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Community and Q&A

Badly overdriven nails on Zip: Should I wrap the house?

88Clayton | Posted in General Questions on

The framers building my house severely overdrove 90% of my sheathing nails on Zip-R.  It’s into the foam in many cases.  Thousands of nails.  Not to mention, their tape job is horrendous, with improper lapping.

Not sure how feasible it is to tape over every one of these nails holes.   With that in mind, should I make them wrap the house with Tyvek?  Is that a wise solution?  Or will that cause problems with as far as perm rating and drying ability goes?  Thanks!

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  1. Expert Member
    Malcolm Taylor | | #1


    House-wraps have a much higher perm than Zip-R. It wouldn't cause any problems. Taping would also work.

    Did enough nails get properly set that the sheathing is still well fastened?

    1. 88Clayton | | #3

      At least 90% of the nails went 5/16” or more into the sheathing. Many went into the foam, because I can’t see the head.

  2. Spenceday | | #2

    It may sound daunting but Liquid Flash may be an option here. It would be faster than taping to dab each hole with liquid flash and a putty knife. Same for fixing problematic tape joints or fish mouthing. Can you confirm if they even rolled the tape?
    Overdriven nails all the way through the wood is going to effect your shear strength. May need to add fasteners.

    1. 88Clayton | | #4

      Yes, I’m a little worried about the shear strength. They absolutely have not rolled the tape. I have instructed my contractor to ensure this gets done.

      1. Expert Member
        Malcolm Taylor | | #5

        That's bush-league. How hard is it to set the depth gauge on your framing nailer?

        1. 88Clayton | | #8

          Yeah. Who knows what these guys are thinking. Their English is no bueno so hard to ask them.

        2. John Clark | | #22

          It's what happens when you employ people to perform framing work when their expertise is around masonry.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    Here is a link to a relevant Huber technical document: "ZIP System Sheathing Fasteners FAQs."

    The document states:

    "Q. How do overdriven fasteners affect the structural integrity of the sheathing? A. The American Plywood Association (APA) and PFS TECO recommend either reducing allowable shear capacities or installing extra fasteners if any fastener is more than 1/8” overdriven or if more than 20% of fasteners are overdriven between 1/16” and 1/8”. ...

    "Q. Do overdriven fasteners void the ZIP System® sheathing warranty or need to be taped over? A. Overdriven fasteners do not necessarily void the ZIP System sheathing warranty. However, when a fastener misses the framing and results in a “shiner” or if a fastener penetrates roughly half way or more through the panel, steps must be taken to seal these penetrations. Shiners should be removed and holes should be covered with ZIP System tape or ZIP System liquid flash. Fasteners that penetrate roughly half way or more through the panel should also be covered with tape or liquid flash."

    1. 88Clayton | | #7

      Thank you, Martin. I have found that document before. It will help me. Thanks for posting it here. I’m wondering if simply wrapping the house can accomplish the same thing? Oddly enough I might get more pushback in sealing every overdriven nail hole with tape/liquid flash than I would wrapping it with Tyvek.

      1. Expert Member
        Malcolm Taylor | | #9


        Wrapping the house will make the flashing easier, as it relies on laps rather than tape. Zip + house-wrap is a belt and suspenders approach. No harm in that.

        1. 88Clayton | | #11

          Thank you. Hoping it won’t void the Zip warranty.

  4. John Clark | | #10

    How annoying. The OP is essentially forced to follow the "third way" which is the most expensive when it comes to to making the decision between OSB/FOAM w/WRB or just ZIP-R.

    I'd be furious.

    1. 88Clayton | | #12

      Virtually all of my nails look like this. Some worse.

      1. GBA Editor
        Martin Holladay | | #13

        What solution is the contractor offering you?

        1. 88Clayton | | #19

          He hasn’t offered one yet. Just said he would ask the code inspector for a solution. That was over a week ago. The code guy may only care about structural aspect.

          1. David Hollman | | #20

            Isn't it a code violation to not follow manufacturer's installation instructions? Especially to such a blatant and egregious extent... maybe that could carry some weight.

