Vinyl Siding with Integrated Rigid Foam for Existing Walls


Last Updated: 04/17/2017

Scope

Key elements of a wall system clad with insulated vinyl siding
Key elements of a wall system clad with insulated vinyl siding

Insulate the walls of an existing home by removing the existing cladding and installing insulated vinyl siding to upgrade the thermal control function of the wall as follows:

  • Remove existing cladding and trim.
  • Inspect the condition of a water-resistive barrier (house wrap), if present, and flashing.
  • Inspect the wall system for evidence of moisture damage, especially at wall penetrations (i.e., windows and doors).
  • (As needed) Identify the source of any existing moisture damage and develop a strategy to correct it.
  • (As needed) Install a water-resistive barrier and flashing. Integrate all flashing with the drainage plane layer. For guidance on water management of existing windows and doors, see Fully Flashed Window and Door Openings, Window Rehabilitation, and Window Replacement.
  • Install the insulated vinyl siding following the general installation procedures under the Description Tab of this guide, while conforming to project-specific details and siding manufacturer’s requirements and recommendations.

For more on insulated sheathing and insulated siding installation, see the U.S. Department of Energy’s Standard Work Specifications.

See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards, and criteria to meet national programs such as ENERGY STAR, DOE’s Zero Energy Home program, and EPA’s Indoor airPLUS.

Description

This guide describes the steps for replacing a home’s existing cladding with insulated vinyl siding (Figure 1).

Key elements of a wall system clad with insulated vinyl siding
Figure 1. Key elements of a wall system clad with insulated vinyl siding (photo courtesy of Home Innovation).

Insulated vinyl siding is a wall cladding that consists of vinyl siding with a permanently attached rigid foam backing, most commonly made of expanded polystyrene (EPS). The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) recognizes it as a form of continuous insulation when the tested R-value (a measure of thermal resistance) is R-2 or greater. Insulated vinyl siding provides the following benefits:

  • It improves the home’s energy performance by providing a continuous layer of thermal resistance to the home’s exterior walls. The insulated vinyl siding reduces the effect of thermal bridging that takes place through the wall’s framing members (wall studs have lower R-values than the cavity insulation), which keeps more heat in the home during the winter and out during the summer.
  • It can reduce wall sheathing moisture content by keeping the wall cavity at a higher temperature as compared to other claddings, thereby reducing the likelihood of water vapor condensation.
  • It improves a home’s airtightness as a result of the snug fit of the foam backing at installation. This effect is amplified when coupled with air-sealing around windows, doors, and penetrations through above-grade walls. [See Building America Case Study: Insulated Siding Retrofit in a Cold Climate.]
  • It can improve the aesthetic appeal of a home as this is an upmarket cladding.

This retrofit measure can help a home owner to improve the energy performance and increase the curb appeal of their house. Insulated siding is further described in the Building America Solution Center guide Continuous Rigid Insulation Sheathing/Siding.

When replacing a home’s existing cladding with insulated vinyl siding, the retrofit professional – designer, rater, or contractor – must incorporate the new siding into the wall’s moisture control strategy. Doing so will maximize this retrofit measure’s effectiveness and avoid any adverse moisture issues.

Existing Moisture Problems

Insulated vinyl siding must never be installed over wall systems that show evidence of moisture problems until the underlying causes of the problem are addressed. Prior to installing the insulated vinyl siding, the retrofit professional must thoroughly inspect the condition of the exterior walls for evidence of moisture damage (e.g., staining, mold, rot). This includes an inspection of the existing cladding, the sheathing once the existing cladding is removed, and the interior wall finish. It is also important that the wall is inspected for the presence and type of interior vapor retarder.

During the inspection, the retrofit professional must also note whether the existing wall has a water-resistive barrier (house wrap), and, if present, its condition and integration with flashing. Many older homes do not have house wrap. Where house wrap is present, it will be necessary to cut the existing house wrap in a few key locations in order to inspect the exterior sheathing; if the house wrap will not be replaced, the cuts must be sealed using approved tape. Where other types of drainage plane are present, such as asphalt felt, the recommended strategy is to remove these materials and install a plastic house wrap to provide a smooth and uniform surface for the installation of the insulated vinyl siding.

