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June 17, 2004

Ask Darrell - Issue 11

Building Papers – What are They?

Darrell Paul

Referred to as house wrap, black paper, tarpaper and other such terms, building papers have a specific purpose on a home.

To be effective they must stop air, act as a capillary break, and provide a drainage plane. At times it does only one task, other times it does all three.

Some of the characteristics that it must have are very important as well. In a windy location they must be durable, folding around corners and edges also can require durability.

Exposure to the elements, more importantly protection from sunlight and the UV rays that tend to deteriorate many materials. They must be breathable. That means that any moisture behind would be permitted to breath back and forth through the materials.

Finally they must be water resistant. Some materials are more resistant to water than others. Asphalt impregnated or tarpaper has a rating as to how long they can be in contact with water prior to absorbing it.

For instance many homes have a 20 minute paper used behind the siding. Stucco however requires 30 minute paper as a minimum. The number of minutes is the amount of time it take to become totally saturated when submersed in water.

House wraps as they are commonly referred to are spun or punched Poly Olefin materials such as Tyvek©, Typar©, Green guard©, Weathermate©, R-Wrap©, and others. They resist by means of surface tension. The surface area has such small pores that the water molecules won’t pass through, however they remain extremely breathable.

Some things that builders will consider when choosing materials are, how long will they be exposed to the weather before they can be covered with siding or stucco. Some builders put double paper so that the first layer protects the second.

Wrapping around roof extensions, cantilevers and build outs can cause papers to tear and rip. House wraps are generally more durable materials and can easily be folded and bent without tearing.
House wraps are generally more airtight than tarpapers, therefore the insulation is more efficient, as air passing through insulation reduces its R-value.

One thing to ensure is the compatibility of products. For instance the red Sheathing tape was designed for house wraps, and tends not to perform well with Asphalt type tarpapers so check the approvals before using.

For more information you can contact the manufactures at the following web sites:
www.tyvek.com
www.typarhousewrap.com
www.ludlowcp.com/pages/rwrap.html

Darrell Paul has dedicated his entire career within the residential building industry, is President of Qualistat Builders Ltd. (1986), current Director of Board of Governors with the Professional Home Builders Institute of Alberta (PHIBA), accomplished speaker/presenter in addition to instructing with SAIT.

If you have a question you would like Darrell to address in CondoSource please forward to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Subject: Ask Darrell.

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