House Wrap Or Vapor Barrier?? - General DIY Discussions - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 04-06-2008, 01:16 PM   #1
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House wrap or vapor barrier??

I'm looking for viewpoints, opinions, information etc on a topic that will probably get everyone thinking- I hope. For some time now I have been watching Mike Holmes (his show is called Holmes on Homes from Canada if you're not familiar) on the Discovery Homes channel on TV. Watching it for some time now, it is very clear that part of the building code in Canada is to include vapor barrier and tuck tape in the interior walls when building or remodeling buildings.

Here lies my questions, obviously this will seal the walls and not let anything through if done correctly- the vapor barrier goes from the very top of a wall (with a tail going onto the ceiling for a short distance and another tail down onto the floor) and tape around all electrical, windows etc to seal anything and everything. Here in the United States, as a general rule few if any, do this. Why?

Another question, we routinely use some type of house wrap (typar, tyvek etc)-- Why? We're told it is to let the house breath. But, if you use vapor barrier on the interior walls like the Candaidans, that stops all the breathing- or is this just letting it breath in the walls itself? Another question, my house is approximately 60 years old and when it was built the walls had tar paper around all of the walls on the exterior- obviously this does not breath at all. So, who is right??


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Old 04-06-2008, 01:54 PM   #2
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Old 04-06-2008, 03:26 PM   #3
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House wrap is not a vapour barrier. We use both in Canada. Vapour barrier is supposed to go on the warm side. So in places like Florida it might be proper to put it on the outside of the house.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:29 PM   #4
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In a predominately cold climate, the vapor barrier issue is much more clear cut. The building will dry almost exclusively to the outside, so the idea of the interior non permeable barrier such as visqueen is to keep the warmer moisture laden air out of the wall, so it cannot reach the cold exterior components and condense. As the climate moderates and has large temperature differentials between seasons, the building may dry to both the inside and outside, thus the issue of "which side" for the vapor barrier. In my area, along the southern Gulf coast, we are a predominate cooling climate, building dry mostlty to the inside, and interior vapor barriers are a disaster just waiting to be discovered a few years down the road. I absolutely refuse to install an interior vapor barrier, period. Even heavy vinyl wallpaper on exterior walls will often cause moisture problems.
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