10 FAQs and Answers About House Wraps

You’ve probably heard of house wraps before, but aren’t too familiar with them. They’re actually a moisture and air barrier that seals gaps and leaks in the oriented strand board (OSB) panels or plywood sheathing that makes up a layer beneath your home’s siding. This helps in preventing drafts from getting into your main insulation while reducing heating and cooling costs by acting as an additional insulated layer.

10 FAQs and Answers About House Wraps

The main purpose of using a house wrap is to prevent the entry of moisture into the wall cavity from outside. While it’s water-resistant, a house wrap typically isn’t water impermeable or waterproof. If the house wrap becomes impermeable, it can lead to rot and mold growth in the wall cavity.

To learn more about house wraps and whether you need one for your home, today we answer some of your most common questions:

  1. After Installation, How Long Does House Wrap Last?

Since house wrap goes under the siding, it will last almost as long as your home itself. There’s never any need to change or replace house wrap unless there was a fire or some other type of structural damage.

  1. Do Older Homes Have House Wrap? 

Usually, older homes don’t have a house wrap because it wasn’t used at that time. But there are some that do; usually, these homes have been retrofitted, but the cost to do so and the difficulty of the job will vary widely based on its size, age, the type of construction and the type of siding.

  1. Can House Wrap Be Installed With Foam Insulation?

The simple answer is yes. With the two products combined, you can make your home even more insulated from outside wind and other weather conditions. Keep in mind that, when you’re planning to install house wrap with rigid foam, it typically goes under the insulation and not around it.

However, not every professional agrees on this order. For instance, if your home has a “picture frame” window construction (which is where windows are framed with strapping lumber before windows are installed), some contractors may recommend having the rigid foam go on first with the house wrap over that. Both are equally effective in preventing air leaks and infiltration, so you can still rely on the advice of your hired siding contractor to make your final decision.

  1. How Do I Determine Whether My Home Needs a House Wrap?

This actually depends on how your home was built. You’ll need the help of trusted contractors to know which type of house wrap should be installed as they’ll consider the local climate and weather patterns to determine which is best for your home.

Using the wrong type of house wrap or installing it incorrectly will only become more costly to fix as it compromises your home’s ventilation. There’s also a risk of mold and mildew growth if you DIY the house wrap install.

  1. Can House a Wrap Serve as a Good Air Barrier?

Unless it’s a specially manufactured type of Water Resistant Barrier (WRB) that’s designed to perform this function, a house wrap isn’t meant to serve as an air barrier against the cold air. Even the special types of WRBs need to be meticulously installed for them to be reliable, which can be tedious unless it’s done by a professional siding installer.

  1. Do I Need a House Wrap on My Garage or Shed?

Usually, the house wrap is already added to your garage at the same time it’s added to your home during construction. It’s not technically needed for detached garages, but it’s still good to apply house wrap if you want to protect and insulate your garage. As for your shed, it’s also not necessary, but it can still provide a barrier that will help protect its interior and contents from heat, cold, dust and moisture.

  1. Can a House Wrap Be Used With All Types of Siding?

Keep in mind that almost any kind of siding you install provides an opportunity for water infiltration, which is why house wraps are usually recommended by professionals. Wood, in particular, can benefit greatly from house wrap barriers since it has many seams where the boards overlap. The same goes for aluminum and vinyl siding; without a house wrap, water can enter through the cracks where the pieces are joined.

Brick, stucco and other masonry-based sidings can be used with house wrap as well, but it has to be the right type. A professional in siding is most ideal for this type of installation; otherwise, using a micro-porous house wrap by mistake can accumulate moisture in the wall cavities behind your home’s masonry.

  1. How Long Can House Wrap Be Exposed During Installation?

A house wrap is made to protect your home, but it’s still a thin barrier. It’s strong, but it should be covered up almost immediately during the construction process to prevent holes, tears and other types of damage that can potentially reduce its effectiveness.

  1. How Can House Wrap Be Installed for It to Be Code Compliant?

Your hired contractor should be aware of the local building codes that apply to this type of installation, so there should be nothing to be worried about on this front. House wraps also meet nearly all federal, state and local building codes when it comes to smoke and fire safety. This means they can be used almost anywhere to comply with code and protect your home with a strong barrier against air and moisture!

  1. Any House Wrap Installation Tips to Keep in Mind?

As much as possible, make sure the house wrap is installed according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions, and only use fasteners and seals that are recommended. Your hired contractor is also aware of these requirements as well as a few general guidelines that apply to the installation, which include:

  • Installing the house wrap before the doors and windows

  • Working from the bottom up and overlapping the lower courses

  • Extending the house wrap over the footing top by at least two inches

  • Sealing all the seams with a special tape that’s provided by the manufacturer

  • Installing the house wrap properly between the double top wall plates

  • Using nails and staples that are specifically made to hold down the house wrap

  • Installing a protective rain screen during installation to control moisture movement

Whether it’s a house wrap installation or repairing chimneys, Paddy’s always get the job done! To get started, just contact us at (302) 388-3625 or by filling out our convenient contact form.

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