GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Picture icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Musings of an Energy Nerd

Nailbase Panels for Walls

Panels made from a layer of rigid foam glued to OSB sheathing are increasingly being installed on walls

A nailbase panel consists of a rectangle of rigid foam with OSB adhered to one side. While nailbase panels were originally developed for use on roofs, they are increasingly being installed on walls.
Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

These days, lots of builders are installing a continuous layer of rigid foam on the exterior side of their wall sheathing. The usual approach is to sheathe the wall with OSB or plywood, and then to install one or more layers of rigid foam outboard of the sheathing.

Some builders are beginning to simplify this process by switching to nailbase panels — rigid foam panels with a layer of OSB or plywood glued to one side. Since nailbase panels provide sheathing and foam insulation in a single panel, they should (in theory) simplify the construction process.

Although nailbase panels were originally developed for use on roofs, an increasing number of nailbase manufacturers are beginning to realize that they can also market their products for use on walls.

At least four manufacturers have developed nailbase-like panels designed specifically for walls:

In addition to these three products, a great many brands of nailbase panels designed for roofs are now being marketed for use on walls.

This article will attempt to address several technical questions surrounding the use of nailbase panels on walls, including these:

Styrofoam SIS

Dow Building Products introduced SIS (“structural insulated sheathing”) panels in 2008. Four years later, in July 2012, Dow stopped making the product; however, another company, Ox Building Products of Constantine, Michigan, obtained the licensing rights to SIS and is now manufacturing and distributing the panels under the name Styrofoam SIS.

SIS panels consist of a layer of polyisocyanurate with an 1/8-inch-thick structural facing made out of recycled cardboard. The structural facing is designed to face the interior. SIS is manufactured in two thicknesses: the ½-inch panels are R-3.0, while the 1-inch panels are R-5.5. If builders follow the nailing schedule provided by the manufacturer — a lot of nails are required — SIS panels can be…

GBA Prime

This article is only available to GBA Prime Members

Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.

Start Free Trial


  1. Steve Kreisher | | #1

    Styrofoam SIS - High Wind Area
    I was looking at this product for possible use on house near ocean in "high wind" area, but you indicate they cannot be used unless "part of engineered design" . Can you explain what those provisions would be where you could use this product? Thanks.

  2. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Response to Steve Kreisher
    I'm not an engineer, so I'm not going to speculate on how to meet your goals for a building in a high wind area. The best approach would be to talk to an engineer.

    You might also want to discuss the question with someone in the manufacturer's technical help department. Here is the contact information:

    Ox Building Products
    700 Centreville Road
    Constantine, MI 49042

  3. Kohta Ueno | | #3

    Thicker ZIP-R Products
    In case it's useful to anyone, here are some snapshots of the thicker ZIP-R samples at a trade show.

  4. Andrea S | | #4

    DOes anyone have any experience with the Hunter Xci ply panels?

Log in or become a member to post a comment.



Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |