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10 FAQs and Answers About House Wraps

You’ve probably heard of house wraps before, but aren’t too familiar with them. They’re actually a moisture and air barrier that seals gaps and leaks in the oriented strand board (OSB) panels or plywood sheathing that makes up a layer beneath your home’s siding. This helps in preventing drafts from getting into your main insulation while reducing heating and cooling costs by acting as an additional insulated layer.

The main purpose of using a house wrap is to prevent the entry of moisture into the wall cavity from outside. While it’s water-resistant, a house wrap typically isn’t water impermeable or waterproof. If the house wrap becomes impermeable, it can lead to rot and mold growth in the wall cavity.

10 FAQs and Answers About House Wraps

To learn more about house wraps and whether you need one for your home, today we answer some of your most common questions:

  1. After Installation, How Long Does House Wrap Last? Since house wrap goes under the siding, it will last almost as long as your home itself. There’s never any need to change or replace house wrap unless there was a fire or some other type of structural damage.
  2. Do Older Homes Have House Wrap? Usually, older homes don’t have a house wrap because it wasn’t used at that time. But there are some that do; usually, these homes have been retrofitted, but the cost to do so and the difficulty of the job will vary widely based on its size, age, the type of construction and the type of siding.
  3. Can House Wrap Be Installed With Foam Insulation? The simple answer is yes. With the two products combined, you can make your home even more insulated from outside wind and other weather conditions. Keep in mind that, when you’re planning to install house wrap with rigid foam, it typically goes under the insulation and not around it.
  4. Any House Wrap Installation Tips to Keep in Mind? As much as possible, make sure the house wrap is installed according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions, and only use fasteners and seals that are recommended. Your hired contractor is also aware of these requirements as well as a few general guidelines that apply to the installation, which include:
  • Installing the house wrap before the doors and windows
  • Working from the bottom up and overlapping the lower courses
  • Extending the house wrap over the footing top by at least two inches
  • Sealing all the seams with a special tape that’s provided by the manufacturer
  • Installing the house wrap properly between the double top wall plates