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Old 03-27-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
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Years ago when housewrap, (marketed as air infiltration barrier), became popular, I questioned it's validity. I obtained information from a company called Cold Regions Research Experimental Laboratories, working for the Army Corps of Engineers. Their position was that with plywood type sheathing there is no appreciable air infiltration. Any air movement you felt at the outlets, where the idea started that wind blows through your walls, is caused by convection cells formed when cold air between insulation and sheathing falls, and warm air between insulation and drywall rises. Surprisingly, the new zip system sheathing only requires taping the seams. Someone once told me, "the only thing that blows through housewrap is your money". I would have to check, but I don't think they market housewrap as an air infiltration barrier as much anymore. Anyone have any different info? It changes all the time.

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Old 03-27-2012, 12:35 PM   #2
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House wrap = water management, as far as I know. Use other methods as air barriers.

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Old 03-27-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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House wrap, i.e., Tyvek, is a moisture barrier. It may block some air infiltration, but that's not what it's for. It is code-required where I live.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
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When Dupont first marketed it. I may have used it in the early 70's. They stated that air could not pass through but moisture could evaporate (breath) through it. The brand Typar stood up to ultraviolet much better. It is code compliant in most places. (I always thought codes were for safety) You gotta watch out for that housewrap.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:10 PM   #5
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back in the day we used roofing felt 30# for house wrap then tyvex now it is going back to 30#felt go figure.
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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back in the day we used roofing felt 30# for house wrap then tyvex now it is going back to 30#felt go figure.
+1 on that.


Tyvek and the like is all junk imo, In the Pac. NW anyway. I canít comment on any other region though.


Iíve always used #30 until the sales reps sold me on the new stuff. What a mistake that was, I have many stories of house wrap failures (regardless of the brand).


If itís my dime on the line, itís felt on the wall or they can find someone else to do it.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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How exactly can house wrap fail? If it's correctly installed and immediately covered with siding, what could possibly happen to it?
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:04 AM   #8
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How exactly can house wrap fail? If it's correctly installed and immediately covered with siding, what could possibly happen to it?
He's referring to it failing to keep moisture "out", rather - allowing it to permeate and infiltrate to the substrate - and cause moisture issues and damages.
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:48 PM   #9
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Oh, I see. Chinese house wrap?
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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Interesting. I am not a builder, but I have not read of any or heard of any Tyvek failures IF properly installed. greenbuildingadvisor.com would surely be riddled w/ stories if it were a bad product, I would think. I wonder if the "failures" reported were due to mechanical screw ups, like putting cedar or redwood siding against it. Apparently surfactants present in the tannin of cedar and redwood will destroy the water repelling properties of "plastic" house wraps. Another good reason for a rain screen. A very knowledgeable builder up here is starting to use SIGA MagCoat. I saw it applied to one of his houses and it sure looked like an incredibly tough material, and it is very vapor open. Perhaps interested persons could research it and see if they'd prefer it. I am going to be using it, unless I hear otherwise from the builder who is using it here. All that said, #30 lb felt has been working well for a long, long time, and it is cheap.
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:46 PM   #11
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Covering any "wrap" with vinyl siding and some other types makes the wrap and flashing more important because things like vinyl are no where near "waterproof" since the have gaps and must be allowed to move and flex.

Any structure should have a primary water resistant barrier and it can be either a "Tyvek" type product or felt layers that allow breathing and a moisture barrier that can be easily flashed at the openings, where most of the problems occur.

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Old 03-28-2012, 05:40 PM   #12
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The failures they may refer to, outside of those that put it on without knowing how to, could be due to deterioration from ultraviolet rays. Even though Dupont claims they have stabilized it, leave it out in the sun for a month and let a wind blow loose ends, and it begins to disintegrate. 30# was good for keeping water out, but it also kept moisture from inside in, (no vapor barrier), right at the cold surface of the outside of the sheathing where it condensed. My hose is 37 years old, has old fashioned rosin paper, and has never had any problems.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:51 AM   #13
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This comes up periodically, and this link is always worth a look. http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...some-materials Felt paper is more permeable that plywood by quite a bit. (30 vs 10). I think the problems encountered w/ condensation on cold plywood (or OSB) are probably more due to poor air sealing than the WRB used. Stop the air, stop the moisture. If you have sheathing on the outside, asphalt felt is hard to beat, but slower to install that Tyvek, etc. If you have double studs and use the WRB to hold in your dense packed cellulose, then felt is out of the picture. One small anecdote, worth only that: Both of my sons' houses have had Tyvek exposed for 3 and 4 yrs, despite my telling them that DOW (or whoever makes the stuff) recommends it be covered in a month or two. Kids; what to do? Also, I have seen a few houses up here that have had Tyvek on the outside for more years than 4; never went in and tested ANY of this exposed stuff for water repellency, and that may be something two young men I know had better do this summer, and maybe then re-apply it and put on siding. Ya think?

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