The retrofit professional must identify the source of any moisture damage found and develop a strategy for correcting the issue. Only after steps are taken to remediate any existing damage can the retrofit continue and the insulated vinyl siding be installed.

As with any wall, the moisture control strategy for a retrofit must include the water-resistive barrier, flashing of wall penetrations, any exterior foam sheathing, vapor retarders, and air barriers.

Water-Resistive Barrier (WRB)

The function of a water-resistive barrier (WRB) is to shed to the outside any liquid water that has penetrated behind the cladding, thus stopping water from traveling further into the exterior wall system. The WRB is installed behind the cladding and is also known as a drainage plane. The most likely material to be used as the WRB for a re-cladding with insulated vinyl siding is a synthetic house wrap. When installation of a house wrap is required, either because the current one is damaged or because none exists (most likely in older homes), it must be installed horizontally with the upper layer lapped over the lower layer not less than 2 inches. See Building America Solution Center: Drainage Plane Behind Exterior Wall Cladding. Table 1 describes best practices.

Flashing

It is very probable that an older home will have missing or inadequately installed flashing, thus requiring a repair or replacement. Given that flashing must be integrated with the WRB in order for rain water to be properly shed, an ideal time to add flashing is when upgrading the cladding on an older home that has no WRB. The specific steps for flashing the windows and doors, and integrating the flashing with the WRB, will depend on (1) whether the windows and doors will be replaced or not, (2) the window/door type, (3) the window/door/WRB installation sequence, and (4) whether the home retrofit will also include the installation of exterior rigid foam sheathing. If the windows will be replaced and new house wrap will be installed, new home construction installation practices should be followed. These are described in the Building America Solution Center guide, Fully Flashed Window and Door Openings. If not replacing the windows, the new house wrap must be integrated with the window flashing. New (or repaired) flashing will be needed in many cases to ensure a continuous WRB. If the windows will be replaced and the existing water resistive barrier will remain in place, new flashing should be integrated with the existing WRB. Where the condition of the existing WRB does not allow for integration with new flashing, it is recommended that the WRB be replaced, at least in those wall sections where windows and doors are present. (If adding a new section of WRB, make sure to maintain shingle-style layering). If not replacing the windows, confirm that the existing WRB and flashing are adequate; repair if repairs are needed.

For a primer on window and door flashing, see the Home Innovation Research Labs’ TechNotes – Window and Door Flashing.

Exterior Foam Sheathing (Continuous Insulation)

If insulated vinyl siding is installed over exterior foam sheathing, the retrofit professional must establish the location of the WRB. It can be (1) house wrap installed between the structural sheathing and the exterior foam sheathing, (2) house wrap installed on the exterior face of the foam sheathing, or (3) the foam sheathing with taped joints, if approved for this application. Window and door flashing integration with the WRB will vary based on the WRB location.

The thickness of the insulated vinyl siding, installed over exterior foam sheathing, may require that the window and door trim be built out. If installing flanged windows with flanges at the foam sheathing surface, the manufacturer may require direct contact between the flange and the wood framing, i.e., extending or adding framing to the perimeter of the rough opening.

Vapor Retarders and Air Barriers

Even though its EPS-foam backing is semi-permeable, insulated vinyl siding is an unvented cladding so the wall sheathing has a limited ability to dry to the outside. It is recommended that insulated vinyl siding not be installed over a wall that has a Class I vapor retarder on the interior of the wall (i.e., polyethylene, vinyl wallpaper, or closed-cell spray polyurethane foam). Otherwise a double vapor barrier condition will be created where wall cavity drying is substantially impeded in both the interior and exterior directions. Such walls lack the ability to quickly recover from incidental moisture (e.g., window leaks, air leaks at penetrations, etc.). On the other hand, adding an insulative value of only R-2 to the exterior of the wall is not sufficient for controlling vapor drive in walls without an interior vapor retarder or with a Class III vapor retarder in Climate Zones 5 and higher.

