If you install housewrap, or supervise those who do, there’s a good chance the flashing you use to seal-up round plumbing, electric, HVAC, and other penetrations falls into one of four categories. Each category has its fans and critics. Which one of the four wins your vote?

What makes this bake-off especially timely is word of a new way to seal-up exterior wall penetrations that combines some aspects of the four:

  • Traditional Flashing Tape. Old reliable, especially if all you have to work with is flashing tape. Taping-up a penetration may not be the most elegant, reliable, or even fastest approach, but no disputes its convenience.
  • Flexible Flashing Tape. A good solution that’s often recommended by housewrap manufacturers. With a patient, careful hand, the seal can be quite good. The issue for some is flexible flashing tape takes several steps to prep the tape, apply, roll, and properly affix it to the housewrap. The elastic nature of the tape means it is always subject to tape pullback, increasing the risk of water intrusion and callback issues.
  • Liquid-Applied Flashing. A good premium-quality solution. A liquid-applied sealer is seamless and cures water-tight. Proper application, however, is critical. The premium price often makes other value-priced options a better fit.
  • Boot Panel Flashing. A good solution for speed and simplicity. Just align and press the prefabricated flashing panel over the penetration. The tight rubber grommet automatically seals the penetration without tape or caulk. However, even this method has a downside: The plastic frame surrounding the grommet must be taped to the housewrap. Taping two unlike materials together with tape engineered and warranted for housewrap-to-housewrap applications may be asking for trouble.

Many pros today may welcome an alternative method that’s getting good early buzz.

It’s a new weather-tight housewrap boot panel that includes a self-sealing rubber grommet that makes it a snap to seal-up penetrations with any building envelope system (no more taping different materials). According to the manufacturer, Tamlyn, the patented boot panel seals penetrations sized from 1/8-inch to 4-inches across. The boot panel is available with a breathable membrane.

There may be no silver bullet for flashing exterior wall penetrations. But GCs, installing contractors, and anyone in search of a better way to seal-up exterior wall penetrations without the usual issues, may find this alternative well worth a look.

To learn more about the housewrap boot panel, called Pro Flash Boot, and where to buy, check here: www.tamlyn.com.