How to Get the Best from your Project's Building Wrap System


Not that long ago, the idea of building wrap was practically unheard of, with 15# roofing felt taking its place. But with the continued focus on energy efficiency and building envelope improvement, specialty products have been developed that has taken this thin layer of paper to a high degree of engineering and science. When you need to get the best performance from your project's building envelope, do you know what building wrap will deliver? What works well for one project may not be the best bet for another. Here's a quick look at building wrap and how you can select and install the best weather proofing building wrap for your project.

The first question you need to ask when evaluating your project's prospects for building wrap is what is the project's needs? Do you simply need an air barrier or an air and vapor barrier? Does it need to go underneath a particular type of exterior finish? What kind of flexibility do you need in terms of pliability?

If you need a true vapor barrier, you'll want to skip any perforated house wrap systems. If your project is better protected from driving rains or humid environments, a simple air barrier may suffice. If you're working in tight quarters or in a difficult installation, shorter rolls may be a benefit to keep your crew working safely. A spray-on membrane may be necessary if you're dealing with a particularly unique structure or multiple protrusions.

Alfond Center in Augusta Maine

But how important is the building envelope? In Augusta, Maine, the construction of the Alfond Center for Health was developed using Integrated Project Deliver, similar to a design-build project, but involving everyone from the architects down to the subcontractors from the very beginning of the process. In this project, Standard Waterproofing Inc. was one of the subcontractors responsible for the building envelope. Knowing they needed to provide an easy to install and reliable building wrap, they chose Carlisle's CCW-705 Air & Vapor Membrane over Carlisle's CCW-702LV adhesive. The combination provided a strong, durable building envelope for the structure's pre-cast assembly method, bringing the entire structure together.

Stucco finishes aren't just for the desert anymore. DuPont's Stuccowrap features a textured surface that sheds water down the wall system and out through the bottom while the nonwoven design provides significant protection against expansion and contraction from water absorption. It features shorter rolls at 5' tall while remaining pliable enough to easily wrap around corners. It's designed to deal well with the specific demands of traditional and synthetic stucco finishes.

Though DuPont's Tyvek Housewrap came onto the market three decades ago, it's still a strong contender, taking up 70% of the residential housewrap market. That being said, it also has a perm rating of 58, which may not provide the best protection from water vapor in humid conditions.

Compared to other housewraps, Dow's Styrofoam Weathermate Plus often handles much more like an insulation product than a building wrap. However, with this foam-like texture comes superior vapor protection with a perm rating of 6.7, giving you great protection in humid environments.

By paying attention to what kind of weatherization products you use to create an air barrier for your project, you can ensure that you're using the best building wrap for the job. If you have questions about which building wrap will work best for your situation, our experienced associates can help. Please feel free to contact Wallboard Supply Company today for more information, to place an order or to schedule a delivery to your job site.

Photo Credit: Maine General Health

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.