With storms and inclement weather becoming more frequent and more intense over the years, it is high time that homes also step up in terms of protection. One of the best ways to protect home structures from a variety of conditions is through a house wrap.
These weather-resistant barriers, or WRBs, are special wrapping materials that are installed on the external layer of the house’s walls to prevent water ingress and control humidity, just behind the external cladding that serves as the home’s primary protective material.
Homeowners are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a house wrap, as there are literally dozens of options on the market today. But as with our previous article on Typar vs. Tyvek, we will be honing in on two of the most popular options right now—Barricade House Wrap and Tyvek HomeWrap.
What is Barricade House Wrap?
Barricade House Wrap is a woven fabric made of high-density polyethylene, which provides much of the structural support of the material. This weave is then covered with a layer of non-woven perforated polyethylene film, which provides the material’s water resistance and permeability.
What is Tyvek HomeWrap?
Tyvek HomeWrap, meanwhile, is a non-woven and non-perforated polyolefin barrier material, which gives it significantly different properties compared to Barricade. We will explore these properties in more detail later.
Choosing a House Wrap
Choosing the best weather-resistant barrier for your house is almost entirely dependent on the conditions your house is expected to deal with over the lifespan of the house wrap.
The reason for this is that, generally speaking, all house wraps have similar properties that give homes the same basic protections from different weather conditions. The only difference here is that each house wrap’s material composition makes it more suited to certain aspects than others.
We’ve included all of the characteristics of a standard house wrap in the following section, which we’ll use to compare Barricade and Tyvek house wraps.
As a weather-resistant barrier, one of the core performance metrics for any house wrap is to prevent any water or rain from seeping into the walls and damaging its internal structures.
There are generally two types of tests that are used to determine the water resistance of a house wrap. The first is a “pond test”, which places the pressure of 1 inch of water over the house wrap for two hours.
The second test is a hydrostatic pressure test, in which the house wrap is subjected to increasing quantities of water pressure in order to establish the breaking point of the house wrap material.
As the name suggest, draining is the ability of the house wrap to channel incoming water down and out of the wall. This is another aspect of the house wrap’s weather protection, which is arguably more important because any water pooling on the wrap itself could end up causing serious damage.
For most house wraps, drainage ability is provided by installing the house wrap with a gap between the wrap and the main wall structure, allowing the water to channel down the house wrap without reaching the wall behind it.
More recently, however, some manufacturers have looked into developing house wraps with integrated drainage planes, removing the need to set up the separate clearance.
Besides water, house wraps must have some level of air resistance to help block out air drafts and potential moisture ingress, as is the case with storms and strong rains. Since the exterior cladding is the house’s main buffer against wind, this is not a very strict requirement in most cases.
What is important for a house wrap, though, is its vapor permeability, which measures the ability of the house wrap let water vapor (but not larger water drops) pass through it.
Permeability is important as it allows the home to “breathe” in a way, letting moisture vent out of the house more easily to control the humidity of the walls and rooms inside. Excess humidity, of course, is one of the two ingredients for the formation of mold and mildew.
The last consideration we will be looking at for the purposes of this comparison is the durability of the house wrap.
Even though house wraps are usually pretty thin, they do still have to stand up to the rigors of being installed on houses and being directly exposed to the elements for days or even weeks before all of the exterior cladding is put up.
This is typically measured in terms of both tear resistance, UV resistance, and cold resistance. Most house wraps will typically be rated to last up to 3 months fully exposed to the elements before failing, but builder timeframes should be much shorter than that to ensure the effectiveness of the wrap after installation.
What Do I Choose?
Now that we have all of the supporting knowledge that we need, let’s now bring Barricade and Tyvek house wraps together for a proper comparison. We don’t want to bore you with any tricky maths, so we’ll break down our comparison based on each of the considerations we’ve looked at.
Water Resistance: Tyvek house wrap is rated for a higher level of water resistance compared to Barricade, which makes Tyvek the better choice if your home is in a region with lots of rainfall.
Drainage: The design of the Barricade house wrap allows it to function as a drainage plane, which allows water to flow out of Barricade house wraps much more easily compared to Tyvek.
Air Resistance: Both Tyvek and Barricade house wraps have a Type 1 air penetration rating according to the ASTM E1677. Since this specification doesn’t have any specific metrics, both wraps are considered effective enough for home and building applications.
Vapor Permeability: Tyvek also has a higher permeability rating at 56 perms compared to Barricade’s 10 perms, giving it better breathability and improved humidity control.
Durability: Barricade house wrap has been found to have a much higher tensile strength compared to Tyvek, which makes Barricade more capable of stretching before it eventually tears. Barricade also has a rated UV resistance of up to 12 months whereas Tyvek is not recommended to be used under direct UV exposure.