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Community and Q&A

Fastening Zip R Sheathing

mclola | Posted in General Questions on


For our exterior home remodel, we have decided to use Zip R with insulation (R9) which is 2 inches thick and have heard that 3.5 or 4 inch nails will be needed to imbed at least 1.5 inches of the nail into the wood stud.

My contractor does not have a nail gun that would accommodate these longer nails, and I am looking for suggestions on pneumatic nail guns that would accept 3.5 to 4 inch nails that are a minimum of 0.131 diameter and

Also, with the use of  Zip sheathing, am I correct in assuming the siding would need to be nailed directly into the 2 x 4 studs or can it go right into the plywood portion of the the Zip R9 product?


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  1. Expert Member
    Akos | | #1

    Most (all?) standard framing nailers can take 3.5" nails. They are harder to find but not impossible, might be a special order.

    Most siding can be nailed directly to the 7/16" OSB skin on the ZIP. Check your siding manufacturers installation requirements.

    For most painted siding you get much longer finish life if you install it over a rainscreen. This can be as simple as 3/8" or 1/2" plywood strips. A bit of extra cost and labor but saves on maintenance down the road. It also adds a lot of extra drying capacity to your wall which is a good idea in any rainy climate.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #2


      I just finished re-siding a dormer. Including a rain-screen added maybe 30 minutes to the job.

      1. mclola | | #6

        Very nice!

    2. Deleted | | #4


    3. mclola | | #5

      Thank you for all of this information. We will check with the siding manufacturers' installation requirements. The idea of rainscreens is new to me (and my contractor) - but this is definitely something that sounds worthwhile! I am surprised it isn't part of the building code here.

  2. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #3

    This is the nailgun I've seen recommended the most: Apparently it's so powerful that it's hard to keep nail heads set at the correct depth. Some builders have custom-made a gadget that helps with that but I don't have details on it. I avoid Zip-R for this reason, though in concept and quality I think it's a good product. I wonder how many installations are out there without proper-length nails?

    As for siding nails, it depends on the product. Check manufacturer's installation requirements.

  3. mclola | | #7

    Thanks for the information on the nailgun, Michael. I will have my contractor look into this. Also, good to know about the difficulty keeping the nail heads set at a correct depth with it.

  4. bigred | | #8

    Unfortunately, too many contractors don't care about dialing in their nail guns and just blast away. I went the extra mile when I did my siding by first spending time with a scrap of R-zip and a 2x4 to get the gun to sit flush with the sheathing. even with that we still liquid-flashed every nail penetration, over kill, but it was mostly my labor. I would still insist on any over-driven nails be liquid flashed and be there when they start the sheathing to make sure they aren't overdriving everything.

    1. mclola | | #9

      Hi Eric,
      That's good advice. I plan on being present, at least in the beginning, for the Zip installation.

      What R value of Zip did you use, and are you happy with your choice?

  5. BirchwoodBill | | #10

    Having a similar issue in Zone 6 A with ZIP R-12. The documentation shows a 1.5 inch into the studs for structural integrity,.which requires 4.0 inches. Huber needs to indicate which nailers meet that specification!

  6. mclola | | #11

    I have asked the local representative for Huber, and so far I haven't gotten any feedback regarding this.

  7. dennis_vab | | #12

    Has anyone looked into the cost of zip r12. I would guess it is outrageous right now. Might be a better idea to put 2” of rigid outside of plain 7/16” zip.

    One issue I have hear of with the zip r12 is that it compressed the edges. One builder posted that when he ended up installing siding he shimmed the map siding at these locations to have a flat wall.

  8. ngodwod | | #13

    @Dennis_vab Zip-R 12 is about $4.30 sq/ft without crazy amounts of sheathing.
    Im currently working on building a house and will be using Zip-r12 in zone 6a. Nailboard panels for roof as well.

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