Table 1 summarizes recommendations for whether insulated vinyl siding should be installed on a home based on whether the home has an interior vapor retarder, the home’s climate zone, and the use of added exterior continuous insulation. For more on vapor retarders, see the water vapor management chapters in the construction guides for high-performance 2x4 and 2x6 walls by Home Innovation Research Labs.

Should Insulated Vinyl Siding be Used in Homes with Class I, II, or III Vapor Retarders
Table 1. Should Insulated Vinyl Siding be Used in Homes with Class I, II, or III Vapor Retarders

During the initial inspection, the retrofit professional should check for the presence of an interior vapor retarder in so far as that is possible. If it is discovered that the walls have an interior polyethylene vapor barrier, the retrofit professional must advise the home owner that installing insulated vinyl siding can create a double vapor barrier. If vinyl wallpaper is present on exterior walls, it should be removed before installing insulated vinyl siding. If the re-siding with insulated vinyl siding is being carried out in conjunction with installation or replacement of cavity insulation, the retrofit professional must advise the home owner that the use of closed-cell spray polyurethane foam (cc SPF) in the wall cavity will also lead to a double vapor barrier. Open-cell SPF is appropriate for cavity insulation as it is vapor-permeable.

Field testing has shown that installing insulated vinyl siding leads to improved air tightness due to the installation requirement that the foam backing of adjoining panels be in contact. [See Building America Case Study: Insulated Siding Retrofit in a Cold Climate.] The exterior air barrier can be the house wrap, the structural sheathing, or (if installed) the exterior foam sheathing. Any of these materials must be taped at the seams and joints to serve as an effective air barrier.

Materials and Installers

The materials and tools needed for the installation of insulated vinyl siding are listed in Table 2. Re-siding an existing home with insulated vinyl siding can be undertaken by a licensed siding contractor or by the home owner. The “installer” in the instructions below refers to either the contractor or the home owner.

Materials and Tools for Installing Insulated Vinyl Siding
Table 2. Materials and Tools for Installing Insulated Vinyl Siding

How to Install Insulated Vinyl Siding

The following is a generic guide for installing insulated vinyl siding based on industry guides and recommendations.  The installer must always conform to the siding manufacturer’s installation instructions.

1. Prepare the wall exterior. Remove the existing cladding. Inspect for and repair any moisture damage. 

2. Inspect to ensure the substrate is smooth. Pound or remove protruding nails. Scrape off and replace any loose caulk.

3. Install the water resistive barrier (house wrap) and integrate it with flashing around the windows and doors. If required by the project specifications, install rigid foam sheathing before vinyl siding.

4. Install the starter strip. Before installing the starter strip:

  • Measure up from the top of the foundation 3 inches (or ¼ inch less than the width of the starter strip) and partially drive in a nail to mark the spot.
  • Attach a chalk line to the nail, go to the next corner and pull the line taut.
  • Make sure the line is level by using a line level or a 4-foot level.
  • Snap the chalk line. Repeat around the entire house. Ensure that at least 8 inches of foundation wall will be visible below the siding all the way around.
  • Alternatively, you can measure down from the soffit at one corner of the house to the top of the foundation and subtract ¼ inch less than the width of the starter strip then mark a spot. Then go to the next corner and measure down the same distance and make a mark. Then, snap a chalk between the two marks.

To install the starter strip:

  • Align the top of the starter strip with the chalk line (Figure 2).
  • Fasten the starter strip every 8 to 12 inches with fasteners placed at the center of the nail slots.
  • Leave ¼ inch between each section of starter strip to allow for expansion and contraction.
  • Don’t pound the nails flush. Leave a 1/32-inch clearance between the nail heads and the starter strip.

Figure 2. Install the starter strip for the vinyl siding along a chalk line.

5. Install the corner posts. Install the siding accessories before installing the siding panels. These accessories include the proper inside and outside corner posts for the home’s geometry as well as the j-channel around the windows and doors.

