House wraps are a very popular scene on construction sites. Officially known as Water Resistant Barriers (WRB), this material plays a very significant role in insulating water and air in order to enhance the thermal status and energy efficiency of homes. In the construction market, manufacturers always defend their products and blow their trumpets to knock out competition and stand out as the best. But do they really have a sustainable solution to your problem? If you fully know and understand the specifications of what you are looking for, you will never be baited/side-tracked into buying something that will not serve your purpose. Thus, it is very important that we critically consider the quality, characteristics, and procedures of selecting house wraps to avert headaches and high blood pressure in the future.
Despite the cover provided by external walls from extreme weather conditions, house wraps are still needed to preserve the internal temperature and fresh atmosphere of our dwellings.
The Base of House Wraps
Produced from synthetic materials enclosed in wood used for external walls, house wraps are customized products used to prevent the passage of moisture into our inner walls. Designed with user-friendly capacities, their application saves time as they can be impenetrable and joined seamlessly to enhance the building’s enclosure.
Why House Wraps?
Existing homes, no matter how solidly erected, are never impregnable to cracks and fractures. In the presence of adverse weather conditions, the probability of water seepage in external walls increases. This does not only create ugly scenes, but can also be very destructive to the structural integrity of your home. Uncontrolled penetration of water fertilizes the ground for the growth of fungus and, worse yet, it hurts the stability of the building and punctures holes in your pockets from unforeseen maintenance expenses.
Previously, asphalt-based materials were used to resolve this problem, but the issue with them was that they compromised the quality of internal oxygen, had unhealthy implications, tedious/weighty application measures, and provided good habitats for hazardous microorganisms.
Currently, developers would rather have materials that are not just lighter and simple to use, but those that make for safe, healthy, and comfortable homes.
The core of house wraps does not stop with stopping water seepage, it begins with the dynamic ability that invigorates an interior living space. Most available house wraps permit evaporation from interior spaces to the exterior, which manages the atmospheric humidity, prevents moisture accumulation, and sustains the life span of external walls. Much sweeter, the avenue to seamlessly apply these synthetic barriers makes for airtight homes that provide shielded enclosures for the building. Consequently, lagging interiors offer calm and friendly rooms (micro-climatic conditions).
What considerations are required?
House wraps do come in different appeal, quality and variety, depending on the expected results builders desire. Simply put, purpose precedes material choices of selection. So, the character benefits of individual house wrap products influence the decisions of professionals in this industry.
To satisfy the indicators and life time of your house, we need to consider these factors in your choice of house wraps; permeability, insulation ratings, installation, drainage capacity, energy saving quotient, health benefits, and ultra-violet ratings.
Permeability and Insulation Ratings
In order to eliminate the probability of decay with the multiplication of mold, micro pores are provided to permit the ideal breathing ability of your home. House wraps in-built with international standard ratings of high permeability for evaporation are wiser options. In other words, the higher the permeability rating, the faster the pace of vaporization. Permeability varies with manufacturers, some of which have firmer seals and enclosures than others that tend to expand with time.
Common non-adhesive house wraps normally fixed with fixtures provide room for future expansion, which makes the weather barriers get bloated from perforations, therefore reducing the permeability. Caution is expedient, especially during installation, which we shall look into.
For self-adhering barriers, which are also known as peel-and-stick membranes, permeability exists too, but their application methods limit the vulnerability to damage from serious weather pressure. The absence of holes created during application makes this type guarantee more relief than non-adhesive ones.
No matter what the recommendation by manufacturers, the permeability of house wraps should never be negotiated. Possibly, check manufacturer ratings to ascertain the ratings.
Insulation Ratings (R-value)
Moisture’s capacity for conducting makes water resistant barriers lose their insulating quality (R-value). The professional unit for measuring insulation is the R-value. It tells the installer the proficiency of the synthetic material in use. This will not just reduce the infiltration of air, but also block out thermal transfer within the wood from external temperatures.
House wraps, which are non-adhesive in application, get prone to being inflated with time. Fasteners like staples/nails puncture these barriers and then compromise the quality of envelope enclosures on homes. It can also be said, the competency of contractors affects the efficacy of installation techniques during application. How? House wraps requiring fasteners stand the chance of compromising the efficiency of air-tight barriers. Any uncoordinated piercing of house wraps creates pathways for ease of air circulation. Consequently, alternating weather seasons endlessly impact on the resistant barriers, making them lose cohesion.
Manufacturers’ claims about the integrity/proficiency of their product are most likely true, but the installation measures, if not well done, can wrongly present manufacturers as liars. So, it is very important to ensure the installation procedures are sound. Where perforations are needed, proper covers should be applied. As much as possible, fasteners should be minimized and only utilized where necessary. Alternatively, plastic washers can be used with metallic tacks.
Most importantly, thorough work should be done when covering joints so as to prepare for very hot weather periods. The direction of strap covers should agree with the direction that moisture and air follow. Vertical application, as opposed to horizontal, helps to naturally enhance drainage as hot air rises while water follows gravity. Measures should be in place to prevent saturation by all means.
It refers to the prevalent spaces created as channels for the frequent discharge of moisture so water doesn’t get stored up. This feature protects delicate materials from direct contact with adverse weather conditions (rain/snow).
Energy Saving Capacity
The variety of manufactured house wraps are derived from energy footprints, which is an advantage for saving and preserving energy in homes. Because house wraps seal away the infiltration of excessive air/leaks, the thermal behaviour of your home is enhanced to minimize your utility bills for cooling and heating systems. It promotes clean air, protects ultra-violet rays, and knows out pests and rodents. The quotient of energy saved in house wraps is influenced by the “envelope seal capacity” afforded in your choice of selection, which determines energy efficiency.
Many manufacturers claim that vapor is prevented between your interior and exterior space, which is correct. But house wraps make provision for trapping certain toxins within your walls as they prevent air/moisture seepage. These contaminants come from within your home, thereby reducing the quality of the air inside your house. As a result, depending on the climatic conditions of the building’s location, mechanized ventilating systems are required in order to save energy and maintain the constant availability of fresh air without reducing the quality of oxygen.
But most importantly, the type of house wrap you choose must provide a comfortable environment, eliminate allergic reactions, and ensure clean oxygen within homes.
Ultra Violet (UV) ratings
This refers to the longest duration of time that house wraps are able to survive prolonged sun exposure before they get spoiled. It determines how fast the house wraps lose quality, appeal, texture and colour.
Who has the Best House Wraps?
The reality depends on a full understanding and application of all the above factors specified for consideration. Knowledge is the key. An informed buyer is the wise one who knows perfectly and precisely what he/she is searching for. As already mentioned, if you know what to look for, you won’t be side-tracked or deceived.