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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.
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.
Tyvek Technique Q&A on - PDF version, Use your browser's back button to return to this page
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Solar Age Magazine was the official publication of the American Solar Energy Society. The contemporary solar energy magazine associated with the Society is Solar Today. "Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates. Our mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. We advance education, research and policy. Leading for more than 50 years.
ASES leads national efforts to increase the use of solar energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable technologies in the U.S. We publish the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, organize and present the ASES National Solar Conference and lead the ASES National Solar Tour – the largest grassroots solar event in the world."
Steve Bliss's Building Advisor at buildingadvisor.com helps homeowners & contractors plan & complete successful building & remodeling projects: buying land, site work, building design, cost estimating, materials & components, & project management through complete construction. Email: email@example.com
Steven Bliss served as editorial director and co-publisher of The Journal of Light Construction for 16 years and previously as building technology editor for Progressive Builder and Solar Age magazines. He worked in the building trades as a carpenter and design/build contractor for more than ten years and holds a masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Excerpts from his recent book, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, Wiley (November 18, 2005) ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, appear throughout this website, with permission and courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Best Practices Guide is available from the publisher, J. Wiley & Sons, and also at Amazon.com
Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume I, the Passive Solar Handbook Introduction to Passive Solar Concepts, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v1.pdf
Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume II, the Passive Solar Handbook Comprehensive Planning Guide, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v2.pdf [This is a large PDF file that can take a while to load]
Passive Solar Handbook Volume III, the Passive Solar Handbook Programming Guide, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v3.pdf
"Passive Solar Home Design", U.S. Department of Energy, describes using a home's windows, walls, and floors to collect and store solar energy for winter heating and also rejecting solar heat in warm weather.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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