      2. Expert Member
        Zephyr7 | | #14

        You might want to check that those nails are actually securing the zip panels enough to be safe in the long term. You can’t even see the nail heads in that pic, which makes me wonder if they’ve just blown completely through the OSB part of the zip panel and are only holding it by some trapped splinters.

        Sure looks like someone carelessly hung everything and never bothered to dial in their nail gun.


        1. 88Clayton | | #17

          I’m quite sure several are into the foam backing. When I say several, that could mean a couple hundred or more. It needs extra properly driven nails. These guys just machined gun them in at high pressure.

      3. Geir Gaseidnes | | #15

        I was going to say liquid flash for sure (simple to apply and smooth with a spreader)... until I saw this photo. I'd be more worried about the safety of this fastening schedule at this point. I'd get a second opinion out there. Perhaps call your local Huber rep?

        1. 88Clayton | | #16

          Good idea on calling the Huber rep.

  5. Walter Ahlgrim | | #18

    The way I see this fault is as a structural issue. ZipR is marginal as structural sheeting when install correctly now the panels are damaged, I doubt they can provide the strength needed to stop the wind from flattening your house. I think you need a letter from Huber’s structural engineer that the panels are sound or how they can be made sound.


    1. 88Clayton | | #21

      I have contacted Huber technical services for some help and advice. Hoping they return my call by the week’s end.

  6. Kevin Spellman | | #23

    When I looked into Zip-R, the nailing schedule was every 3" at the perimeter. That scared me off. In your case, with so many nails driven all the way through, I am not sure there is enough "meat" left to properly nail the perimeters. I think the whole edge would just come apart. I'd demand a "do over". The best training for an installer/contractor is taking money out of their wallet.

    1. 88Clayton | | #24

      Yeah, definitely a concern. Framers can add blocking to increase nailing surface, although that’s not ideal. Eats up more insulation space in the stud bay.

  7. Jon R | | #25

    Speculative, but steel strapping or OSB added to the interior side could add some missing structural strength. Self adhered vapor permeable WRB could solve both air and water intrusion issues.

  8. GBA Editor
    Peter Yost | | #26

    I just checked in with the tech team at Huber; they have been in contact with Clayton.

    Clayton, let us know how this all turns out for you, in terms of your two concerns: making your WRB continuous and assessing/correcting the structural performance given the fastener situation.


    1. 88Clayton | | #27

      That is true. I’ve had contact with two Huber reps. They are taking this seriously and have been helpful. One of the area reps, Brian has been great. He met me out on the job site and we did a thorough walkaround as I pointed issues out to him. He also noticed some things I had not seen and offered ideas on solutions.

      Nail spacing is pretty atrocious, sometimes no more than 1-2” apart in clusters of 5-6 overdriven nails. He agreed with me on the severity and thought it would be an airtightness issue as well as exposing the raw OSB to moisture. He recommends using longer strips of tape to cover rows of holes, rather than little pieces. He also suggested Zip Liquid flash as an alternative to the holes but said it would take longer.

      Where the tape edges are rolled inward, he recommends cutting it and using another length of tape to patch over it, ensuring a minimum 1” overhang above or below the seams.

      Since the framers improperly hung the outside Zip-R6 corners. It created a large notched gap, not flush. See attachment. They did the “not ok” method. To remedy, they stuck pieces of 1x in the gap to fill the void and in many instances, there is barely any tape sticking to the Zip board surface. The corner gap and 1x eats up the tape’s width. The framers used a single piece of Zip seam tape to span those corners, and as a consequence there is almost zero tape in many spots that actually adhere to the board. Zip requires a 1” minimum contact around/above/below all seams and corners. I will attach photos to illustrate muchnof this. The edge of the tape is barely onto the green board face, though it’s hard to see in photo.

      Judging by the lack of tape skills the crew exhibited, he did not recommend using 6” tape to fix the botched outside corners. Rather, he recommended two strips of the 3 1/2 inch zip tape because he thought it would be easier to manage and ensure the proper overhang.

      Inside corners are radiused, not pushed into the seam. He agreed with me that these should be cut, pushed in and a new strip of tape should be properly applied.

