Hammering away at housewrap - Fine Homebuilding

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The Deans of Green

The Deans of Green


Hammering away at housewrap

comments (3) December 30th, 2008 in Blogs

Posted by: Rick Arnold

My wife, a nurse, can now pick out the jobs where the housewrap isn’t installed correctly. And unfortunately, from what I see, a bad installation is the norm rather than the exception—which is why she’s heard me comment about it so many times that she could probably give lessons on how it should be done.

Proper housewrap installation is critical to the historic-house project I’m working on. First, as a secondary drainage plane, the housewrap will help to ensure that any water that finds its way behind the siding will not get into the framing lumber. Second, as an air barrier, the housewrap is key in keeping unconditioned air from entering through the walls and keeping conditioned air from escaping, a process that—for the past 250 years or so—was left pretty much unchecked here.

I won’t necessarily go into detail on how we installed the housewrap because I think it’s a safe bet readers of a green blog already apply construction’s best practices. I’ll let the photos illustrate how we adapted (as best we could) in situations like the one we faced because we weren’t permitted to remove the original window frames (don’t get me started!).

And because it took only a little extra labor and a few cans of foam, we also used rigid insulation as an air barrier.

To keep this project moving quickly, we had a couple of extra siding contractors work alongside my son, his crew, and me. They have ample experience installing all types of siding and are good at it. But I could tell it was all new to them when I explained exactly how I wanted the housewrap installed:

• No reverse lapping
• Install mechanical joints rather than relying on adhesive
• Pay meticulous attention to air-sealing details

So while most of us (those who take the time to read an article or attend a seminar) feel like the topic of air-sealing is hammered to death, the message still has a long way to go before it becomes common knowledge and standard operating procedure. Until then, I guess I’ll just keep hammering. After all, that’s what I do.


posted in: Blogs, weatherizing, water and moisture control, restorations, windows

Comments (3)

John_N John_N writes:
Posted: 7:54 pm on November 19th

John_N John_N writes:
Posted: 7:53 pm on November 19th

wickedwizard wickedwizard writes: Where can one learn about proper housewrap installation?
Posted: 8:58 am on January 28th

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