermate, Venture 1585CW-P2 tape, and Venture 1585HT⁄ W tape. While they work OK on housewrap and foil-faced polyiso, they don't perform very well on XPS, plywood, or OSB.

I would love to have the time and research money to do more tape testing. I did this project on my own time, although I didn't have to pay for the materials out of my own pocket. (Some of the materials were provided by manufacturers, and Taunton picked up the tab for the plywood, OSB, and most of the other substrates. I supplied the housewrap and polyethylene.)

I did some testing of rubberized asphalt peel-and-stick products for a 2001 article I wrote for the Journal of Light Construction. That article is available online: Choosing Flexible Flashings.

I recently rediscovered a large piece of lumber containing many peel-and-stick samples from my 2001 testing. I made a test rig back then to test the products' watertightness. It might be fun to try to peel back those samples -- all of which have been installed for 12 years -- and see if they are still tenacious. Maybe I'll do that, and write a blog about it.


7.
Sat, 08/31/2013 - 11:57

Edited Sat, 08/31/2013 - 12:58.

Good to hear that SIGA stays stuck
by albert rooks

Helpful? 0

Martin,

I'm really happy to hear that the Siga Tape Samples that I sent you last year have continued to perform so well. When The Small Planet Workshop www.smallplanetworkshop.com imported that first North American order of SIGA Products, it was a step into the unknown. That first shipment was an $18000.00 risk that was based on my feeling that "quality airtightness matters", and that the Passivhaus movement would create an increased need for "quality materials" to support the then staggering 0.60 ACH50 PH standard.

Now it's only a few short years later and the Siga Products have proved themselves exceptionally well in the field. Sales at The Small Planet Workshop of Siga Products are growing every month. Siga has added a US subsidiary, and US logistics center carrying a full load of inventory shipping thru out the continent daily. And... 8 North American employees! -I think it's 8... I can't keep track anymore.

This is all in support of helping our building culture build better buildings that are healthier and consume less energy. Even if luminaries like Dr Joe Lstiburek doubt that climate change is attributable to man made activities, his organization still works tirelessly towards improved building efficiency. Quality long term Air tightness is central to building envelope efficiency.

Now we North Americans have a longer list of quality materials that we can employ to create long term air barriers. This on top of what "you guy's" figured out in the 80's...

Here's a short video clip of the first SIGA AIR TIGHTNESS WORKSHOP FOR PROFESSIONALS in North America. It was held in Seattle Wa in late 2010. The attendee's are most of the board of Passive House Northwest http://www.phnw.org, and the Northwest Eco Building Guild http://www.ecobuilding.org. -The tall guy leading the workshop, Patrick Haacke, whom you met in http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/one-air-barrier-o... -is now part of the Management Team of the company. At the end of the video is Michael Brogle who now heads up the North American effort.

Here is the video of what a SIGA AIRTIGHTNESS WORKSHOP FOR PROFESSIONALS looks like. http://youtu.be/yzPkfLbLk3M. We hold them about 4 times per year thru out the Pacific Northwest. The next one will be in late October or early September. They are free and contain loads of useful information.


8.
Sat, 08/31/2013 - 13:14

Edited Sun, 09/01/2013 - 11:15.

Use the right tape for the right application.
by albert rooks

Helpful? 0

Martin,

Just to clarify...

The Siga Sicrall held best to your XPS which is great. But readers should check with a SIGA Dealer before ordering for their first application. It's an easy call to make and SIGA puts a lot of effort into making sure who answers the phone can help you choose the right tape or membrane for the application.

I'm pointing this out because it's not always apparent what to use. In this case, you found that Sicrall stuck better than anything to XPS. Thats fine for an interior application but probably not so good for exterior XPS. Sicrall has a paper backing and even though it's done well for 10 months, it's not recommended to be used on the exterior layers. For that application Wigluv 60 is the recommended tape since it's formulated to be used in exterior applications and is expected to perform for decades.

They both have the same adhesive and what helps them stick is that they have loads of it. The Sicrall was probably harder to pull off then the Wigluv because the heavy paper backing is stiffer and wouldn't pull back on itself like the flexible Wigluv 60 backing would.

In any case... Call your supplier to check the application before you order for the first time. There are different tapes designed for different applications and it matters which one you choose. To reach The Small Planet Workshop it's: 1-855-FOR-SIGA


9.
Sat, 08/31/2013 - 23:16

Artistic tape design
by Lucy Foxworth

Helpful? 0

Martin,

I think you should be complimented on your abstract tape design. Did you design it yourself or did you have help on the artful placement?


10.
Sun, 09/01/2013 - 05:20

Reponse to Lucy Foxworth
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Helpful? 0

Lucy,
I am lucky enough to live in a rural area. We have no requirements for design professionals, engineers, registered contractors, or design review board approval. We just do things the old fashioned way in Vermont.


11.
Sun, 09/01/2013 - 05:40

Response to Albert Rooks
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Helpful? 0

Albert,
Thanks for your helpful comments, and for your reminder that Siga Sicrall is intended for interior use.

You are absolutely right that it's important to check with the manufacturer's recommendations before selecting a tape for any particular application.


12.
Wed, 09/04/2013 - 19:45

Looking at the photo, I would
by Brian Godfrey

Helpful? 0

Looking at the photo, I would think that the tapes up under the eaves would fare much better than the tapes down below. They were exposed to less sun and rain, though the same temperatures and possibly less wind.