The outside corner posts must be the ones specified to go with the insulated vinyl siding. If the product does not include outside corner posts, then use a normal corner post (one without the insulation offset), but shim it to accommodate the added thickness of the insulated vinyl siding due to its foam backing. Install each corner post, starting from the eave and working down (Figure 3):

  • Leave a ¼-inch space between the top corner post and the bottom of the eave.
  • The top fastener (nail or staple) goes in at the top of the upper slot on both sides of the post.
  • Space out subsequent fasteners every 8 to 12 inches and place at the center of the slot.
  • Do not drive nail heads tightly against the corner post, but instead leave 1/32-inch clearance to allow for expansion and contraction to occur.
  • If more than one piece of corner post is installed, fit it under the upper post. To do this, cut out 1 inch from the nail hem from the bottom end of the top corner post piece, and slide the lower corner post under the corner post piece above it to overlap by ¾ inch (Figure 3).
  • Terminate the corner post ¾ inch under the bottom of the starter strip.
Figure 3. Install the outside corner posts for insulated vinyl siding
Figure 3. Install the outside corner posts for insulated vinyl siding

6. Install the J channels. Install the j channel around the windows and doors after the windows and doors have been installed and properly flashed:

  • Cut the drip cap at the top of the window or door to the proper length: the width of the window or door plus twice the width of the j-channel’s face.
  • Make a 1-inch notch at each end of the drip cap, to later be bent down and over the side trim j-channels thus provide flashing of the window trim.
  • Cut the side j-channels to measure the height of the window plus the width of the j-channel face. 
  • Make a 1-inch notch at the bottom end of each side trim j-channel.
  • Cut the j-channel for the bottom of the window to measure the width of the window plus twice the width of the j-channel’s face.
  • Cut out a 1-inch tab from both ends of the window bottom j-channel.
  • Install all j-channel flush against the window/door with fasteners every 8 to 12 inches (the top fastener for the side-trim j-channel should go in at the top of the upper slot).
  • Bend the two end notches of the drip cap down and over the side trim j-channel.
  • Bend the bottom notch of each window side trim j-channel in and over the bottom j-channel.
  • Install the side trim j-channel on both sides of the window or door shall be installed flush with the bottom of the drip cap j-channel.

Install the j-channel around the windows and doors after the windows and doors have been installed and properly flashed:

  • Cut the drip cap at the top of the window or door to the width of the window or door plus twice the width of the j-channel’s face.
  • Cut each end of the drip cap to make a 1-inch tab at each end of the drip cap, to later be bent down and over the side trim j-channels (Figure 4).
  • Cut the side j-channels to measure the height of the window plus the width of the j-channel face. 
  • Cut the bottom ends of the side trim to form a 1-inch tab at the bottom end of each side trim j-channel.
  • Cut the j-channel for the bottom of the window to measure the width of the window (Figure 5).
  • Cut out a 1-inch notch from both ends of the window bottom j-channel, if recommended by manufacturer.
  • Install all j-channel flush against the windows or doors with fasteners every 8 to 12 inches (the top fastener for the side-trim j-channel should go in at the top of the upper slot).
  • Install the side trim j-channel on both sides of the window or door so it is flush with the bottom of the drip cap j-channel.
  • Bend the two end tabs of the drip cap down and over the side trim j-channel.
  • Bend the bottom tabs of each window side trim j-channel in and under the bottom j-channel.

Figure 4. Cut tabs into the ends of the j-channel drip cap for flashing above the windows before installing the vinyl siding.


Figure 5. The j-channel top, side, and bottom trim pieces are cut to form tabs at the ends that fit together around the window and door frames. Some manufacturers recommend cutting notches for the tabs to fit into. 

