Gypsum Exterior Sheathing: The First Line of Defense
Great installations start with a layer of protection. CertainTeed glass mat panel sheathing products are manufactured with the highest standards of quality and consistency, are easy to install, and provide a weather-resistant barrier for exterior walls that keep buildings safe from harsh elements.
An evolution from traditional wood boards, our sheathing products have moisture and mold-resistant properties to help protect the structure, ensuring safe and long-lasting builds.
What Is Sheathing?
Sheathing is used in both residential and commercial construction. It refers to boards or panels that line the walls, floor, and roof. While exterior sheathing is made from several types of materials, the basic function remains the same: create a surface on which other materials can be placed to increase the stability of the home while providing increased insulation.
Types of Sheathing
There are two main types of wall sheathing: structural and non-structural. While structural sheathing increases building stability, non-structural sheathing improves insulation.
Wall sheathing is primarily a structural material. It is attached to the exterior wall framing and prevents walls from swaying or bending. Builders use sheathing as a nailing base for siding, creating the walls of a building.
Non-structural sheathing can be applied to the exterior wall of a building, and is called “insulating sheathing” because it blocks wind and water from entering the home.
There are many exterior wall sheathing options available, with wood sheathing being one of the most commonly used materials. Wood sheathing materials include plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), and waferboard.
Plywood is made of whole sheets of wood that are cross-laminated. This increases the stiffness of the material and gives it strength. Plywood is known for its light weight and moisture-resistance.
Oriented strand board (OSB) is made from hundreds of thin wood strands that are hot pressed together with a wax and resin adhesive. This wall sheathing is dense, without the soft spots that come with plywood. It is typically less expensive than plywood, making it a popular option because of its durability and cost.
Waferboard is made by pressing small pieces of wood scraps into a hydraulic press and gluing them together. It is the least expensive wood sheathing option, but is also the weakest and least water-resistant.
A popular alternative to wood sheathing is gypsum-based sheathing, also known as drywall or plasterboard. It offers more durability than wood sheathing and is more economical.
We’ve developed GlasRoc® exterior wall sheathing provides water-resistance, fire-resistance, and mold- and moisture-resistance. Our product is also compatible with exterior wall systems and cuts like regular gypsum. GlasRoc® is a lightweight and durable option for your exterior sheathing board.
Choosing the Right Sheathing
There are multiple factors to consider when choosing the best sheathing material. Along with budget and structural safety requirements, you also need to review the climate conditions and environmental threats in your area. Houses in humid regions need more moisture control options, while buildings in hurricane zones and high-wind areas will need extra reinforcement.
You also need to consider the materials you plan to attach to the wall sheathing. Brick, stucco, and wood siding all have different requirements, and react to sheathing materials in their own ways.
The sheathing you choose significantly impacts the comfort and durability of a structure. By opting for wall sheathing that insulates your home from wind and moisture, you are creating a living space that provides comfort and safety.