Problems with Housewraps

Air and moisture leaks caused by:

  1. 1
    Holes from nails and staples
  2. 2
    Seams that are not properly sealed
  3. 3
    Rips & tears caused by high winds

You can fix many things in a new home except the walls. Make sure they are built right.

When housewrap was first used in the late 1960s, it was an important first step in the control of air and moisture flow through exterior walls, making it a welcome addition to residential construction. As there was limited control of air and moisture flow before housewrap, the performance it delivered was viewed favorably.

However, building science has evolved and the demand for more energy-efficient homes has grown, and the inherent weaknesses of housewrap have become more apparent. The problems with housewrap are that it allows air and moisture to penetrate the building envelope, and it’s not waterproof.*

Holes caused by staples and nails, untaped seams and tears compromise its ability to be an effective air and moisture barrier. Don't let the integrity of your new home’s exterior be compromised with an ineffective product.

*Problems with Housewraps-Research Report - 0106 - Joseph Lstiburek 2001

Inspect Your New Home

If your builder is using housewrap, you should take the extra step to inspect it before the exterior siding is installed. Once the siding is installed, any problems will be covered up.

Here is what to look for with housewrap:

1. First look at how it was attached. If the builder used nails or staples and not the recommended attachment devices, there will be an opening where each nail or staple was used. Ask the builder to repair these.

2. Look at the seams and make sure they have been taped so there are no open seams that can allow air and moisture to get in the wall.

3. Look for any rips or tears that are frequently caused by high winds or a careless worker on the jobsite.

Tell your builder that you want to inspect the housewrap before it is covered to avoid potential problems in the future.