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Overwintering without siding?

Debra_Ann | Posted in General Questions on

Due to a number of uncontrollable factors, we won’t be able to install siding on our new house before spring.  Winter has hit extra early and hard, and we’re still waiting to get our shingles and windows installed (we have roof underlayment and Tyvek in place). Our home is a small ranch house in the Virginia mountains, with 2-foot wide overhangs (climate zone 4A).

Our Tyvek Homewrap won’t last until spring, which is months past the UV exposure guideline of 4 months.  So we plan to install Tyvek Commercialwrap, which has a 9-month UV exposure limit and is a thicker, tougher material. We’ll use cap nails to secure it over our existing Tyvek, spaced about 16″ apart in a grid.

Will this work to protect our home for the winter?  Do you think this commercial Tyvek will still be in good enough condition come spring to serve as a quality WRB under our siding?  Thanks.


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  1. this_page_left_blank | | #1

    I have not used Tyvek, but if it's rated for 9 months I would trust that, as far as the UV goes. How it will stand up to the wind and driven precipitation, I don't know. I can recommend Typar Metrowrap. It's rated for 10 months of UV exposure, and I can say from experience that it can stand up to some pretty serious weather.

  2. GBA Editor
    Brian Pontolilo | | #2

    Hi Debra.

    Make sure your builder takes extra care with the installation. Along with UV exposure, wind does a number on mechanically fastened housewrap when it is left exposed. And give it all a careful inspection in the spring before covering it up, fixing any problems you find.

  3. RussMill | | #3

    Might i suggest a layer of felt paper lapped well and properly. The wind shreds tyvek even with proper nailing over a long winter.

  4. Expert Member

    If you l0ok at builds that have stalled at the WRB stage you see two things. Building paper that has torn loose or sagged and rippled, and house-wrap that was inadequately fastened and is flapping in the wind. Tyvek Commercial is much more robust that regular Tyvek. As long as you fasten it properly it will be fine.

    1. jberks | | #5

      I agree with Malcolm.

      I've left normal tyvek out for months. Properly and dispersedlty fastened, It's fine. I've used staples with tuck tape overtop and tuck tape over lap seams and it held very well, even in some serious high wind conditions. Sounds like shit though.

      Next project I do, I'll probably use screws with fender washers. A more expensive and longer install process. surely overkill but at least it's robust with timing issues such as yours and often mine as well.

      I imagine the more robust commercial tyvek will perform even better. You should be good.

  5. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #6

    Whatever you put on the outside should be thought of as a sacrificial layer that is only there to protect the "real" housewrap underneath. If you don't need something breathable, black polyethylene sheeting is probably the easiest and cheapest option. If you do need something breathable, then I agree with the others about using commercial tyvek, but I'd plan on pulling it down in the spring. Extreme weather exposure (really extreme UV exposure from all that time in the sun) tends to break down the polymer chains in plastics and make them brittle.

    If you get a lot of high winds, I'd get some of the plastic temporary fencing commonly used on construction sites, wrap it around the middle(ish) area in any large expanses of tyvek, and fasten it to the studs periodically. This way that plastic temporary fencing will serve to keep the tyvek from whipping around in the wind and getting shredded. It will look ugly (it's usually bright orange), but it'll protect your structure!


  6. Debra_Ann | | #7

    Thanks, everyone, for all of your suggestions. My current Tyvek Homewrap is 3 months old, and where it was secured properly it appears to be holding up OK. It just won't last until spring. The commercial Tyvek is such a sturdier material, that I think if I apply cap nails every 16" in a grid, it should do OK.

    I did discover that it's important to secure the cap nails into the studs behind the sheathing - otherwise, high winds tend to pull the nails partly out and start the fabric flapping and tearing a bit.

    The disadvantage is that installing new Tyvek over the old would involve leaving cap nails an average of 8" apart on the studs. I'm concerned that the caps might get in the way of nailing my vinyl siding next spring. Can't be helped, I guess. Thanks again!

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