Overcoming House Wrap Issues With Self-adhered Membranes

Overcoming House Wrap Issues

Many businesses might not be in the habit of sharing the benefits of a competitor’s product. Occasionally, however, they offer information of which one should consider. We’ve been lauding the benefits of using self-adhered air barriers as opposed to mechanically-attached house wraps for some time now. We’d like to refer you to an infographic posted by Grace Construction Products, a construction material manufacturer and chemical company.

Some Common Housewrap Problems

  1. In reference to weather protection barriers, they illustrate how the typical house wrap can tear in high wind scenarios, and that copious amounts of fasteners are required to attach it to a structure. This is not the case with the use of Self-adhering membranes. They are their own fastener (so to speak), and, as a result, tearing due to high wind is kept to a minimum.
  1. Ease of installation cannot be overstated here. What would take a considerable amount of manpower to cover a home in the standard house wrap take less time an effort with the self-adhering membrane as it adheres to most common construction surfaces, including itself at overlaps. This also means less time spent repairing seams and leaks in your air barrier.
  1. Due to leaks caused by typical house wrap application methods, a substantial amount of heat and energy are lost. Once again, the use of self-adhering membranes can substantially reduce your heating and cooling costs by as much as several hundred of dollars a year.


They’ve done a pretty wonderful job of explaining the benefits of a product switch to overcome the problems with house wrap. It’s at this point we’d like to mention our own product, The DELTA® VENT-SA, which does the same extraordinary job with the quality you expect from Cösella-Dorken. If you’re looking for air tight alternatives, you should consider DELTA®-VENT SA.

Cosella-Dörken delivers innovative, high-performance air and moisture barriers for commercial and residential construction sold under the DELTA® brand name. A North American manufacturer based out of Beamsville, Ontario, Cosella-Dörken Products, Inc. is a subsidiary of Ewald Dörken AG, a leading European developer and manufacturer of waterproofing and drainage products sold worldwide. Cosella-Dörken is known for delivering premium products while providing educational programs and full technical support. For more information, call 1-888-4DELTA4 (433-5824) or visit www.cosella-dorken.com.

  • Tom Cross

    There are at least a half-dozen fully adhered air and water barriers I have found. How do the technical specs compare on them? What are the best ones and why? Give us some comparative data so we can judge quality.

    • Mark Mitchell

      Tom, thanks for your inquiry. We are working on a comparison chart that we will post and forward to you. Is there any other information you would like?

    • Marcus Jablonka

      There are two main categories of self-adhered air and water barriers: vapour impermeable (e.g. Bitumen sheets) and vapour permeable. Both can have their advantages and disadvantages. Non-permeable membranes have been around for a long time, and are typically found in commercial construction (steel studs, exterior insulation). If installed properly, they work well – see Dr. Joe Lstiburek’s reference to “perfect wall”. In case of an incidental leak moisture cannot escape to the outside, though.
      Vapour permeable membranes have also been around for many years, and have a proven track record in residential construction (housewrap) – typically mechanically fastened. Installed over wood sheathing with cavity insulation they do work well in keeping bulk water out and allowing incidental moisture to escape via diffusion to the outside, helping to prevent damage to the wood structure. Recent developments in technology have allowed for membranes to be coated with adhesives and still remain vapour permeable. Today there are products available with a vapour permeability as high as 50 perms with a fully adhesive coated backside. This means the product can be fully self-adhered to the substrate, as we know it from conventional bitumen sheets. This makes these products highly suitable for commercial/institutional construction. The “perfect” wall now receives an additional safety buffer, allowing incidental moisture to dry back to the outside via diffusion while preventing any lateral water or airflow behind the membrane due to it being fully adhered to the substrate. For vetting of performance and quality I recommend to look for third party evaluations, I.e. ICC-ES report, AABA evaluation.