Replacing a home’s exterior such as siding and window trim is a great way to improve its curb appeal and resale value. In fact, according to the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report put out by Remodeling Magazine, 76.7 percent of the cost to replace the siding is recouped upon resale.

Removing the old siding also gives homeowners the opportunity to improve the homes energy efficiency by adding a high-quality house wrap, like Barricade® Building Wrap, to the exterior of the home. When properly installed, house wrap protects a home against air and water leaks. When remodeling the exterior of a home, the correct application of house wrap around the existing windows and doors is particularly critical to preventing moisture and air intrusion and ensuring an energy-efficient, durable and healthy home.

Water- and air-tight windows and doors in homes and buildings is critical in stopping the accumulation of moisture in the wall system and achieving an energy-efficient structure. A buildup of moisture within a structures wall cavities is a serious problem because moisture can lead to wood rot (caused by fungi) and costly repairs. High moisture also leads to the growth of mold, which is unhealthy for the occupants of the building.

Unwanted air infiltration reduces the effective R-value of the wall assembly and reduces the air quality and energy-efficiency of a home or building. During an exterior remodel, correct installation of house wrap around existing windows and doors is essential to controlling unwanted air and moisture intrusion into the wall system.

What is House Wrap?

House wrap is a synthetic material that goes over the wall sheathing and behind the siding (vinyl, wood, stucco, brick, or fiber cement siding). A building’s first defense against air and water infiltration is the siding. House wrap is a building’s secondary defense against air and water penetration. House wrap is also the backup barrier that keeps water off the framing and structural sheathing and prevents air movement through the wall system.

A crucial attribute of house wrap is its microscopic pores that permit water vapor to pass through; however, the pores are too small for air and bulk water. Without these microscopic pores, moisture would accumulate in the wall cavity.

Installing house wrap not only helps create a high-performing building but helps the structure meet the International Building Codes (IBC) minimum requirements for exterior walls. According to the IBC 1403.2, exterior walls shall provide the building with a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope, including a manner to stop water from accumulating within the wall assembly by providing a water-resistive barrier behind the exterior veneer.

When properly installed, house wrap protects a building against air and water intrusions. House wrapping a structure creates an energy-efficient, healthy, and comfortable building.

Installing House Wrap Around Existing Windows

Properly installing new house wrap around existing windows and doors, in accordance to manufacture instruction, will reduce air and moisture intrusion and contribute towards a healthy, durable, energy-efficient home or building. Follow these steps to properly install wrap around windows:

  1. Secure Barricade® firmly in place over the entire wall, including the window and door openings, by fastening the wrap every 12-18 inches along the vertical studs using large-headed or plastic-cap nails, or minimum 1-inch crown staples.
  2. Apply all layers of wrap shingle style, where the top layers of a surface overlap the bottom layers. It is acceptable to install Barricade® Building Wrap over wood-based, foam-insulation, or fiberboard sheathing, and exterior gypsum board.
  3. Along the top of the window or door, create a top flap. The head flashing is installed under this flap and over the flange.
  4. To allow moisture to escape, the bottom of the window is not flashed.
  5. On both sides of the window or door, trim the wrap close to the window or door flange. Secure the wrap to the flange with tape or caulk. Install side flashing over the wrap.
  6. Install head flashing and extend out 3-4 inch to each side. Tape the flap from step 2 over the flashing. Please note that tape and caulk are only for securing purposes and should not be used as flashing material.

More Techniques for Preventing Water Window and Door Leaks

When properly installed, house wrap around a window or door can prevent moisture intrusion; however, there are several other techniques to stop water intrusion to the wall system near windows and doors.

  1. Including overhangs over the windows and doors of a home or building creates shade, drains water from the roof, and keeps wind-driven rainwater from pushing into the walls through the windows and doors.
  2. Ensure the flashing is installed correctly and in one continuous piece.
  3. Apply a continuous bead of sealant behind the flange.
  4. Utilize corrosion resistant nails. Fill nail holes with sealant.
  5. Replace cracked glazing putty around the windows and doors.
  6. When painting the exterior molding of a window, create a paint seal by slightly overlapping the paint onto the glass. The paint forms a continuous membrane (seal) from the molding to the glass.