Riding a boost in popularity thanks to higher gas bills and environmental concerns, housewrap manufacturers are trying to bring added benefits to their customers. Some new offerings include weather barrier systems that combine two or more products into one, niche products, and reflective housewrap that better prevents heat transfer. “We’re under very difficult financial times,” says Pat Lynch, vice president of sales for Georgia-Pacific. “Anything you can do to bring value — [like] have a solution that eliminates cost or has a benefit — would help builders sell.”
Georgia-Pacific’s Nautilus product merges OSB wall sheathing and housewrap into one product to help cut installation time. The product installs like typical sheathing, and the seams are taped to prevent air leaks. A building wrap is laminated to the sheathing, eliminating the need to install housewrap separately.
Along with saving installation time, these products “reduce inefficiencies or inconsistencies in on-site construction,” says John Hammer, residential marketing manger for Dow. Dow’s Styrofoam SIS structural insulated sheathing (pictured) melds wood sheathing, housewrap, and insulation into one system. Similarly, Huber Engineered Woods’ Zip System wall and roofsheathings have built-in weather-resistant barriers.
Weather Tex by Fortifiber also fits the systems trend, but works best in niche markets. The material is a two-ply barrier that combines building paper and a polymeric housewrap. Weather Tex keeps builders from having to wrap a house twice to get the protection of two layers, which is especially helpful in areas like Florida, where two-ply application is a code requirement, says Fortifiber technical services manager Dave Olson. The product also keeps builders from having to layer housewrap and building paper to finish a home in stucco or cultured stone.
Reflective weather barriers serve as housewrap, but pull double-duty as an energy-saving radiant heat barrier. The reflective material keeps heat out in the summer, and in during the winter. DuPont’s Tyvek ThermaWrap uses a breathable aluminum layer to reduce heat flow by 15%, and add a value of R-2 to a wall when installed with an airspace. It also serves as a weather barrier.
Covertech Fabricating’s Reflective Ruff Rap is a single layer of reflective metalized aluminum laminated to a blend of polyethylene, and pin perforated. Thus, the housewrap acts as both an air-infiltration barrier and a radiant barrier, stopping 96% of radiant heat transfer and increasing insulation efficiency by 20%, the maker says. Environmentally Safe Products’ Low-E housewrap (pictured) is also pin-perforated, blocking up to 97% of radiant heat. The material is made of an aluminum facing bonded to closed-cell polyethylene.
Manufacturers are touting the value and energy savings of housewrap. “On the consumer side, they want homes with a high eco-rating and lower heating and cooling costs,” Hammer says. “On the builder side, they want to find a way to sell more homes and differentiate themselves in a very competitive market.”
A version of this article originally appeared in ProSales magazine.