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Business Advice5 min

The Importance Of Vapor Permeability In Building Envelopes

Since 1898, the American Society for Testing and Materials (now called ASTM International) has developed technical standards for a wide variety of building materials. They test for things like burn resistance. For weather-resistant barriers (WRBs), ASTM has developed rigorous tests for water resistance and water penetration, plus an air barrier assembly test. But an equally important test is ASTM E96, which measures water vapor permeability over a 24-hour period.

Even after exterior cladding goes up, walls can get wet. Small amounts of moisture in the wall turn to gas (water vapor) that needs to escape. If walls can't dry out thoroughly, the home is susceptible to mold and rot.

The term vapor permeability (sometimes called "breathability") refers to a material's ability to let water vapor pass through it. ASTM E96 measures this in units called "perms" - and today's building codes require WRBs to provide 5 perms or higher.

The Difference Between House Wrap and WRB

Since the 1960s, many builders have relied on plastic house wraps to achieve superior vapor permeability. But house wraps are applied after traditional sheathing is installed and approved by code officials. Then a crew has to return to wrap and tape the whole house.

In contrast, a product like new LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier requires fewer steps. The sheathing and weather-protective layer are combined in a single panel that can be installed just like regular sheathing. The panel seams are then securely taped with an advanced acrylic tape that features one of today’s highest quality adhesives. And because the vapor-permeable overlay is permanently integrated into the panel, it won’t tear or blow away.

One of the best ways to get a tight building envelope is to use a structural panel like LP WeatherLogic barrier where the sheathing and vapor-permeable layer are tightly bonded during the manufacturing process. It's a breakthrough that involves fewer steps and less waiting than using house wrap.

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Business Advice5 min

Selling STS to Homeowners

Your clients may not often see the bones of their home, so they may not be aware of the benefits that come from your choice of added-value framing and sheathing products. Furthermore, you may be used to discussing exterior options, such as siding and color, with your clients but not as practiced with sharing the features of the other products you choose.

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Inspiration7 min
6 Must-Haves for Resilient Construction

There's no question builders want their homes to endure. But times are changing, and the opportunities to look fondly upon a home you've built after another 30 years are being affected by climate change and the threat of increasingly more powerful storms.

Inspiration5 min
How to Choose Trim & Siding Widths

Have you ever been particularly enamored by one house and rather ambivalent toward another-even though they look practically the same? One reason for this could be the different combinations of lap siding and trim widths, which helps create a distinctive and more appealing aesthetic for the home. How does a builder choose siding width and exterior window trim width? Let's take a look at trim and siding width options and how to choose both.

News & Stories5 min
The Fine Homebuilding Podcast: Kyle Stumpenhorst and Neil Freidberg Discuss the Technology Behind LP Structural Solutions Products

Recently, Neil Freidberg, Building Science Manager at LP Building Solutions, and Kyle Stumpenhorst of RR Buildings joined Fine Homebuilding Senior Editor Patrick McCombe to talk about the technology behind LP WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier and other proven products from LP Structural Solutions on The Fine Homebuilding Podcast.