A house wrap is a synthetic material, such as fiber, paper or board, that covers the exterior of house walls. Since most siding materials are not completely waterproof, a house wrap functions as a weather-resistant barrier that wards off wind-driven rain.
Why Do You Need a House Wrap?
The main purpose of house wrap is to prevent moisture from entering the wall cavity of a house. While house wrap is water-resistant, it is not usually waterproof – but with good reason. If a house wrap material is impervious to water, it can trap moisture-filled air in the wall cavity, potentially leading to mold growth and rot.
A house wrap is installed behind the siding and over the sheathing. Many siding manufacturers may recommend specific types of water-resistive barriers to use with their siding products.
What Are the Different Types of House Wrap?
The first water-resistive barrier was asphalt-saturated felt paper. More recently, the term “house wrap” refers to plastic fiber water-resistive barriers like the following types:
- Asphalt felt: The standard requirement for house wrap is Type 1 felt that meets ASTM D 226 standards.
- Grade D building paper: This house wrap is made of asphalt-saturated kraft paper and is commonly used under stucco exterior.
- Polyolefin fabric: Plastic house wraps are typically made of woven polyethylene or polypropylene fibers.
- Liquid water-resistive barrier: This is a tar-like liquid applied with spray equipment or paint roller and can be used as an air barrier.
- Water-resistive barrier sheathing: This refers to sheathing panels made of oriented strand boards (OSB) with specialized coatings.
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