water-resistive barrier

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Can Your Water-Resistive Barrier Take UV Exposure?

A recent report shows alarming degradation of water resistance in some WRBs after exposure to ultraviolet radiation

Posted on Apr 6 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
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A water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB) provides protection against water damage for water that gets behind the claddingMaterials used on the roof and walls to enclose a house, providing protection against weather. of a building. But what if it doesn't really resist water? I've written a lot about installation problems that can lead to compromised water resistance. (See the article I wrote last week, for example.) But other factors can make them leaky, too. Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is one of them.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Energy Vanguard - All other images: Marcus Jablonka

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Choosing the Right Water-Resistive Barrier

Are there times when a rubberized asphalt membrane makes more sense than ordinary plastic housewrap?

Posted on Dec 21 2015 by Scott Gibson

Yes, James Timmerberg's new house will have a water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB) on the exterior walls.


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Image Credits:

  1. Adam Emter

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Housewrap Tape Problems

When used to tape horizontal seams, housewrap tape can contribute to water entry problems

Posted on Sep 16 2014 by Jeff Hoch

Every year we inspect thousands of homes with one brand or another of housewrap installed as the water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB).

As energy costs increase and energy code requirements become more stringent, we are seeing housewrap installations where the seams are sealed with tape. Many housewrap manufacturers have proprietary seam seal tapes that they sell for exclusive use with their housewrap system.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Quality Built

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Testing Building Assemblies for Moisture Resistance

A state-of-the-art testing facility shows that liquid-applied WRBs outperform taped housewrap

Posted on Jun 5 2014 by Alex Wilson

When I was in Portland, Oregon, the week before last for the Living Future Conference, I had an opportunity to visit a facility in nearby Clackamas where building assemblies and components can be tested for water intrusion and water vapor penetration.

One of the high points of being a researcher and writer is the opportunity to visit really cool manufacturing and research facilities, so I usually jump at the opportunity to visit something new. I wasn’t disappointed on my recent trip.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Alex Wilson

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Understanding Air Barriers, Vapor Barriers, and Drainage Planes

These three terms refer to different materials that are easy to confuse

Posted on Feb 12 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Is housewrap a vapor barrier? What's the purpose of building paperTypically referring to Grade D building paper, this product is an asphalt-impregnated kraft paper that looks a lot like a lightweight asphalt felt. The Grade D designation has come to mean that the building paper passes ASTM D779 (minimum 10-minute rating with the “boat test”) and different products are called out as “30-minute” or even “60-minute” based on D779 results. At times confused with roofing felt, roofing felts and building paper differ in two ways: felts are made of recycled-content paper, building papers of virgin paper; felts are made of a heavier stock paper; building papers a lighter stock. See also roofing felt.? Who'll stop the rain? I've covered this topic in various forms before, but the confusion about what the different building materials do is so widespread that I have to keep coming back to it.

I'm going to keep it simple here so maybe we can get a few more people to use the proper terms, and especially to know when not to use the term “vapor barrier” ... and when not to use it.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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What’s New with Water-Resistive Barriers

We’ve come a long way from the early Tyvek housewrap: our experience with Pro Clima Solitex, a WRB from Germany

Posted on Jun 27 2013 by Alex Wilson

I remember years ago — I hate to remember how many; it must have been around 1982 or 1983 — writing for New England Builder (now the Journal of Light Construction) about Tyvek housewrap. It was then a fairly new product — and really a new idea: a material that would wrap over the outside of a house to provide an air barrierBuilding assembly components that work as a system to restrict air flow through the building envelope. Air barriers may or may not act as a vapor barrier. The air barrier can be on the exterior, the interior of the assembly, or both. and improve energy performance.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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A New Encyclopedia Article on Water-Resistive Barriers

GBA Pro members have full access to dozens of informative articles in the GBA Encyclopedia

Posted on Mar 18 2013 by GBA Team

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers water-resistive barriers (WRBs).


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Walls Without Water-Resistive Barriers

A builder hoping to minimize the use of man-made materials wonders if he can skip the housewrap

Posted on Nov 26 2012 by Scott Gibson

Unless a builder has opted for a Zip System wall or is willing to ignore building code requirements, a layer of housewrap or building felt typically covers any exterior sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. before the siding is applied. This water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material., or WRB, helps to protect the sheathing from damage in the event that water is driven past the siding.


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Image Credits:

  1. Rick Arnold/Fine Homebuilding magazine

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New Green Building Products — September 2010

Every energy-efficient home needs a tight air barrier. Here are some products that might help: a cover for recessed cans, a caulk for polyethylene, and a handful of new housewraps

Posted on Sep 10 2010 by Martin Holladay

In this new-product roundup, I'll look at a cover for recessed can lights, a new caulk for polyethylene, and several new water-resistive barriers (WRBs) that promise better performance than Tyvek or Typar.

A fire-resistant hat for recessed can lights
A Delaware manufacturer named Tenmat is selling an airtight hat for recessed can lights. Tenmat light covers are made from mineral wool; according to the manufacturer, they are fire-resistant.


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Image Credits:

  1. Tenmat
  2. Cosella-Dörken Products
  3. John Straube
  4. VaproShield

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Using Rigid Foam As a Water-Resistive Barrier

Some builders of foam-sheathed homes have decided to omit the housewrap

Posted on Sep 3 2010 by Martin Holladay

Do foam-sheathed walls also need housewrap? There’s no simple answer to the question.

It is possible to use foam sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. as a water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB). However, those who choose this route should know:

  • Some brands of foam have been approved for use as a WRB, while others have not.
  • Even if you choose a code-approved foam, you can run afoul of your local building inspector if you don't follow strict fastening and seam-sealing details.

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Image Credits:

  1. Building Science Corporation
  2. Timothy Lenahan

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