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A building wrapped with Tyvek brand housewrap during construction Tyvek house wrap.jpg
A building wrapped with Tyvek brand housewrap during construction

Housewrap (or house wrap), also known by the genericized trademark homewrap (or home wrap), generally denotes a modern synthetic material used to protect buildings. Housewrap functions as a weather-resistant barrier, preventing rain or other forms of moisture from getting into the wall assembly while allowing water vapor to pass to the exterior. If moisture from either direction is allowed to build up within stud or cavity walls, mold and rot can set in and fiberglass or cellulose insulation will lose its R-value due to heat-conducting moisture. House wrap may also serve as an air barrier if it is sealed carefully at seams. [1]


Housewrap is a replacement for the older tar paper or asphalt saturated felt on walls. It is lighter in weight, available in much wider rolls, and both faster and easier to apply.

Major types


Housewrap is installed between the sheathing and the exterior siding, and is utilized behind vinyl, wood clapboards, shingles or shakes, brick, and other building materials. In all cases, the housewrap helps prevent water intrusion when moisture in any form gets past the siding and its trim and caulking.

As such, housewrap must be both water shedding and have a high moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) to be effective. [2] It must also withstand abuse during installation, hold up in significant winds while awaiting exterior siding installation, and, as housewrap is often left exposed for some time before being cladded-over, be resistant to UV. Some new designs must be installed carefully or they will slightly rip or tear during installation, possibly allowing for water infiltration at the damaged areas. Being both thin and inelastic, most newer designs do not "self-seal" well against nails or staples like asphalt products.


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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wall</span> Vertical structure, usually solid, that defines and sometimes protects an area

A wall is a structure and a surface that defines an area; carries a load; provides security, shelter, or soundproofing; or, is decorative. There are many kinds of walls, including:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stucco</span> Construction material made of aggregates, a binder, and water

Stucco or render is a construction material made of aggregates, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, exterior walls, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture. Stucco can be applied on construction materials such as metal, expanded metal lath, concrete, cinder block, or clay brick and adobe for decorative and structural purposes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Siding (construction)</span> Exterior cladding on building walls

Siding or wall cladding is the protective material attached to the exterior side of a wall of a house or other building. Along with the roof, it forms the first line of defense against the elements, most importantly sun, rain/snow, heat and cold, thus creating a stable, more comfortable environment on the interior side. The siding material and style also can enhance or detract from the building's beauty. There is a wide and expanding variety of materials to side with, both natural and artificial, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Masonry walls as such do not require siding, but any wall can be sided. Walls that are internally framed, whether with wood, or steel I-beams, however, must always be sided.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Radiant barrier</span>

A radiant barrier is a type of building material that reflects thermal radiation and reduces heat transfer. Because thermal energy is also transferred by conduction and convection, in addition radiation, radiant barriers are often supplemented with thermal insulation that slows down heat transfer by conduction or convection.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tar paper</span> Construction material

Tar paper is a heavy-duty paper used in construction. Tar paper is made by impregnating paper with tar, producing a waterproof material useful for roof construction. Tar paper is similar to roofing felt, historically a felt-like fabric made from recycled rags impregnated with melted asphalt, and today evolving into a more complex underlayment of synthetic mesh or fiberglass strands waterproofed by synthetically enhanced asphalt.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tyvek</span> Brand of synthetic polyethylene fiber

Tyvek is a brand of synthetic flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers. The name "Tyvek" is a registered trademark of the American multinational chemical company DuPont, which discovered and commercialized Tyvek in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

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Waterproofing is the process of making an object or structure waterproof or water-resistant so that it remains relatively unaffected by water or resisting the ingress of water under specified conditions. Such items may be used in wet environments or underwater to specified depths.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Exterior insulation finishing system</span> Non-load bearing building cladding

Exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) is a general class of non-load bearing building cladding systems that provides exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in an integrated composite material system. In Europe, systems similar to EIFS are known as External Wall Insulation System (EWIS) and External Thermal Insulation Cladding System (ETICS).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vapor barrier</span> Damp proofing material in sheet form

A vapor barrier is any material used for damp proofing, typically a plastic or foil sheet, that resists diffusion of moisture through the wall, floor, ceiling, or roof assemblies of buildings and of packaging to prevent interstitial condensation. Technically, many of these materials are only vapor retarders as they have varying degrees of permeability.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Superinsulation</span> Method of insulating a building

Superinsulation is an approach to building design, construction, and retrofitting that dramatically reduces heat loss by using much higher levels of insulation and airtightness than normal. Superinsulation is one of the ancestors of the passive house approach.

A building envelope is the physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building including the resistance to air, water, heat, light, and noise transfer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blister pack</span> Type of packaging

A blister pack is any of several types of pre-formed plastic packaging used for small consumer goods, foods, and for pharmaceuticals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nonwoven fabric</span> Sheet of fibers

Nonwoven fabric is a fabric-like material made from staple fibre (short) and long fibres, bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment. The term is used in the textile manufacturing industry to denote fabrics, such as felt, which are neither woven nor knitted. Some non-woven materials lack sufficient strength unless densified or reinforced by a backing. In recent years, non-wovens have become an alternative to polyurethane foam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Asphalt shingle</span> Type of shingle

An asphalt shingle is a type of wall or roof shingle that uses asphalt for waterproofing. It is one of the most widely used roofing covers in North America because it has a relatively inexpensive up-front cost and is fairly simple to install.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Damp proofing</span> Type of moisture control in building construction

Damp proofing in construction is a type of moisture control applied to building walls and floors to prevent moisture from passing into the interior spaces. Dampness problems are among the most frequent problems encountered in residences.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cement board</span> Backing board used in building construction

A cement board is a combination of cement and reinforcing fibers formed into sheets, of varying thickness that are typically used as a tile backing board. Cement board can be nailed or screwed to wood or steel studs to create a substrate for vertical tile and attached horizontally to plywood for tile floors, kitchen counters and backsplashes. It can be used on the exterior of buildings as a base for exterior plaster (stucco) systems and sometimes as the finish system itself.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Building insulation material</span>

Building insulation materials are the building materials which form the thermal envelope of a building or otherwise reduce heat transfer.

Air barriers control air leakage into and out of the building envelope. Air barrier products may take several forms:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rainscreen</span>

A rainscreen is an exterior wall detail where the siding stands off from the moisture-resistant surface of an air/water barrier applied to the sheathing to create a capillary break and to allow drainage and evaporation. The rainscreen is the cladding or siding itself but the term rainscreen implies a system of building. Ideally the rainscreen prevents the wall air/water barrier from getting wet but because of cladding attachments and penetrations water is likely to reach this point, and hence materials are selected to be moisture tolerant and integrated with flashing. In some cases a rainscreen wall is called a pressure-equalized rainscreen wall where the ventilation openings are large enough for the air pressure to nearly equalize on both sides of the rain screen, but this name has been criticized as being redundant and is only useful to scientists and engineers.

Interstitial condensation is a type of condensation that may occur within an enclosed wall, roof or floor cavity structure, which can create dampening.


  1. Krigger, John; Chris Dorsi (2004). Residential Energy: Cost Savings and Comfort for Existing Buildings. Helena, Montana: Saturn Resource Management. p.  110. ISBN   1-880120-12-7. OCLC   56315804.
  2. Reed, Ryan (May 2004). "Housewrap Felt or Paper: Comparing specs on weather barriers". BUILDERnews Magazine. Pacific NW Publishing, Inc. Archived from the original on 2004-08-20. Retrieved 2016-02-24.