5 Popular DensGlass Alternatives (Explained)

In any construction project, sheathing often serves several purposes. It provides a foundation for materials and offers protection.

There are many sheathing products in the market and DensGlass stands out as one of the best. This fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing is durable and is well known for its moisture and mold resistance.

DensGlass sheathing creates a remarkable air and water barrier which ensures your structure is adequately protected from the elements. It is fire-resistant and can be used with a wide range of materials.

As beneficial as DensGlass sheathing is, it has some potential drawbacks. For instance, most DIYourselfers struggle with installing DensGlass sheathing.

It also doesn’t hold siding fasteners. Because of these issues and many others, you should check out some of the DensGlass alternatives and see if you can find a better solution.

In this article, we will list some popular DensGlass alternatives and highlight some of the areas where they perform better.

DensGlass
Danazar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Popular DensGlass Alternatives

• Plywood

When DensGlass was introduced, a lot of people thought that it would wipe out plywood sheathing from the construction industry. However, years later, plywood sheathing is still popular and it’s the main alternative to DensGlass.

Plywood falls under wood-based sheathings. It’s in the same category as OSB and waferboard. Plywood sheathing is made from several sheets of wood that have been cross-laminated using a hot press.

May homeowners and builders love plywood sheathing because it offers decent moisture resistance and it dries pretty fast. Due to this feature, plywood sheathing is to some extent resistant to mold development or condensation.

Another perk of using plywood sheathing is that it doesn’t swell. So, this makes it a pretty reliable sheathing product.

Compared to DensGlass, plywood is made of wood whereas the former is made out of glass fibers that are bonded together using acrylic.

Material-wise, plywood is more breathable as it has holes in between. Still from the material difference, plywood is lighter and easier to work with. DensGlass is much heavier.

On a head-to-head basis, DensGlass and Plywood each have some advantages. Even though plywood is a popular alternative to DensGlass, the latter remains to be a better option in terms of durability, cost, fire, and water resistance.

• Gypsum

The other alternative to DensGlass is gypsum sheathing. Gypsum is also a popular construction material. Sheathing made out of gypsum is water-resistant and fire-resistant. Therefore, it’s a whole lot similar to DensGlass fiberglass mat gypsum.

Another similarity that makes it a suitable alternative to gypsum is its versatility. Gypsum sheathing can be used as an underlayment for stucco, veneer, shingles, siding, metal, and even wood.

A gypsum sheathing product is often layered with water-repellent paper on both sides. As we all know, gypsum crumbled when it’s soaked with water.

Besides that, gypsum is pretty thick and that reinforces the overall structure of the building. Make sure that you go for a gypsum sheathing that is free of asbestos because it will be safer.

Unlike DensGlass which contains fiberglass which can scratch your skin during installation, gypsum is safe to touch.

There are plenty of similarities between DensGlass and gypsum sheathing no wonder it’s an ideal alternative. Gypsum sheathing and DensGlass are both affordable, fire/water resistant, and easy to install.

However, regarding durability, DensGlass beats by gypsum sheathing by far. This is something that you should take note of when shopping for a suitable alternative to DensGlass. You should also know that gypsum boards are vulnerable to impact.

• CemPlate Fiber Cement Sheathing

Many people are familiar with DensGlass and plywood sheathing. Even though fiber cement sheathing isn’t as popular, it’s very effective at protecting a building from weather elements and fire. Fiber cement sheathing also offers soundproofing, a feature that lacks in most sheathing materials.

CemPlate’s fiber cement sheathing can be used as sheathing on a steel frame, modular, or timber frame. Besides protecting you against weather elements, fiber cement sheathing promotes better stability to the overall construction.

The presence of fiber and cement makes it one of the most durable sheathing products in the market. It works well even under freezing temperatures. As a DensGlass alternative, fiber cement sheathing is way more stable and environmentally friendly.

There are a couple of reasons why you should consider fiber cement sheathing as a DensGlass alternative. It is resistant to moisture, water, fire, and UV rays.

It is very easy to cut and dirt-proof. Unlike DensGlass which contains fiberglass, fiber cement sheathing is free of any harmful materials or gases.

It’s odorless and highly resistant to impact. You can also use this sheathing to promote insulation. However, you will need several boards.

The CemPlate is a hidden gem amongst sheathing products, give it a try and you won’t be disappointed. Before we move on to another sheathing material, CemPlate can be used both on interior and exterior walls.

• Thermo-Brace

If the above DensGlass alternatives don’t seem ideal, you can consider Barricade’s Thermo-Brace. This isn’t your typical sheathing.

It’s made from high-quality long fibers that have been treated to resist water and moisture barriers. If you need a DensGlass alternative that will lock moisture away from your home, these two options are excellent choices.

Besides protecting the interior of your home, Thermo-Brace sheathing also offers some insulation. It is a high-performance sheathing that is easy to handle and install.

There are nail patterns located on the surface that make it easier for you to know where to hammer them.

Something that I like about this DensGlass alternative is that you can get it in measurements of up to 12 feet in length. That can speed up the installation if you are working in large areas.

For construction projects that are still ongoing, there are reflective foil facings that will repel UV rays. Thermo-Brace sheathing may not be as popular as DensGlass but it is worth considering.

• OSB Sheathing

The last DensGlass alternative on our list is the OSB sheathing. This material has been used as a sheathing for years. And that’s all thanks to the many properties it possesses.

OSB sheathing is made from cross-oriented layers of rectangular-shaped wood. OSB shares a lot of similarities with plywood. That’s because they are all made out of wood.

OSB sheathing is an ideal DensGlass alternative in the following ways. For one, it is stronger. An OSB sheathing can withstand strong winds. It is produced in significantly sized mats that make installation pretty easy.

The only problem with OSB is that it swells when exposed to too much moisture. This is an area where DensGlass outperforms OSB.

Swelling can lead to serious problems in the future. And considering that sheathing isn’t something you can easily replace. You need to think twice before using OSB on a property where a lot of rainfall is experienced.

What is the Best DensGlass Alternative?

The ideal alternative for DensGlass depends on your current situation and sheathing needs. all the above options are suitable DensGlass alternatives but they differ in properties.

If you are interested in the best option, I would highly recommend fiber cement sheathing followed by gypsum.

You should also know that some options such as fiber cement aren’t as widely available as plywood and OSB. You may have to order and wait for a while before they are delivered.

How to Identify the Best DensGlass Alternative?

One of the key areas DensGlass sheathing fails is that it’s not easy to work with. The alternative you should consider should be the exact opposite.

That is, it should be easy to work with. At the same time, you shouldn’t overlook properties such as water/moisture/fire resistance.

You should also consider durability and insulation. If you can get a sheathing that will help soundproof your home, that will be an added advantage.

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