7. Install the first course. Install the first (bottom) course of insulated vinyl siding panels along a wall:

  • Engage the bottom of the insulated vinyl siding panel with the bottom of the starter strip and slide the panel into the pocket of the corner post (Figure 6). 
  • If the installation is taking place when the outdoor air temperature is > 40°F, leave a ¼-inch gap between the end of the insulated vinyl siding panel and the trim to allow for movement. If the outdoor air temperature at the time of installation is < 40°F, leave a 3/8-inch gap.
  • Fasten the first panel in the center of the nail hem slot, leaving a 1/32-inch clearance between the nail heads and the nail hem to allow for expansion and contraction. Do not fasten more than 16 inches apart.
  • Slip the face of the next panel of insulated vinyl siding above or below the face of the first panel (depending on how the home owner wants the seams to appear). Position the face of the panel that is below between the other panel’s face and the foam backing.
  • Slide the panels together until the foam backing of both panels are in contact (no gap) for installations > 40°F, or with a gap of ¼ inch for installations < 40°F, or as specified by the manufacturer (Figures 7 and 8).
  • When measuring the length of the final panel to the corner post, measure from the inside of the wall post to the foam backing of the previous panel (not the panel face) to ensure proper fit of the final panel and allow ¼ inch for expansion (Figure 9).
  • To cut a panel to a desired length, use a circular saw with a fine-toothed plywood blade turned backwards, and cut slowly with the vinyl side face up, cutting completely through the foam.
  • For subsequent courses, stagger the lengths of siding panel so that the seams (laps) of one course do not align vertically with the seams (laps) of the next course.

Figure 6. Insert the vinyl siding panel into the outside corner post.


Figure 7. Connect two insulated vinyl siding panels by sliding the panels together until the foam backing of both panels is in contact.


Figure 8. When connecting two insulated vinyl siding panels, overlap the panels until the foam touches. If the temperature is below freezing, leave a ¼-inch gap between the foam edges.


Figure 9. When measuring the length of the final panel, measure from the inside of the wall post to the foam backing of the previous panel.

8. Cut and seal around fixtures and protrusions.

When encountering exterior lighting or water spigots, follow common cutting procedures that are used for non-insulated vinyl siding panels to accommodate these protrusions. Install premade gaskets or flashing around these protrusions that are properly integrated with the water resistant barrier, before installing the siding.

9. Cut and fit panels around windows.

When encountering windows on an exterior wall, it is likely that the insulated vinyl siding panel will need to be cut to accommodate the dimensions of the window. 

  • If the piece below the window needs to be cut, hold the panel under the window and mark the width and depth of the window on the panel (Figure 10). Add ¼ inch to all three sides to be cut to allow for expansion and contraction.
  • Cut the panel with a utility knife and tin snips.
  • Remove approximately 1 inch of the foam backing from the cut edge of the panel.
  • Use a snap lock punch to crimp the cut edge of the panel every 6 inches so the raised lug is on the outside face (Figure 11).
  • Install utility trim inside the window bottom j-channel to receive the cut edge of the panel. Install furring if needed to maintain the face of the panel at the desired angle.
  • Use a nail slot punch to create additional nail slots at the cut edge of the panel.
  • Install the panel, ensuring that the bottom edge of the panel locks in with the top edge of the panel below it, and pulling up until the crimped/cut edge of the panel slips under and engages the undersill/utility trim installed in the window bottom j-channel (Figure 12).
  • Fasten through the newly created nail slots on the cut edge of the panel.

Figure 10. Cut siding to fit around windows, install shim as needed behind utility trim, and slide slide the panel up under the undersill until the lugs engage the utility sill.


Figure 11. If vinyl siding must be cut horizontally to fit under a window, use a snap hole punch to create raised lugs along the cut edge for installation in a J channel.


Figure 12. The cut edge of the siding is slid up into the under-sill trim until the raised lugs catch in the J channel.

10. Install final course and soffit.

The final course of insulated vinyl siding will meet up with the soffit panels. If the width of the final course does not need to be cut due to the wall height, then simply install by engaging the bottom of the final panel with the top of the panel below and sliding the top under the j-channel. Secure it with fasteners not more than every 16 inches like the other panels.

If the final panel must be cut to fit:

  • Use shimmed utility trim installed inside the j-channel to secure the top edge of the insulated vinyl siding panel.
  • Remove 1 inch of foam backing from the top edge. Crimp out-facing lugs every 6 inches along the cut edge using a snap lock punch (Figure 13). Create nail slots at the edge using a nail slot punch. Fasten the panel into the utility trim using fasteners spaced not more than every 16 inches.
  • The installation of the soffit does not change.

Figure 13. Install the top course of vinyl siding by securing it to the utility trim installed inside the j-channel with lugs punched into the cut edge of the siding with a snap lock punch tool.


