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Is it a good idea to use a drainage plane behind vinyl siding?

SsGQx2Ntoc | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

I am residing my home and installed Tyvek for the weather barrier. Is it also good to use a drainage plane material to control the water intrusion from the vinyl siding?

I have only a 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch that I could add to siding depth because of window depth. What type of drainage would work best if needed or used mat,dimpled or fiber weave. No one in my area is using this method. I live in SE. Wisconsin.

Thanks for your advice.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    I'm not sure what you mean by "drainage plane." Behind vinyl siding, you definitely need a water-resistant barrier (WRB). Since you have Tyvek, you're all set.

    You don't need a separate air gap between the vinyl siding and the Tyvek, because vinyl siding is installed loosely and doesn't sit tight to the sheathing. It makes its own drainage gap. So you don't need vertical furring strips or a three-dimensional plastic grid like Cedar Breather behind vinyl. It is self-draining.

  2. SsGQx2Ntoc | | #2

    Hi Martin, I was looking at adding a "drainage plane" like PACTIV Greenguard Drainage Mat DC14 or like a Rain Slicker Mat, also would like to look at a dimpled product. I just wanted to get a drainage area so that any water that penetrates the vinyl siding would then drain down the drainage plane before getting to the water-resistant barrier. I talked with a Tyvek specialist just a little while ago and they are starting to recommend this type of application for siding. I want to give the walls the most protection behind the siding that I can. I know that vinyl is not really weather tight.


    The vinyl is mostly keeping the sunlight off the Tyvek. If you detail your Tyvek well you need no further drainage. If you want belt and suspenders I like the idea of running 1" wide strips of sill seal over the studs and fastening the siding through the sill seal allowing the foam to gap the siding just off the house wrap as well as seal the nail penetrations. Just pull the sill seal through a few utility knife blades in the end of a 2x6 to cut it into 1" wide strips and staple them to the wall as you put up the siding.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Vinyl siding does not slow the drainage of water in any way. It's easy to show this with a backyard test or a job-site test. Set up a rig to introduce water (using a garden hose set to a trickle) between vinyl siding and the WRB (whether Tyvek or asphalt felt). You'll see that the water drains very quickly -- much more quickly than any other type of siding.

  5. SsGQx2Ntoc | | #5

    Thank you guys for your input. The whole idea of the drainage plane was trying to keep most of the water off the WRB. There are so many new ideas and products these days, it's a real challenge to keep up with best usage and practices of home remodeling and building.

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