A Builder’s First Time Using Peel and Stick House Wrap

Airtightness is what every builder strives for, though they often struggle with finding the right products to use to achieve it.

The pursuit of airtightness led Emily Press, Builder and Owner of Emerald & Laurel Design Build in Austin, Texas, to Dörken’s self-adhering air and water-resistive barrier, DELTA®-VENT SA. Not only was it Press’s first time using DELTA®-VENT SA, but it was her first time using a peel and stick house wrap for a project. The reliable water-resistive barrier’s permeability and air tightness make it ideal for building and maintaining healthy and comfortable interiors, while being easier and more consistent to apply than fluid-applied or mechanically-attached alternatives.

builder Emily Press

Matt Risinger, of Risinger & CO., recently sat down with Press to discuss her experience using a peel and stick house wrap for the first time:

Matt: “My friend Emily Press called me a few weeks ago asking about how I liked using Dörken’s self-adhering air and water-resistive barrier. She had seen the video I made on DELTA®-VENT SA and wanted to ask me some logistical questions about tips & tricks for her first peel and stick house wrap job.

“Emily wanted to make the move to this product because she felt it would be the winning formula for getting a more air tight building (compared to her previous experiences with mechanically-attached house wraps). Plus, she liked the fact that it was vapor permeable.”

Matt: “Emily, how did it go?  The job looks fantastic for your first install!”

Emily: “Well Matt, I have to tell you it was a rough start with my framer. As you know, here in Texas, we typically have our frame carpenters install the weather barrier as well as the windows. My framer is a 40-year veteran of the building business and thought I was nuts moving from the tried-and-true white house wrap that we had cap-stapled on for years to this new peel and stick house wrap. It took some convincing, but eventually he came around to give it a try.

“We sheathed this detached work studio with CDX Plywood and used the primer like you recommended. First, we taped the bottom of the plywood to the concrete slab foundation with DELTA®-MULTI BAND 100. That’s a trick that I got on one of your videos, Matt, and it’s been a great way to ensure the base of the house is bug and air infiltration-free.

“Once the primer was rolled on, the fun began! It’s definitely a two-man job. My guys ran chalk lines to ensure we got the proper spacing including overlaps. Then, as one guy would hold and peel back the roll, we took your tip of using a large rafter square to smooth it down.”

Matt: “Emily, I must say that your guys did a bang-up job for a first-time install. It was super flat. My crew had a few creases on our first DELTA®-VENT SA install, but they got the hang of it quickly.”

Emily: “Yes, we practiced installing DELTA®-VENT SA on the back of the house first so that when we got around to the front, it would look good. I was proud of the crew. I had to really talk them into it, but it turned out fantastic.”

Matt: “Tell me about the window installation using Dörken’s DELTA® products.”

Emily: “At the risk of sounding like a Build Show groupie here, I watched your video on installing a window with DELTA®-FLASHING, and it’s pretty straightforward. The pre-formed corners were easy to use and make for a really good-looking install. I took your advice and ran a piece of DELTA®-MULTI BAND 100 across the top of the DELTA®-FLASHING at the window head and it’s looking tight.”

window and flashing installation

Matt: “Any surprises using DELTA® for the first time?”

Emily: “With DELTA®-VENT SA being my first peel & stick, I was really worried, but it turned out to be a non-event. One funny anecdote is that I fell in love with DELTA®-FLEXX-BAND. It is a black stretchy flashing that makes pipe & wire penetrations super easy to flash. Killer product.”

Matt: “Last question Emily. I don’t see rainscreen battens being used often in Texas. Why did you opt to install a rainscreen with your siding?”

Emily: “Well, I don’t have to tell you Matt how much benefit the rainscreen method gives to the longevity of the siding and the house. This is a detail for durability that is too often overlooked. I’ve got a mix of old and new wood siding on this house, and I wanted the wood to be fooled into thinking it was on an old building. We fool it by letting it dry on the front AND the back. That rainscreen gap formed by my 1×2 battens means that there is a ¾” air gap behind the wood, and when it gets wet it can dry forwards or back. This re-creates the old drafty conditions of this original house, built in the 1940’s.

“We’ve now got the best of both worlds: Extra-tight and efficient construction, thanks to the DELTA®-VENT SA, and plenty of airflow for the wood siding thanks to the rainscreen. I believe this house is set for the next 70 years of life for my clients.

“Thanks for all you’ve done in training me through your videos and blog over the years Matt!”

Matt: “You’re very welcome, Emily!  I’m proud to be a Builder and thankful to have colleagues like you who care about well-built homes and elevating the craft of building!”

delta vent sa installation

Building for airtightness

To maintain long-term building integrity, airtightness is a must. Airtightness means that there are no unintended gaps in the building envelope—gaps that would otherwise cause air leakage in or out of the building.

It is an essential performance parameter that ensures energy efficiency. How airtightness is achieved comes down to the specifications of the air barrier used throughout the build. According to The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), successful air barriers will:

  • Reduce required HVAC system size, while improving efficiency
  • Properly manage air pressure relationships
  • Allow water vapor to escape from wall cavities
  • Increase occupant comfort through reduced drafts
  • Enhance indoor air quality

If you’re looking to better protect your buildings while improving airtightness and energy efficiency, DELTA®-VENT SA is a high-performance, 3-layer water-resistant air barrier. Highly permeable, watertight, and aggressively self-adhering, the product ensures protection from wind-driven rain.