Figure 14. The final or top course of vinyl siding is trimmed if needed and attached to the wall with shimmed utility trim.

Special Installation Considerations

Fasteners:  The code-minimum fastener for insulated vinyl siding fasteners is a 0.120 shank nail with a 0.313 head or 16-gage crown that is long enough to penetrate the sheathing or other nailable substrate and framing a total of at least 1¼ inches.  If foam sheathing is used, it is not considered a nailable substrate, and so the nail would have to be long enough to accommodate the thickness of the foam and still penetrate 1¼ inches. The insulated vinyl siding manufacturer must specify if their product can be used with exterior foam sheathing, and which fasteners can be used for various applications. IRC Table R703.15.1 and Table R703.15.2 contain the requirements for fastening cladding directly to foam sheathing or using furring, respectively.

Furring strips: In order for insulated vinyl siding to be considered continuous insulation, it must be installed directly over a water-resistive barrier and sheathing. Therefore, if the installer is using furring strips for an even installation, the area between the furring strips must be filled in with rigid insulation or another approved material. Note, however, that some manufacturers do not allow the installation of their product over furring strips.

Field-cut lapping: It is always recommended that the installer lap only factory cut ends, but it is understood that lapping a field cut end may be necessary. When this is the case, remove ¾ inch of foam backing from the field cut end. The factory-cut panel should be the overlapping panel.

Ensuring Success

Assess and correct moisture problems in walls, windows, and doors before installing the vinyl siding.

To ensure the durability of the wall system, avoid setting up a double vapor barrier condition, which impedes wall drying to the interior and exterior. Insulated vinyl siding should not be installed on a house with an interior polyethylene vapor retarder or vinyl wallpaper. If either exists, they should be removed before installing the vinyl siding.  If the re-siding is being undertaken in conjunction with the installation of new cavity insulation, closed-cell spray polyurethane foam is also not recommended to avoid the double vapor barrier.

Climate

The exterior wall assembly should be designed for a specific hygrothermal region, rain exposure zone, and interior climate.

ENERGY STAR Version 3 (Rev. 08)

The ENERGY STAR Rater Field Checklist requires reduced thermal bridging in above-grade walls that can be provided by one of several means including (3.4.1) continuous rigid insulation, insulated siding, or a combination of the two that provides ≥ R-3 in Climate Zones 1 to 4 or ≥ R-5 in Climate Zones 5 to 8. 

The climate zones are shown on the map below, which is taken from Figure R301.1 of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code:

IECC Climate Zone Map
IECC Climate Zone Map

Table 1 below provides the minimum R-values and equivalent U-factors for frame walls as specified in the 2009, 2012, and 2015 International Energy Conservation Codes:

Minimum R and U Values for Frame Walls
Table 1. Minimum R and U Values for Frame Walls from 2009, 2012, and 2015 IECC

To meet the R-5 continuous insulation requirement, the insulated vinyl siding (generally rated between R-2.0 to R-2.8) can be combined with the rigid foam insulative sheathing types shown in Table 2.

Rigid Foam Sheathing Types that can Be Combined with Insulated Vinyl Siding
Table 2. Rigid Foam Sheathing Types that can Be Combined with Insulated Vinyl Siding to meet R-5 Continuous Insulation Requirement

When choosing to use these rigid foam sheathings, the retrofit professional must be sure that the insulated vinyl siding fasteners will be able to withstand the dead load from the weight of the insulated vinyl siding for the given thickness of the rigid foam sheathing, while still complying with the manufacturer’s type and diameter specifications. Minimum fastening requirements for cladding installed directly over foam plastic sheathing are contained in IRC Table R703.15.1 (and Table R703.15.2 for furred cladding attachment).

