When discussing the long term viability of a home, there are no more important subjects to address than that of moisture, air and water vapor management.
Proper undertanding of how these 3 things work and interact throughout the spaces of a modern home is without question the most often misunderstood, and oft neglected aspect of new home construction.
Building Science, the literal science of studying how building systems work, is finally to the point where we can predict with certainty how a building will perform given certain input parameters. When you combine the amazing materials we now have at our disposal for home construction, with a proper understanding of how they work, by themselves and as a system, we are able to build homes with a comfort and durability level never before imagined. However, when these materials are haphazardly combined without knowing the true consequences of how they interact, it can be disasterous,
Few architects, fewer builders, and even fewer building inspectors have taken the time to continue their education in order to truly understand the nuances of building science. This is unfortunate at best.
Here is a quick litmus test. For yourself, for your contractor/architect, or building inspector. Ask them what these three terms mean (without using Google) vapor perm, hygroscopic and stack effect. If you get blank stares, that person should not be designing your building's insulation, air barriers and vapor retarders.
Huber Zip panels are our standard sheathing product. The green layer is a factory applied liquid house wrap membrane. The black stripes are a proprietary tape used to seal every seam in the sheathing making for an airtight assembly. The surface of the sheathing has a broken grid texture to it. This texture acts as a water surface-tension break when siding is installed tight to the sheathing. This allows any water that gets past the siding to drain down the wall assembly and out the bottom.
Zip Panel Rain Screen
The red sheathing is Huber Zip panels, the black stripes are Zip panel tape, the blue is a Carlisle brand adhered house wrap for extra moisture protection of the bottom 12" of the wall. The white strips are a rain screen. This is a method we love to use on walls with wood siding. It allows the wood to dry to both sides and ensures there will never be moisture intrusion into the structure.