Weather Barrier Update: Good, Better, and Best

A hand cap stapler works well for installing housewrap.

To help prevent water damage like this, don't skimp on the WRB material or its installation.

If a housewrap tears easily, don't use it.

The textured surface on this housewrap, made by Tyvek, creates small vertical channels between the back of the cladding and the sheathing, allowing moisture to drain to the ground. It needs to be oriented properly when installed.

The plastic dots adhered to Benjamin Obdyke's Hydrogap housewrap hold the cladding off the sheathing and provide space for water to drain. This housewrap can be installed in any orientation.

When a separate rainscreen will be installed, the housewrap doesn't need to be textured. Here, taped Huber Zip Wall sheathing was used with a rainscreen.

When HardiePlank covers the walls, ripped strips of the material can be used to form the rainscreen. Rainscreens can also be made with 1x3 solid wood strapping.

Coroplast is a sheet product that has continuous parallel flutes along its length. In a 3/8-inch thickness, it can be used to form an excellent rainscreen.

Coroplast is easy to rip on a table saw.

Before the top and bottom strips are installed, an 8-inch-wide strip of insect screen is stapled on and folded back over the Coroplast to keep out the bugs.

For this job, which called for vertical siding, Coroplast strips were attached horizontally.

When used with vertical siding, the Coroplast sheets must be ripped across their 4-foot width and attached so that the flutes run vertically.

Reservoir cladding like stucco, stone, or brick soaks up lots of water. Stapled to the housewrap, Delta-Dry Stucco & Stone, a dimpled, zero-perm plastic mat, provides an air gap between it and the sheathing and between it and the cladding.

Delta-Vent SA peel-and-stick membrane air-seals walls as well as protecting them from moisture. It should be used with a rainscreen.

The sheathing must be primed before Delta-Vent SA is installed.

Its aluminum outer layer helps the peel-and-stick WRB Aluma Flash withstand UV rays almost indefinitely.

At the University of Texas at Austin Construction Durability Lab, mocked-up wall panels were covered in a variety of WRBs, as per manufacturers’ specifications, then left out in the weather, where they’ve been since 2013. Commercial-grade fluid-applied WRBs have outperformed the other WRBs.

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