In a previous post, I wrote about cold-weather application of construction tapes. A few of the tapes performed well, but I expected better results than I got from most of the products. Many of these tapes aren’t cheap, some are downright expensive. I decided to conduct a second test to see how well the tapes bonded at a more moderate temperature (68°F). In retrospect, I should have performed this test first, as a gauge for how well a tape performs under average rather than extreme conditions. What follows are my findings.
For this test, I used the better-performing products from the cold-temperature test: Siga’s Wigluv, 3M’s 8067, and Zip’s Flashing Tape. I also tested Protecto Wraps Super Stick and their rubberized asphalt BT25XT (the worst performer in the cold-temperature test). I included Pro Clima’s Tescon Vanna (I was contacted by 475 Supply, the supplier of Pro Clima’s products in North America, after they read my post about cold-temperature testing, and they informed me there is another version of the Tescon Vanna tape designed for cold-weather applications), Benjamin Obdyke’s HydroFlash and UV tape, and Barricade’s Ulti Flashing tape.
They were applied at room temperature, rolled, and left to set for a few days. I chose to test only on the plywood surface.
Comparison of air-sealing tapes
All the tapes performed much differently under warmer conditions. Three tapes I felt performed much better this time: Pro Clima’s Tescon Vanna and both Benjamin Obdyke products—especially the HydroFlash. (The lead image of this post shows the adhesion between the HydroFlash and plywood surface.) Although the Protecto Wrap BT25XT stuck this time, it still pulled off easily. Tip: if you’re using Protecto Wrap, use the Super Stick. The Barricade tape stuck better in moderate temperatures, but nowhere near as well as some of the others.
Clearly, there are more choices when temps are moderate. In my opinion, the best tape under both sets of conditions is Siga’s Wigluv, but both the Pro Clima and Benjamin Obdyke’s HydroFlash performed really well, too. You also can’t go wrong with 3M’s 8067 or the Zip tape.
This test led to another question: Does the bond improve if the tape is applied in cold temperatures that then warm up?
For this last test, I chilled both the plywood substrate and various tapes by moving them outside. The outdoor temperature was a little colder than I wanted, right around 0°F, but they all stuck to the surface of the plywood. Then I rolled the tapes and left them outside overnight where they experienced temps below 0°F. In the morning, I brought the test board inside where it warmed to room temperature. I didn’t pull off the tapes for a few days to allow them to achieve a full bond.
Did the tapes stick better after they were warmed? Yep, most of them were hard to pull off; a few that I did manage to pull off I destroyed in the process. (Note that I misspoke in this video of the test; I called the silver-colored tape Pro Clima when it is actually Protecto Wrap.)
I was a little disappointed in the Zip tape. It was not difficult to remove, although to be fair, that tape is designed to work best with Zip sheathing. The other tape that pulled off easily was the Baricade Ulti Flash. The Baricade and Protecto Wrap Super Stick were the only butyl tapes tested this time.
This series of tape tests came about because of a failure in a taping application during cold weather. I’ve come to the conclusion that the failure was the result of two combined factors: 1. cold temperatures during application, and 2. the nature of the taped surface, which was a WRB that did not have a solid surface behind it so it moved during wind events, affecting the tape’s ability to bond. The uncommon nature of the assembly together with the cold-temperature application caused the failures.
Applying most of these tapes in cold weather to more typical assemblies should not be an issue, if the tapes are installed per the manufacturer’s instructions. All the tapes I tested come with a low-temperature application suggestion listed by the manufacturer. Results from all three tests are just my opinion on how easy or hard it was to pull off a given tape. When choosing a tape, I suggest performing your own test to find the right product for your application. Bear in mind there is no one tape that works best on every substrate, so test a few.
Randy Williams is a builder and energy rater based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Photos courtesy of the author.
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