Training

Right and Wrong Images

None Available

CAD

None Available

Compliance

The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

ENERGY STAR Certified Homes

ENERGY STAR Certified Homes (Version 3/3.1, Revision 08), Rater Field Checklist

Thermal Enclosure System:

3. Reduced Thermal Bridging:

3.4.1 Continuous rigid insulation, insulated siding, or combination of the two is: ≥ R-3 in CZ 1-4; ≥ R-5 in CZ 5-8 (16, 17, 18)

Footnotes:

(16) Up to 10% of the total exterior wall surface area is exempted from the reduced thermal bridging requirements to accommodate intentional designed details (e.g., architectural details such as thermal fins, wing walls, or masonry fireplaces; structural details, such as steel columns). It shall be apparent to the Rater that the exempted areas are intentional designed details or the exempted area shall be documented in a plan provided by the builder, architect, or engineer. The Rater need not evaluate the necessity of the designed detail to certify the home.

(17) If used, insulated siding shall be attached directly over a water-resistive barrier and sheathing. In addition, it shall provide the required R-value as demonstrated through either testing in accordance with ASTM C 1363 or by attaining the required R-value at its minimum thickness. Insulated sheathing rated for water protection can be used as a water resistant barrier if all seams are taped and sealed. If non-insulated structural sheathing is used at corners, the advanced framing details listed in Item 3.4.3 shall be met for those wall sections.

(18) Steel framing shall meet the reduced thermal bridging requirements by complying with Item 3.4.1 of the Checklist.

ENERGY STAR Revision 08 requirements are required for homes permitted starting 07/01/2016.

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Rev 05) Exhibit 1: Mandatory Requirements. Certified under ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Version 3. Ceiling, wall, floor, and slab insulation shall meet or exceed 2012 IECC levels and achieve Grade 1 installation, per RESNET standards.

2009 - 2018 IECC and IRC Minimum Insulation Requirements: The minimum insulation requirements for ceilings, walls, floors, and foundations in new homes, as listed in the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 IECC and IRC, can be found in this table.

2009 and 2012 IECC

Section R303.1.1 requires the manufacturers label insulation; or that the insulation installers provide a certification listing the type, manufacturer, and R-value of insulation installed in the building thermal envelope.

Table R402.1.1 contains minimum R-values for wood-framed walls.

Table R402.1.3 contains the equivalent frame wall U-factors.

Table 402.4.1 (Table 402.4.2 in 2009 IECC) specifies that a continuous air barrier be installed in the exterior thermal envelope.

2015 and 2018 IECC

Section R202 contains the definition for continuous insulation (no thermal bridging other than fasteners) and insulated siding (minimum R-value of R-2).

Section R303.1.1 requires the insulated siding manufacturer to label the packaging with the R-value and list it on the certification.

Section R303.1.4.1 requires that insulated siding’s R-value be determined in accordance with the testing procedures in ASTM C1363.

Table R402.1.2 contains minimum R-values for wood frame walls.

Section R402.1.3 specifies that the R-value of insulated siding must be reduced by R-0.6 if it is being used to comply with continuous insulation requirements.

Section R402.1.2 contains the equivalent frame wall U-factors for energy simulations.

Minimum Insulation Requirements for New Homes as Listed in the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 IECC and 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 IRC.

Retrofit: 200920122015, and 2018 IECC

Section R101.4.3 (Section R501.1.1 in 2015 and 2018 IECC). Additions, alterations, renovations, or repairs shall conform to the provisions of this code, without requiring the unaltered portions of the existing building to comply with this code. (See code for additional requirements and exceptions.)

200920122015, and 2018 IRC

Section R702.7 (R601.3 in 2009 IRC) requires the installation of a Class I or II interior vapor retarder for Climate Zones 5 – 8 and Marine 4.

Table R702.7.1 (Table R601.3.1 in 2009 IRC) allows for a Class III vapor retarder exception to Section R702.7 (R601.3 in 2009 IRC) if the minimum continuous insulation requirements are met for each climate zone.

Section R703.2 requires the installation of a water-resistive barrier (WRB).

Table R703.3(1) (Table R703.4 in 2009 and 2012 IRC) requires at least the use of a 0.120 nail that will penetrate the sheathing or other nailable substrate and framing a total of at least 1¼ inches.

Section R703.13 (R703.11 in 2009 and 2012 IRC) requires that insulated vinyl siding be certified and labeled to ASTM D7793 (ASTM D3679 in 2009 and 2012 IRC).

