A partially constructed house with a green exterior is shown on a sunny day in Madison, WI. The wooden framing is visible, and the roof is incomplete. A "Sold" sign stands in front, and various construction materials are scattered around the muddy front yard, indicating ongoing exterior renovations.

Zip System – The new way to build

Have you driven around your neighborhood lately and seen these green sided homes with black stripes going up anywhere? If you have you’re not alone. Zip Systems is the new way to add exterior sheathing to your home as well as sealing your new home without having to wrap it in white Tyvek house wrap. Zip Systems takes care of all of this in one application.

Zip System isn’t that new but it has gained a great deal of builder support recently because the time it takes to add the sheathing is simple, and to tape the seams is even easier. Zip panels are just like OSB boards with a coating on the exterior that acts as a rain and wind guard. It lasts forever and the weight is negligible compared to regular OSB sheathing.  I had my chance to use the Zip System for the first time and I have to say that this is an amazing product.  I tore out the side of our garage and added a bumper and instead of using regular OSB I used the Zip System.

The beauty of Zip Systems is that they have designed a roof system as well. It’s the same system and design as the wall panels. The going rate as far as a percentage of time saved is 40% which is substantial considering you can install the panels with one person. The other benefit of this system is the green vapor barrier application on the exterior is formed right into the panel building process which means you can’t peel off the green water-resistant material on the exterior. No more house wrap and no more felt.

All in all, Zip System is an option that has arrived and with modern building advancements in just about every aspect of your home, weather sealing your home is one of the most energy-efficient ways to improve the quality of your interior with just a small added price of using the Zip System.


The average cost of a 4x8x 1/2″ sheet of Zip Sheathing cost about $25.00 where if you used an OSB chipboard you would pay around $19.00 for the same dimensions. However, you would have to buy the Tyvek house wrap that would make the price just about even. The only downside to the Zip system is the tape as that is a little pricey but very easy to apply.

The time and eas cost is factored into the product but not as a monetary value so if you had the time the Zip System is going to be 25% more expensive but it’s a better product.