Uses for Rosin Paper

Use rosin paper behind drywall to prevent air and moisture movement.
Use rosin paper behind drywall to prevent air and moisture movement. (Image: nightfrost/iStock/Getty Images)

Protective sheathing is an essential tool in most residential and commercial building situations. Rosin paper is a single-ply construction sheathing used in a variety of applications ranging from roofing to floors to painting. Because it is composed of 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials, it is often chosen over plastic sheathing. The paper is sold in rolls. For general household construction, most rolls are sized to cover 500 square feet.

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Wall and Floor Construction

During much of the twentieth century rosin paper was used as a house wrap. After a house was framed, rosin paper was wrapped around the outside walls prior to the attachment of siding, bricks or cedar shingles. It prevented the movement of wind, dust and moisture. It has since been replaced by plastic house wrap in this particular application, but still serves this purpose in interior walls. You can use rosin paper as a barrier between insulation and drywall, for instance. You can also use it as a slip-sheet between a subfloor and wood flooring to block dust and prevent squeaking that might otherwise occur if the subfloor and wood floor were allowed to come into direct contact.

Roofing

Rosin paper is often used in built-up and metal roofing applications both in residential and commercial settings. Because the paper is economical, compatible with coal tar and is specifically designed to resist bleeding and the movement of air and moisture, it is often used as an intermediary protective layer between roofing felt and shingles. It also prevents coal tar and asphalt from dripping into a building during construction. Rosin paper is not suitable for all roofing applications. Consult the specifications on the roll before using it on your roof.

Painting

Rosin paper can be used as a drop cloth in painting applications to prevent splatter and drips from coming into contact with flooring, countertops and furniture. It handles light adhesives well, and can therefore be used in conjunction with painter's tape to cover vertical surfaces such as windows and doors prior to painting. Because it does not tear easily, it can also be reused in this application as you move from room to room.

Tips and Additional Information

Rosin paper is also commonly used as general purpose protective sheathing. If you are performing home renovations, for instance, you can lay rosin paper over furniture and other surfaces to protect them from becoming inundated with dust. It is also useful as a protective layer on floors as it resists debris and wears well under heavy foot traffic. While plastic drop sheets are often used in these applications, rosin paper is more environmentally friendly. It can also be recycled again after your construction project is finished.

In most locations rosin paper must be taken to a recycling center rather than put out with general recycling materials by the curb. Consult your local recycling guidelines for more information.

Certain rosin papers have a polyurethane coating designed to repel moisture. Consult the specifications on a particular rosin paper product before using it as a protective layer in an application where you need to prevent the movement of water particles.

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