House wrap and tar paper all serve as weather resistant barriers as long as they are rightly installed.

With a similar purpose of sealing off external water and air, they still differ in terms of benefits, durability, and permeability.

Once their distinct features are known, decisions are made easier.

The resilience, ease of application, and life span of WRB (s) are very weighty in ensuring homely performance characteristics for air and moisture accessibility.

These material choices are valued based on purpose, expectations, and return on investments.

What is Weather Resistant Barrier

An acronym for Weather Resistant Barriers, they guard against the passageway of water and air in any building. Also, they are known to be erected partitions that fence off the intrusion of moisture and air into any home interior.

Weather-resistant materials are expected to follow specified standard codes for construction/residential codes internationally.

The Solution of WRB

They prevent the occurrence of saturation within walls. Mobile weather elements (sun, rain, snow, and wind) always seek routes/channels that allow free expression of capacities. Any available provision on any structure affords them the opportunity to explore structural weaknesses, especially at joints, overlaps, openings, etc.

Water intake and accumulation in houses can be very risky and hazardous.

roofing installation

Moisture, as a breeding avenue for fungi, can make buildings very unhealthy and un-habitable. Worse still, it devalues and depreciates the home’s comfort, interior use, and monetary worth. Thus, WRBs are required to eliminate the saturation of water in the cavity of external walls. The advantages of using them include their capacity to defend your home from opposing weather elements, permeability features, durability, and energy efficiency.

House wrap, as well as tar paper categorized as WRB, are geared towards friendly, healthy, comfortable, and lively buildings.

Tar Paper

Historically, tar papers have been invented and produced for over a century now. Founded based on cotton rags which were recycled to manufacture asphalt felt. Over the years, tar papers have been enhanced by a combination of ridged paper and sawdust. Initially manufactured to be heavy with high production costs, producers have found a means of solving this problem. Currently, they are much lighter and less expensive to make.

Tar papers, also known as asphalt felts, maintain the capacity to seep in moisture at the same time providing a ground for evaporation from exterior surfaces. Asphalt felts’ ability to suck up water and allow it to dry slowly (condensation capacity), makes it ideal for usage in buildings.

Due to its delicate nature, tar paper is very fragile. Once it is malhandled, it easily rips apart. In the long run, it becomes inelastic, frail and loses strength under exposure to sunlight. This flaw makes it defy its purpose/use as water and air begin to have access to interior spaces.

House Wraps

House wrap, on the other hand, has lighter weight, drainage capacity, higher permeability, simplified application, uniform bonding ability, and more health benefits. The permeability of house wraps prevents moisture saturation via small open pores that allow for evaporation. They are durable and solid enough to reduce injuries from exterior elements and installation procedures. They have in-built properties of insulation, withstanding split forces, efficient thermal performance, and inhibit ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Competitive advantage between House Wraps vs Tar Paper

Weather-resistant barriers possess the need to have superb qualities of durability, resilience, and strength so as to fight the highest levels of opposing climatic forces. Many contractors love to have proper perspectives that help them identify which materials serve better for clients.

Considering house wrap advantages, they offer the option of various roll sizes with user-friendly ease of application, which entails use of staplers on external shells. The improvised shield protects moisture penetration, which is also professionally designed with the ability to enliven houses without permitting excessive currents of wind/water to jeopardize the structural integrity of buildings. House wraps are also known to rank higher in ratings of permeability (rate of evaporation), insulation capacity, and ultraviolet radiation. They also foster savings on your bills via energy efficiency. Meanwhile, the life duration of house wraps is claimed to span up to 20 years and more, but only if properly installed.

The disadvantages of house wrap hold more sway in non-adhesive types. It mostly results from installation issues. Once installation is not properly done, poor application leads to deterioration under persistent UV and moist conditions. Because stapling serves to hold wraps in place, insufficient clips and improper sheathing minimize the quality in the future and shorten the lifespan. Another drawback is that infiltrations are permitted into external coverings with improper handling as well as prolonged exposures. Furthermore, construction fragments on site can also dent, puncture, and create holes in house wraps. If not handled/sealed on time, it later forms loopholes for air and moisture to trespass. Also, prolonged UV exposure not only degrades and discolors house wraps, it reduces insulation ratings and flexibility of usage.

Tar paper

On the other hand, is cheaper, has a far longer life span and can serve any siding type when compared to house wraps. But it also entails huge labour, energy and work during installations. If correctly installed, it can even cater to wind pressures, which discredits its usage in popular opinion when it comes to drafty weather.

The problem? There are higher possibilities of air and moisture getting in as a result of too many joints when compared to house wraps. Apart from sagging and wrinkling when left in the sun for too long, wind exposure makes tar paper lose its efficiency and pose worse threats than wraps when incorrectly installed.

House Wrap vs Tar Paper: Which Serves Better?

In the contest of house wraps vs tar paper, what material stands out in combating powerful elements of weather? Considerations should rather be weighed on a scale of comfort, internal living/micro-climatic conditions, energy efficiency, permeability, UV, and insulation ratings. House wraps score more if we go by the overall scale of preferences. Tar paper does not just lose its color appeal when left in the sun, but also contains risky health issues in case of fire outbreaks. If the life span was the major benchmark for the two materials, tar paper stands out. But if all the other factors aforementioned come into play, house wraps win. Nevertheless, your power of choice counts on your willingness to go by your informed intuition.

Editorial Contributors
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Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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