House wrap: what qualities are important?

House wrap: what qualities are important?

Are you planning a new siding installation for your home? If so, you're probably spending a lot of time researching the many styles of siding available. Should you go with vinyl or fiber cement -- or perhaps even add some brick? But what about the house wrap? Are there any qualities that make a particular type of protective barrier better for your home?

It wasn't that long ago that house wrap was rarely found on jobsites -- contractors installed wood or vinyl siding directly over a home's exterior sheathing. However, many builders came to a great awakening: adding another moisture resistant layer on the outside of homes helped reduce water intrusion warranty calls. Today house wrap is found on almost all new homes and should be a part of your exterior siding project.

All house wraps are not created equal

So what should you look for when shopping for a house wrap? Whether you intend on installing the material yourself or hiring a siding contractor, here are a few desirable qualities:

  • Durability -- Anytime a house wrap rips, tears, or is punctured, the material's protective qualities may be compromised. Choose a wrap that is designed to remain intact during installation and strong enough to weather typical storms in your region. Propex Global offers a moisture barrier specifically made for areas prone to severe winds.
  • Breathable -- House wraps that trap moisture vapor against the exterior of your home may cause mold and mildew to grow -- look for a breathable material designed to allow water to escape. Benjamin Obdyke features a house wrap with a built-in moisture drainage system.
  • Energy efficiency -- If you're choosing a fiber cement or vinyl siding because of its insulating qualities, why not do the same when picking a house wrap? Some brands such as DuPont's Tyvek HomeWrap are manufactured to prevent outside air from entering your home. DuPont states that using their weatherization barriers may help reduce a house's annual energy costs by up to 20 percent over structures without their protection.
  • Ease of installation -- While this may not seem like an important quality if you plan on hiring a contractor, it might lower their labor costs for your project. Almost all wraps are easy to work with when the weather is warm, but below freezing temperatures can be another matter. If you're planning on a siding installation during the colder months, look for a house wrap that remains pliable regardless of the temperature.

House wrap is hidden from sight once your new fiber cement or vinyl siding is installed, but it serves an important purpose. Taking a little time to choose the right material could be beneficial to your home and budget.

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