13.
Wed, 09/04/2013 - 20:37

Response to Brian Godfrey
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Helpful? 0

Brian,
Fair enough. I'll admit it wasn't a scientific test.

If anyone wants to either fund a better research project, or set up a better rig in their back yard, I'll be the first to trumpet their results or findings.


14.
Fri, 09/06/2013 - 00:52

Good Info
by Karl Overn

Helpful? 0

Thanks for doing this test. I've been very curious about the longer term results of taped gaps and wanted to see something like this before buying some very expensive tape.

After all this what do you think about tape vs caulk for sealing plywood sheathing (butted edges) as an air and vapor control layer? I can see pros and cons for each. Tape is likely faster to apply but caulk is less expensive and gets into crevices.


15.
Fri, 09/06/2013 - 04:29

Response to Karl Overn
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Helpful? 0

Karl,
Vertical sheathing seams occur over a stud; caulk might work at this location. However, most horizontal seams are unsupported by framing. To seal these horizontal seams, I would definitely choose tape over caulk.

The best available tapes are impressive. No one knows if they will last 100 years, of course. But we can be pretty sure that caulk won't hold up that long, especially if the seam being sealed is stressed by expansion and contraction of materials due to changes in temperature and humidity.


16.
Tue, 09/10/2013 - 09:01

to confirm XPS
by Hobbit _

Helpful? 0

I can concur that XPS presents a hard problem for tape. I've
got a few places with Tyvek tape or Weathermate on XPS, and what
seems to happen after a while is that some chemical interaction
with the acrylic adhesive "bubbles" the XPS a little bit right
underneath. If left alone it doesn't seem to weaken any further
or peel off, just sits a little higher than when I applied it.
I can also smoosh down the raised part and it seems to return to
the original surface contour for the most part. But I'm only
a year-plus into this particular observation, so I can't say what
things will be like in 12 years.

All the relevant joints aren't under any stress and don't appear
to have actually compromised their seals, so maybe it's not a
problem as long as the joints are somewhat sheltered from
direct weather.

_H*


17.
Wed, 09/11/2013 - 00:59

Edited Wed, 09/11/2013 - 01:02.

We've got Siga on XPS since 2010.
by albert rooks

Helpful? 0

Hobbit,
So far our test apications have the Siga Wigluv bond still impressively strong on the XPS samples. Note that these samples have stayed indoors and have not been subject to the exterior conditions of the Pacific Northwest (aka: damp rainy hell).

At least we can note that they are not self-destructive.


18.
Wed, 09/11/2013 - 12:10

Edited Fri, 11/22/2013 - 17:13.

Tape test
by Todd Noice

Helpful? 0

I'm a general contractor in the Pacific Northwest and I specialize in rot repair. The efficacy of adhesives exposed to the weather is wonderful information to have. I wonder how effective adhesives are in real world use. How do asphalt based tapes react with PVC I wonder. Or how do the tapes do when permeability is an issue.

Building envelopes need seals, vents and drains. A key element in envelope design is its ability to persevere in the variety of the states of water and the ability to resist the ability of fungus to thrive in adverse environments. The environment beneath the exterior shell has its own unique habitat. Water, air, spores and a food source in this space should never be considered or taught as a complete envelope system so contractors like me can reap the rewards of a multi billion dollar problem in the construction industry.

Under what circumstance should a method a, method b or a modified method a be used to flash openings? In a rain screen application where do the concepts of a seal, vent and drain prove most effective and why? When and where do envelopes fail and how does the changing states of water encourage or inhibit fungal growth?

In the residential construction and repair arena the flow of information on the most effective methods and materials needs more development. Asphalt melts PVC, sealing moisture where a drain or a vent is needed rots wood. Window openings need seals, vents and drains. The various states of water need to be addressed in the building envelope as a whole. Building inspectors and envelope installers need concise, accurate information on how building envelopes function so damage can be alleviated.


19.
Sat, 11/23/2013 - 08:46

Response to Todd Noice
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Helpful? 0

Todd,
Your broad statement, "Asphalt melts PVC," is unsupported by the facts.

Rubberized asphalt membranes are compatible with the type of hard vinyl (unplasticized vinyl) used for most window flanges. Some rubberized asphalt membranes aren't compatible with soft vinyl (plasticized vinyl), but there aren't many opportunities for these products to come in contact with each other.

For more information, see:

http://www.protectowrap.com/static-content/pdf/letters/letter-chemical_c...

http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/showthread.php?45927-Peel-and-stick-f...

http://www.homeadvisor.com/rfs/smpros/printArticle.jsp?edOID=13630


20.
Mon, 11/25/2013 - 16:00

Edited Wed, 11/27/2013 - 01:12.

PVC compatibility with asphalt
by Todd Noice

Helpful? 0

In every instance I have seen asphalt based tapes applied on vinyl window flanges over a period of time I have seen that it softened and discolored the vinyl. See also: http://www.na.graceconstruction.com/custom/flashings/downloads/26324_Gui...

Grace Vycor Self-Adhered Flashings are not compatible with plasticized polyvinyl chloride (flexible PVC). Certain metal window applications with integral nail fin may have specific limitations. Contact window manufacturer for specific application instructions required when using
a bituminous-based flashing.

I use Hydroflash - the advantages of acrylic tapes make them the best choice for me. I'm more concerned about providing the proper drains, seals and vents in the envelope and cladding. A comprehensive independent study of the Vaproshield and HydroGap screen systems would be helpful.


Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!