4 House Wrap Problems and How To Overcome Them

a row of houses

House wrap is one of the most common moisture barriers put on new houses and buildings. The concept is pretty simple, actually; once the basic structure is in place workers put wrap around it as a way to protect the home from unwanted air and moisture.

The wrap is attached to the sheathing using staples, nails or special fasteners and then the rest of the house’s cladding, such as siding, is put in place.

Just because mechanically fastened house wrap is one of the most common moisture barriers used to protect new homes and buildings doesn’t mean it’s one of the best methods, though.

Common House Wrap Problems Include:

Problem #1: Time and Exposure

House wrap doesn’t take a long time to install, but unless conditions are ideal then there are frequently problems when it comes time to sealing the house wrap. The wrap might be exposed to rain or dirt, or there might be other impurities that will stop the tape from sealing properly. Improperly sealed tapes is like armor with giant holes in it.

Another issue with time and exposure is exposure to the sun and UV rays.  If there is a delay in covering the house wrap with the exterior cladding, it can damage the house wrap and substantially reduce it’s service life.

Wind can also be a problem as it can cause rips and tears to the house wrap while exposed, reducing its effectiveness when covered.

Problem #2: Horizontal Wrapping

House wrap is typically applied by wrapping it horizontally around the structure. This means there are horizontal seams, which are a big risk for water that will be running down vertically if the laps are not shingled correctly. Vertical wrapping is rarely (if ever) an option though, meaning the best workers can usually do is make sure the seams are as tightly sealed as possible and overlapping in a downward manner.

Problem #3: It Is Not An Air Barrier

It is not designed to stop air and moisture as it is attached with mechanical fasteners such as nails or staples. This is something that needs to be taken into account since air intrusion can lead to loss of energy efficiency and other problems as well. Moisture can also lead to mold and mildew buildups as surely as a leaking barrier will, which will lead to expensive remodeling in order to fix the problem.

Problem #4: Leaks Around The Eaves and Flashing

Any interface area, such as where house wrap meets the roof or, and where it goes around windows, tends to be particularly weak. With the right attention these areas can be properly sealed, but they are weak spots that are likely to open up over time to allow water in under the rest of the house wrap.

Dörken delivers innovative, high-performance air and moisture barriers for commercial and residential construction sold under the DELTA® brand name. A North American manufacturer based out of Beamsville, Ontario, Dörken Products, Inc. is a subsidiary of Ewald Dörken AG, a leading European developer and manufacturer of waterproofing and drainage products sold worldwide. Dörken is known for delivering premium products while providing educational programs and full technical support. For more information, call 1-888-4DELTA4 (433-5824) or visit www.dorken.com.