House wraps are like anoraks for your home

Weather-resistive barriers help prevent cold air leaks

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Ever slip on a lightweight windbreaker on a blustery, rainy day and feel warmer? A windbreaker doesn't add much in the way of insulation and it only keeps out some of the rain, but really cuts down on how much wind works its way through all the little gaps in your clothes, so you end up feeling a lot more comfortable. Such is the concept behind house wraps, of which Tyvek is probably the most widely recognized brand. Technically called a weather-resistive barrier, or WRB, house wraps are designed to cut down substantially on the amount of cold air and drafts that can leak into your home through gaps in the exterior finish. The material wraps around the entire exterior of the home, under the siding, and can be applied directly to plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing, over foam insulation boards, or directly to the studs. An important distinction between today's house wraps and older wrap materials, such as felt paper, is that modern house wraps are not completely waterproof....