A required feature of modern multifamily buildings is energy-efficiency. Critical to an energy-efficient building is a tight building envelope, which requires a high-quality air and moisture barrier, like Barricade® Wrap Plus. Barricade Wrap Plus resists bulk water, controls air and moisture infiltration, and prevents moisture build up in the wall assembly. Constructing a multifamily building with Barricade Wrap Plus helps ensure the structure is energy-efficient, durable, and good for the environment.

Multifamily Housing is on the Rise in the United States

Multifamily starts, completions, and permits have steadily increased since 2011, after dropping significantly because of the 2008 recession. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report all times highs the past four years for permits, starts, and completions of multifamily housing with five or more units. In November of 2018, there were 441,000 multifamily permits, 417,000, multifamily starts, and 314,000 multifamily completions.

Multifamily housing is appealing to young people and empty nesters for a variety of reasons. Multifamily housing is typically more affordable and safe. Also, many multifamily complexes have amenities, like pools, gyms, and clubhouses. Living in multifamily housing also eliminates numerous household and yard chores, which increases free time and saves money.

Energy-Efficient Features Vital to Multifamily Residents

Many people are interested in living in smaller spaces that use less energy, require less commuting time, and are better for the environment. Notably, a 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report found that 61 percent of renters were interested or very interested in living in an energy efficient or sustainable apartment building. Moreover, renters are willing to pay an extra $27.21 a month in rent to live in green certified or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building. Renters are drawn to  LEED-certified multifamily buildings because they are healthy, highly energy-efficient and cost-saving.

An alternative energy-efficiency rating for multifamily mid- and high-rise buildings is the ENERGY STAR program. Energy Star certification requires the design of a multifamily complex, a new or substantially rehabilitated to be at least 15 percent more energy–efficient than MFHR buildings built to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air–Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1–2007.

In response to the current trends towards energy-efficient-multifamily living, contractors and architects are challenged to build and design high-performing multifamily complexes that are durable, energy-efficient, comfortable, and have good indoor air quality (IAQ). One essential component to achieving these characteristics is the application of a high-quality air- and water-resistive barrier (WRB) to the building’s envelope.

Air and Water-Resistive Barriers for Multifamily Construction

A WRB shields the walls of a multifamily building from water and air infiltration, along with moisture accumulation within the wall assembly. High quality, vapor-permeable WRBs ensure a multifamily building is durable, energy-efficient, comfortable, and has good indoor air quality (IAQ).

Vital elements of a WRB for an energy-efficient multifamily structure include air- and moisture-resistance, permeability, high tear strength, and ultraviolet (UV)-, cold-, and surfactant-resistance. The WRB should also be simple to install and durable so to limit damage during installation.

Characteristics of a High-Performing Air and Water Barrier for Multifamily Construction

  • The WRB’s air barrier stops air infiltration and exfiltration through the walls and promotes an energy-efficient multifamily building.
  • The moisture barrier quality of the WRB protects the sheathing and lessens water intrusion into the wall cavities.
  • The vapor permeability of the WRB allows water or moisture to escape the wall system, thus allowing any damp materials to dry in a short amount of time.
  • A WRB must provide an integrated gap and drainage plane to further reduce moisture infiltration to the wall system due to bulk water, like rain.
  • A WRB for a multifamily housing unit should have high tear strength and resistance to UV, cold, and surfactants. These features ensure the WRB maintains its durability before and after installation.

Barricade® Wrap Plus – an Ideal WRB for Multifamily Construction


Barricade Wrap Plus House Wrap


Barricade Wrap Plus is an effective WRB for multifamily construction. Barricade Wrap Plus is a non-perforated, non-woven polyolefin product with a permeable and microporous membrane. When applied to the entire structure, the membrane controls air and moisture infiltration, yet its permeability lets moisture vapor evaporate, should it make its way inside the wall assembly. In addition, Barricade Wrap Plus film acts as an effective drainage plane that resists bulk water.

Seven characteristics that make Barricade Wrap Plus a good choice for a WRB for a multifamily building.

  1. Water Resistance – Three tests measure a house wrap’s water resistance.  ASTM D779 (boat test), CCMC 07102 (pond test), and AATCC Test Method 127. Barricade Wrap Plus passes all these tests.
  2. Air Resistance – Barricade Wrap Plus as an air barrier material is in accordance with IRC Section N1102.4.1 and IECC Section 402.4 and 502.4.
  3. UV Inhibitors – Barricade Wrap Plus can withstand nine months of UV-exposure without damage occurring.
  4. Tear Strength – Barricade Wrap Plus has a tear-resistant design with superior strength.
  5. Barricade Wrap Plus is temperature resistance -AC38 Section 3.3.4: (Cold Mandrel Bend Test) ensures the material will not crack at low temperatures.
  6. Barricade Wrap Plus is surfactant resistant.
  7. Barricade Wrap Plus is permeable with a perm rating of 16.

Residents of modern multifamily buildings demand the structures are energy-efficient and sustainable. Key to an energy-efficient structure is a tight building envelope, which requires a high-quality air and moisture barrier, like Barricade Wrap Plus.

Application of Barricade® Wrap Plus to a multifamily building ensures the structure is energy-efficient, durable, and good for the environment.