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Community and Q&A

The Cost of Building Materials in 2021: Are Fiberglass-Faced Gypsum Panels a Viable Alternative to Zip Sheathing?

foles | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Fiberglass-faced gypsum panels have been mentioned in several GBA articles when being considered as sheathing in a double stud wall assembly. My understanding is that they are advantageous due to their outward drying potential. When integrated with an all-in-one WRB, they should perform similar to ZIP sheathing except having greater permeance and weaker shear strength. I don’t actually know what the price of these gypsum products are, but I suspect they’re becoming more attractive due to the current price of wood sheet material. Are there any pros out there considering gypsum sheathing now more than a year ago? Curious because I’ll be building my own double stud pretty good house soon in British Columbia (6B).

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  1. Expert Member


    It's similar to Zip except that it can't be used as a base to secure siding or trim. That means a bit more forethought when framing to provide blocking for incidental trim around penetrations and openings, etc. Nothing major, just something to be aware of.

  2. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #2

    This is just the kind of question I have been keeping an eye out for, Adam. I'm glad you posed it. I'm working on an article about the cost of building materials in 2021, the factors contributing to the hike, and alternatives builders are using in response. The idea came from another reader's question: Buying Sheathing in 2021. I've been compiling readers' thoughts and comments. I hope your question furthers the conversation. It's all very compelling, in my opinion. As we know, constraint leads to innovation--especially when talking about cost. Thanks for contributing. I look forward to seeing what others have to say . . .

  3. margie_lynch | | #3

    We're actively considering this for my project (I'm the owner, not builder) primarily due to fire resistance advantages over wood, but my panel supplier reports it might be easier to procure than wood.

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