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HOUSEWRAP / SHEATHING WRAP
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Housewrap or sheathing wrap (such as Tyvek™) installation details: Here using a Q&A format we discuss basic concepts & strategies for installing/using Tyvek™ air barrier on buildings and sealing against air leaks. Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles including material reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss. Our page-top photo shows Typar™ house wrap during installation on a new home.
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Readers of this article should be sure to see VAPOR BARRIERS & AIR SEALING at BAND JOISTS. See HOUSEWRAP AIR & VAPOR BARRIERS and HOUSEWRAP INSTALLATION DETAILS . Also see VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in buildings. Readers can review concepts at WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING and AIR SEALING STRATEGIES.
Readers should also be sure to see AIR LEAK MINIMIZATION and also AIR BYPASS LEAKS, and be sure to read ENERGY SAVINGS RETROFIT LEAK SEALING GUIDE. See BLOWER DOORS & AIR INFILTRATION and see HEAT LOSS DETECTION TOOLS for more sophisticated and accurate methods of detecting points of un-wanted building heat loss or heat gain. At THERMAL TRACKING & HEAT LOSSwe describe other visual clues that can help spot points of significant air (and heat) leakage in buildings. Contact us to suggest text changes and additions and, if you wish, to receive online listing and credit for that contribution.
The question-and-answer article about strategies for sealing air infiltration leaks on buildings (or air exfiltration leaks, i.e. heat loss), is provided in full-text below, and discusses steps to take to be sure that the energy retrofit cure is not worse than the disease, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.
Should I Install Tyvek at Sill, Sole, & Top Plates & Do I need to Caulk
If a continuous air/vapor barrier is used on the interior of the framing of a house, and DuPont Tyvek™ is used on the outside, is it necessary to caulk at sill, sole, and top plates, headers, and joists? -- John L. Matthews
In tests conducted by the NAHB Research Foundation, a standard 1976 house - 2x4 walls, kraft-paper vapor barrier, asphalt-impregnated sheathing - had a 35-percent reduction in air leakage under pressure after being retrofitted with Tyvek™.
The Tyvek was lapped at seams and caulked at windows and foundation. The reduction in air leakage was from 8.6 to 5.6 air changes per hour (ACH) at 50 Pascals (of pressure).
Ten air changes per hour (ACH) at 50 Pascals equals roughly 0.5 natural ACH in a building.
According to NAHB researchers, later tests on tighter homes showed smaller reductions, but even "quick and dirty" installations of Tyvek showed some reduction in air leakage rates. In a test by Gulf State Utilities of Beaumont, Texas, Tyvek did about the same as caulking with expanding polyurethane foam insulation, but both together did significantly better than either alone.
DuPont recommends that Tyvek be lapped at seams and caulked at the foundation. It is also advisable to lap the Tyvek over the top plate and caulk around windows.
If these Tyvek installation guidelines are followed (for this and presumably most other Housewrap brands), we suspect that you could be less finicky with other sealing efforts. Many builders, though, appreciate the redundancy of an extra line of air leak defense won at a modest cost through the use of this product.
Names of compatible adhesives and other information about Tyvek are available from DuPont at 800-448-9835.
The link to the original Q&A article in PDF form immediately below was preceded by an expanded/updated online version of this article.
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