      The framers used Zip Stretch tape on my rough sills. Totally botched job. Mynbuilder ordered the wrong size. I really needed the 10” because 6” could not accomplish the 2x6 + R6 + minimum 1” overhang. The Stretch tape actually had holes ripped into it. They never pressed the tape into the sill corners. It sort of makes its way up to the jamb atba 45° angle. Horrible. Lots of gaps and edges curling under.

      I had beveled cedar siding ordered to create a sloped sill pan. Yes, they botched that too. About half were covered in Stretch Tape. The other half were not. They managed to make the beveled cedar siding concave on most pieces so that it will now hold water like a reservoir! When it’s not concave they managed to somehow make a 0° slope out of the rest. No outward drainage. I only saw one that actually created an outside slope. They also used nail guns which overdrove the nails so it split the wood on around half the pieces.

      This has to be one of the worst framing crews ever. I have a custom builder of some notoriety in my area. He’s built dozens of homes in a very respectable neighborhood full of custom upscale homes. I expected much better than this. They don’t really supervise the crews. Just unleash them for days at a time. I’m the only one catching this stuff as I make several visits per week. I was also told they were a “Zip crew” who had done Zip on other houses before. I’m paying a premium for this Zip crew. They are actually charging me more (“because it’s Zip”) to do a terrible job.

      The other Huber rep, who spoke to me on the phone, viewed several pictures I sent him and suggested a good housesrap job as a solution. The rep I met today, Brian, would rather see the tape rolled (it was never rolled) and fixed with more tape, cutting out the unsalvageable slop where necessary.

      Brian plans to provide me with a collar for their nail guns to help prevent overdriven nails. He also plans to drop off a real foam roller and maybe some tape to help me with all the do-over work needed.

      Much of the Stretch tape application is so bad it should just be pulled out. It’ll have to come out anyway due to how the beveled cedar sill pans were botched.

      Wait till you see the picture of the tape roller my builder provided the framers! I probably got charged for it too. Pretty laughable when you see it.

      I’m not a profane person, but every time I visit my job site I feel the urge to yell out curse words.

      Pictures forthcoming.

    2. 88Clayton | | #29

      The tape roller provided by my builder. No evidence of it being used.

      1. John Clark | | #53

        WTH !! It's ZIP Tape not @#!#-ing wallpaper!!!

    3. 88Clayton | | #30

      Sill pans. Look at the hole.

    4. 88Clayton | | #31

      Another sill pan picture

    5. 88Clayton | | #32

      Another sill pan angle. All over the house like this.

    6. 88Clayton | | #34

      Beveled cedar sill pan. Concave.

    7. 88Clayton | | #35


    8. 88Clayton | | #36

      No rolling. Gaps like this all over the house.

  9. 88Clayton | | #28

    How my corners looked. The “not ok” method.

    1. Expert Member
      Malcolm Taylor | | #33


      Broadening out this discussion - I wonder if there isn't a mismatch right now in what we are expecting framing crews to do? It always seemed problematic to me that we left installing the windows and doors to framers. It makes sense from a sequencing perspective, but it's not a great skill match. Now we are asking them to tape sheathing and apply membranes to rough openings.

      Framers like to frame buildings. They generally enjoy acquiring the skills associated with that. Some enjoy the craft associated with timber, or exposed framing. None I've ever met expressed an interest in WRBs, flashing or air-sealing.

      That's not an excuse for doing shoddy work, but I don't see any good from loading more unrelated tasks onto framers that don't have much in common with their primary skills.

      1. Expert Member
        Zephyr7 | | #37

        I agree, but hanging sheathing should be something framers can handle, and they certainly should know how not to overdrive nails! Taping is probably better handled by someone like an insulator or other crew that understands detail work.

        For the OP, maybe try getting someone higher up from your builder to come out to look at the site. Even someone with minimal construction experience will be able to see the botched tape job. If they’re charging your a premium for the work with zip, you should have some right to expect a quality job. Zip’s a good product and not that difficult to use, this looks to me like they just did a very rushed job.


        1. Expert Member
          Malcolm Taylor | | #39

          The problem may be a s simple as scale. Integrated crews who follow the whole build - like those typically working for high-performance builders like Hammer and Hand - don't seen to have these types of issues. They are committed to the building as a whole, not just their part in it. Larger projects (around here anyway) have dedicated crews that just tape, flash and install windows and doors. The small companies using sub-trades seem to be where the disconnect is. Again, I'm just trying to understand this, not excuse it.

