I've read a few threads in this group about house wrap.
In particular, someone named "betty" wrote about her house not
being wrapped nor the windows flashed.
My wife & I just contracted to build a house with a tract builder.
During the contract signing, the representative went out of his way
to point out that they don't wrap the house. The exterior of this
house will be vinyl siding and stone.
I've read the "betty" thread and the following:
I'm beginning to be worried. A few questions:
1) Should I be worried?
2) How common of a practice is this?
3) Is there some other type of water barrier that I'm unaware of
other than house wrap?
As a contractor in North Georgia the words
(no house wrap) are NOT what you the home owner want to hear. That makes me
wonder what else your builder may be taking short cuts on. You as the home
owner have many things to consider here that you should be aware of. I would
be happy to give you more info. If you would like to e-mail me I will help
if I can. Go to the New panelized Home Company post just above to get my
mail link. I wont try to sell you anything, just help.
I'd insist on it.
In my area building wrap or building paper is required by code.
Not sure. Which types do you know?
Ask the builder what vinyl siding brand they install. Go to the
manufacturer's web site. Most vinyl siding installation instructions
specify a water barrier and say the vinyl does not replace the barrier.
You mean you can't read my mind?
I'm aware of wrap, felt and tar paper.
Ok. If that's the case, I can ask something along the lines of, "OK,
I know you said you weren't going to wrap the house, but the vinyl
siding manufacturer specifies a water barrier. Where is the water
barrier so that this siding is installed to manufacturer specs?"
Right. You should also check out your local code.
A similar omission happens with building felt under roof shingles.
Some contractors feel it's totally unnecessary and leave it out.
Unfortunately that automatically voids the warranty. Some of these
people buying 50-year shingles are getting hosed by cheap/lazy/ignorant
Builders take shortcuts like this and give bull crap excuses more and
more. But it's still a shortcut no matter how many of them are doing
it and getting away with it, and it still does void the warranty as
someone else pointed out. If you don't get experts on your side, and
make sure the house is built right, a lot of builders simply can't be
trusted to do it right, on their own. IMO this is especially true of
tract builders as they have the resources to tie you up legally so you
can never get anywhere. Incidentally omission of required material
also voids the structural warranty that may come with the house. GOOD
LUCK! http://www.hadd.com and http://www.hobb.org will be needed I
Where might I go to check out my local code?
Also, just because a builder says that they're not going to wrap
the house, does that imply that they're not going to install *ANY*
water barrier? I would think that saying "We're not going to wrap
the house" does not automatically mean "we're not going to apply
any water barrier"... does it?
Finally (at least for this post) does the fact that they've installed
the windows and the flashing around the windows necessarily imply
that they're not going to install any other water barrier? I found
an article that says that the order is:
1) Wall Sheathing
If the windows are in, then does that mean there's no additional
water barrier that will be applied?
Thanks for all the advice.
One more thing: they've got this stuff installed on the house:
Specifically, PLYGOOD Ultra. Is this a sufficient substitute for
not wrapping the house?
Thanks so much for all your advice!
Looks like it should be. It seems to be non-permeable and has a film on the
outside. I used Dow Tuff-R on my house, a similar product, and it is designed
to function as the primary water barrier. The Plygood doesn't have as much R
value compared to Tuff-R, however.
Maybe that's the reason that my inspector doesn't seem to be as
worried as the folks in this newsgroup appear to be.
The only thing is that the plygood ultra isn't installed everywhere.
It's installed lots of places, but not everwhere. So for example,
none of the gables have it. The entire front of the house doesn't
have it. It's pretty much on the sides of the house inside the
corners, and in a few patchwork places at the back of the house.
By far the vast majority of the house sheathing is OSB.
Here's a link to a picture showing where the green guard is:
My thoughts are that the placement is just plain dumb. There is no rhyme or
reason to it, the contractor probably had some left over from another job. It
certainly will not function as a primary water barrier. They are also using it
in place of the osb. I prefer a solid osb sheath for strength, then foam
board over every square inch for insulation and waterproofing, joints
staggered from the osb. Then install the windows and seal with self adhering
Normally I would completely agree with DT. The placement of the plyboard
seems off the wall and appears to defeat its purpose as a moisture/air
barrier. However, the picture on the distributor's web site seems to show
an application which looks kinda like yours. I mean some of the model
house (non-structural I think) is covered by green plyboard and the rest
OSB. I think if you want a definitive answer you should call the
distributor, send them your pictures and get their opinion of the correct
application of their product.
It think the product is probably a very good one. Your problem, if you have
one at all, would be with the application.
Here's their number 1-888-828-2850. In fact, they are here in Chicago. If
they give you any trouble, I'll go knock on their door for you.
The key to the placement of the Plyboard in the picture on the web site is, as
you point out, the non-structural areas. Corners, dormers, rim joists, etc all
use osb, and the foam board is placed in the center areas. That method was
popular in my area 20 years ago. But I haven't seen it used in quite a while.
Everyone covers completely with osb, then completely with foamboard. That way
you have the full benefits of both high shear strength and increased
But Mark's house is just random placement covering a small percentage of the
FWIW, house wrap is NOT required by the IRC with vinyl siding, but it IS for
the stone veneerunless a 1" air space is provided.
(However, for vinyl siding, states in colder regions, Minnesota for example,
require it as a infiltration barrier.)
If you access it the IRC, the requirements for sheathing paper are in Table
Thanks for the info. What's the IRC?
I see lots of different acronyms for things that (in context)
sound like building codes. But I don't know what any of them are
nor where I'd go to look at them if I needed to. Any pointers on
where I might go to look at these different codes?
Local building codes are based on "model codes". Up through the 1990's there
were three major building codes, BOCA (Midwest and eastern states), SBCCI
(southern states) and ICBO (UBC for the western states). In 2000 they
finally merged into one code called the IBC or International Building Code
(for commercial buildings) and IRC or International Residential Code (for
One Two Family Detached Dwellings and Townhouses, including apartments and
condo's if they qualify, three stories max, separate entries, two sides
None of the older codes are published any more (the three organizations
merged and changed their business. Only the ICC publishes a current building
code (with some minor exceptions such as NFPA which is riddled with errors,
and a few others which are not going anywhere. Mostly a case of 'sour
grapes' on their part.)
Anyway, the current version is the 2006 IRC, but so far the states are
mostly on the 2003 version (it takes time to adopt new codes and about this
time next year we'll start seeing the states using the 2006.)
If your interested in purchasing a copy, go to www.iccsafe.org and click on
"icc store". The current cost is $68 for nonmembers but you might find a
better price on eBay. If your not in the industry, it might be desirable to
purchase the IRC commentary instead. This is a full copy of the IC but
offers explanation for almost every item in the code; a handbook in other
words. Current cost is (for the 2003) is $136.75 and is well worth it if
your associated with the residential building industry.
One other thing to know is that most states adopt the code and then amend
certain sections to satisfy a special interest such as a plumbing union or
the like. Some amendments are good and some are .............. questionable.
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