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Old 03-22-2011, 09:31 PM   #1
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caulk sheathing??


Hi all.
I'm just about done sheathing my addition with OSB. I nailed up the OSB horizontally, with a 11" filler strip in the middle. There are a few small gaps, maybe 1/4' or so. Probably caused by my inability to cut a straight line. House wrap is going on next. Should I caulk the gaps? If so, with what?

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Old 03-23-2011, 04:36 AM   #2
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caulk sheathing??


No, you do not caulk the sheathing but the horizontal seam should be blocked and nailed off to achieve full perimeter nailing.

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Old 03-23-2011, 06:31 AM   #3
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caulk sheathing??


It would not hurt to cover the seams with tape before installing housewrap.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:58 PM   #4
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caulk sheathing??


Wrong gap to worry about; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...d%20in%20walls

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Old 04-22-2012, 09:32 AM   #5
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caulk sheathing??


IF you are not going to use spray foam insulation I would highly recommend caulking such a gap. Granted you do need blocking to seam your sheathing together four feet in from each corner. Fiberglass insulation does not stop air flow. This means that if air can enter the wall the insulation is virtually useless. It has no ability to stop cold from passing through the wall unless it is sealed on all six sides. Once this is accomplished it is fairly effective. I would recommend caulking as many gaps and joints as you can. It really doesn't take that long.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:14 PM   #6
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caulk sheathing??


do not caulk the exterior sheathing.. not only will you be creating a vapor barrier on the outside of the house which reduces the framings ability to breathe to the outside but it will also reduce the sheathings ability to swell if it does take on moisture which will cause it to buckle

wall sheathing is expected to have a minimum gap of 1/8", some inspectors have been known to expect a 1" gap where the framers had to go around and cut that size gap after the fact
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:41 PM   #7
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caulk sheathing??


Every thing i have been learning as of lately has been steered me in the direction of sealing up all the gaps. The school of thought that I have come to agree with teaches that moisture tends to ride in on air through gaps in the structure and wood is not a vapor barrier. This means the more you seal the wall the drying it will remain and filling the gaps does not turn the wall into a vapor barrier. I have had many building inspectors encourage sealing the wall and have not had any who had a problem with it. Here is a site I found that mentions a few such things http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/buildin...eTestRev07.pdf. Here is some info for requirements on habitat for humanity houses http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects...on/opcaulk.pdf. I have been to several classes and seminars that all teach what I have mentioned and the building codes are all getting on board with it. What code book is it that requires these large uncaulked gaps in the structure?
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #8
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caulk sheathing??


interesting Hart,you don't feel using an air barrier to be sufficient?
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:35 PM   #9
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I am not sure that I know what you are asking? All of the components together are the air barrier. Its about limiting air exchange which requires a lot of different techniques through the entire building process. Some of it has to do with where you are. I live in northern IL and it get cold. I learn more from Wisconsin which is just an hour away and they are way ahead of there time. If you are in a more moderate climate some of these techniques may be overkill.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:45 PM   #10
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i meant a taped wrb,which would be considered an air barrier
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:52 PM   #11
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I think that helps but there is a specific way that house paper has to be installed to stop air and I have never seen any one install it that way. The bottom of the paper is almost never addressed and then thousands of holes are put in the paper to attach it and the siding. I think this is important but not the answer.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:02 PM   #12
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i agree,thanks for the discussion
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:03 AM   #13
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caulk sheathing??


Caulk the exterior plywood (don't use OSB unless it is THE BEST stuff made), but caulk it w/ flexible caulking between the studs and it. Leave the gap for the ply to move if it has to, and tape over the gap. That way, you get the air sealing you need and the gap that some people say you need.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:51 AM   #14
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caulk sheathing??


Hart, your first link addressed caulking between "conditioned and unconditioned" areas, not uncod. to uncod. as in sheathing gaps. The second link caulked sheathing gaps, contrary to OSB info- "Moisture protection" and "Reminder" - when paint/stain is fine for treating field-cut edges, but leave the required 1/8" gap all around the sheathing for expansion/contraction. You don't want material in the gap: http://www.ewpa.com/Archive/2006/aug/Paper_266.pdf

Much better to stop the air leaks to the wall; from the inside- at the drywall; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...wall-approach/
and from the outside; caulk the sheathing/studs/plates joint from inside the cavity before insulation.

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Old 04-23-2012, 05:14 PM   #15
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GBR. I agree with all of the info in the articles you linked. I do not agree that you stop the air at the drywall. The drywall is where you stop the warm moist air from the inside of the home from entering the wall not the cold outside air from entering the home. Why would you allow cold air into the wall cavity from the outside putting the cold air right on the back side of the drywall. Stop the air before it can get into the wall and let the insulation have a chance to do its job. On the topic of allowing a gap for the plywood. I would never build a wall that had a 1/8"gap that was not spiting on framing. If i was not going to install framing for it to split on I would prefer to see a caulked gap then an open gap. If you build with dry lumber and keep the air out you reduce the moister content of the lumber in the structure keeping it from swelling. In the instance it did swell it is the result of an actual leak and in that instance having an open gap in the walls or a caulked gap will not make a difference. I would actually think it would be better if it was caulked so the water didn't get to the gap and get in the vulnerable edge of the plywood. The water might drain down the entire wall. Keep in mind in the real world plywood never has an 1/8" gap all the way around it for obvious reasons. That can be protocol all day long and it never happens and every builder and every inspector knows that.

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