House wrap is an air barrier that creates an airtight structure by stopping air flow through a building’s envelope. A lack of air tightness lowers the effective R-value1 of the wall assembly and reduces the energy-efficiency and air quality of a building. A building’s first defense against air infiltration is typically the siding. However, many sidings have small gaps and cracks in the joints where siding panels line up that lead to air infiltration.
House wrap is the backup barrier to siding that further prevents unwanted air flow into the wall’s cavities. For a house wrap to stop air flow, it should be continuous over the entire building enclosure. House wrap must also withstand the forces that act on it during and after construction and be durable over the lifetime of the building. Unfortunately, there are several reasons a house wrap can leak after installation.
House wrap has several important qualities that make it an essential and required feature of today’s high-performance buildings. House wrap is a breathable barrier that keeps water out and allows water vapor to flow, which keeps the wall sheathing dry. House wrap also improves energy-efficiency by stopping air from infiltrating through the walls.
Maximizing the air barrier potential of house wrap requires the use of a quality house wrap, along with skilled house wrap installers. A quality house wrap should have high-tear and tensile strength, UV stability, cold resistance and ease of installation, which will limit damage and errors during construction.
A house wrap should withstand the handling and application process without becoming damaged. The tear resistance, or tensile strength of the product, is the best measure of the likeliness of the house wrap to tear, rip or get damaged during construction. A high-tear resistant house wrap is also strong enough to hold up during strong winds and weather events.
Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can cause the house wrap to photo-degrade, discolor, break or split and loss water repellency. Excessive cold may also damage house wrap. A quality house wrap must be both UV and cold resistant.
Ease of installation of a house wrap can improve the chances of creating a leak-proof building. An air leak can occur if a house wrap is damaged or not installed correctly. Creating an airtight building requires proper wrapping and sealing of the house wrap, utilizing correct fasteners, and fixing damaged areas of the house wrap. Choosing an easy to install house wrap will limit problems during construction and lessen the chance of air leaks after installation.
Barricade® Building Wraps Create Airtight Buildings
Barricade® Building Wraps are high-quality house wraps that create airtight buildings. Barricade® Building Wrap is tear resistant, UV resistant and easy to install.
Properly installed, high-quality house wraps can help stop the air flow across a building’s envelope and create an airtight, high-performance building. A quality house wrap must be tear, UV, and cold resistant, and easy to install. Visit Barricade Building Products for more information on why house wraps leak.
1The effective R-value of a building’s wall assembly is a measure of its resistance to airflow.