          1. 88Clayton | | #40

            I understand where you’re going with this and agree. It’s a symptom of a flawed building culture.

          2. Expert Member
            Malcolm Taylor | | #41

            It sure doesn't have a great track record of adapting to new things, or ways of doing things.

      2. 88Clayton | | #38

        My builder is a smaller company that does 10-15 homes a year. I’ve been in weekly contact with him and was on site with him a week or two ago. Trying to educate him and get him to take some of this seriously. His project manager, who has failed to sufficiently supervise the the framing crew had “never heard of rolling the tape” and “never heard of a J-roller”. Apparently he’s never looked at Zip tape before, which has “ROLL THE TAPE” printed all over it.

        I really need to find somebody different to install my windows. They are nice windows.

  10. Keith Gustafson | | #42

    I am hoping you will not have to find somebody different to finish your house.

    I think you need to document these failures to the building inspector, in writing, before he starts buying the 'problem homoaner' narrative.

    A builder frequently has multiple crews, you got the worst one.

    Personally the windows is only one thing I would not want them touching

    1. 88Clayton | | #43

      I agree. I’m meeting with my builder on Tuesday and will be asking for different window installers.

  11. Mark Harrison | | #44

    I had a similar problem, though not as bad. The nails were overdriven by about 1/8", and were 8 in. O.C. instead of 4 in. O.C.

    Instead of arguing about it, we just put up a boatload of diagonal metal wall braces on the inside. Not too expensive, and I didn't really trust the structural properties of the Zip-R anyway.

    BTW, we got a good blower-door test. No problem there.

    1. 88Clayton | | #45

      Are you talking about metal strapping? Can you be a little more specific in the locations, please?

  12. Kevin Spellman | | #46

    I have given up on expecting quality work. I just do it myself as much as possible. Our siding crew was using zip tape on the drip cap flashing. I repeatedly asked them to roll it. On Friday I even handed them the roller while they were up on ladders applying the tape. I come back in 5 minutes, roller on the ground, tape not rolled. Their boss shows up, yells at them in Spanish, and gets up there and does it himself. I did most of the other spots on the house as they went along. It's crazy.

  13. Mark Harrison | | #47

    Hi BB

    Yes, we used flat metal strapping. It lays flat against the studs and the dry wall goes right over it.

    Ideally, each bearing wall gets two braces, one slanting in each direction. If you can, try to think through the likely location future plumbing and any electrical boxes before you place them.

    1. 88Clayton | | #48

      Nice. I’ve seen this done around window DO and doors. Do you strap together intersecting T-walls, or just perimeter framing?

    2. Alan Afsari | | #49

      Can you just just use metal strapping on the outside of the studs (like in the shape of a big “X” - corner to corner (around windows)) and skip the osb/plywood/or zip sheathing? Fasten polyiso board (appropriately thick per climate zone) directly to the studs over the straps?

      1. Patrick OSullivan | | #50

        Mike Guertin pointed out something interesting in his high performance building workshop at JLC Live this past March. The prescriptive design options in the IRC assume no structural sheathing. So it comes down to whether a given building is being designed using those prescriptive components or if a design professional is stamping something they've independently determined to be sufficient.

        Either way, it's possible to design a structure so you're not relying on the exterior sheathing to meet code requirements.

  14. MCShaw | | #51

    I'm about to embark on a new build with Zip-R and this is scaring the heck out of me. I had planned to print and post the Huber jobsite posters around the site, but maybe I need to do more to ensure quality installation.

    1. 88Clayton | | #52

      Yes, show up every day. Catch them early. Hold a meeting with crew to demonstrate the basic techniques before beginning the sheathing. Stay on them. Show them yourself or bring an iPad and view a high quality video that gets to the point. Make sure they tape correctly as they go along so they don’t mess it up on an area difficult to reach later, serving as discouragment when needing to fix it.

      Review corner details and taping details.

      Sad to say, it’s yet another burden to endure, but use a Spanish interpreter if necessary.

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