Section R703.15 (R703.11.2 in 2012 IRC) requires that cladding must be specified by the manufacturer for installation over foam sheathing and provides minimum fastening requirements for installation over foam sheathing.

Retrofit: 200920122015, and 2018 IRC

Section N1101.3 (Section N1107.1.1 in 2015 and 2018 IRC). Additions, alterations, renovations, or repairs shall conform to the provisions of this code, without requiring the unaltered portions of the existing building to comply with this code. (See code for additional requirements and exceptions.)

Appendix J regulates the repair, renovation, alteration, and reconstruction of existing buildings and is intended to encourage their continued safe use.

ASTM C 1363 – 11

Standard Test Method for Thermal Performance of Building Materials and Envelope Assemblies by Means of a Hot Box Apparatus

Author(s): ASTM International

Organization(s): ASTM International

Date: 2011

This specification specifies the test method for measuring heat flow through building assemblies or components.

ASTM D 7793 – 13

Standard Specification for Insulated Vinyl Siding

Author(s): ASTM International

Organization(s): ASTM International

Date: Sept 2013

This specification requires that insulated vinyl siding demonstrate a thermal insulation value of R-2.0 or greater. The specification also establishes other performance requirements and test methods including materials properties and dimensions, warp, shrinkage, impact strength, expansion, appearance, thermal distortion resistance, and wind load resistance.

FTC Regulation 16 CFR Part 460

Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation

Date: May 31, 2005,

Federal regulation on labeling of home insulation products.

Continuous Insulation – Cladding/Furring Attachment - Code Compliance Brief

Overview: 

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information to help ensure that the measure will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.  Providing notes for code officials on how to plan review and conduct field inspections can help builders or remodelers with proposed designs and provide jurisdictional officials with information for acceptance.  Providing the same information to all interested parties (e.g., code officials, builders, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and fewer innovations being questioned at the time of plan review and/or field inspection.

Guidance is needed for code-compliant installations of various cladding materials when installed over thicker foam sheathing also known as insulated sheathing or continuous insulation (c.i.). The code has generally provided generic prescriptive attachment requirements without consideration of c.i. thickness or deferred to the manufacturers to provide guidance on fastener selection. But, many manufacturers’ installation instructions have limited the thickness of c.i. applications to 0.5 inch to 1.5 inches of thickness, or not addressed it at all. Therefore, warranty, liability, and potential code conflicts exist when using thicker (>1.5") levels of c.i. due to the limitations cited in manufacturer installation instructions for exterior finishes and code provisions that prescriptively require c.i. > 1.5" in certain climate zones. In such cases, a designed alternative solution may be required to address these concerns. However, newer codes have now begun to provide engineered prescriptive solutions for use by builders, designers, code officials, and siding manufacturers.

As the energy codes continue to become more stringent, the thickness of c.i. has increased prescriptively. Only recently have codes begun to question whether all applicable loads were being addressed. Loads include seismic, wind, and dead load. Seismic and wind loads can be identified by referencing current codes and standards. The concern with adding thicker c.i. to a wall assembly is whether the cladding fastener can withstand the dead load from the weight of the siding or c.i. In practice, there has been little concern with typical light-weight sidings, such as vinyl and wood, or separately supported claddings such as anchored masonry veneer installed over c.i. up to 1.5 inches thick. The main issues have been identifying fasteners that are an appropriate length to maintain embedment in wood framing for wind and seismic resistance with a diameter and head type that is suitable for the siding material. However, for heavy claddings such as Portland cement stucco or adhered masonry veneer, concern with rigidly supporting the weight of the cladding installed over thick c.i. grows.

  • Increased thickness of c.i. introduces the following practical considerations:
  • Selecting the appropriate cladding fasteners that can withstand the dead load from the weight of the siding for a given thickness of c.i. while also still complying with the siding manufacturer’s fastener type and diameter specifications.
  • Identifying and specifying non-standard fasteners where required by the thickness of c.i. and cladding connection detail.
  • Siding manufacturer's installation instructions may be limited to c.i. thicknesses <1.5" (or not address such installation at all).
  • Siding manufacturer's warranties might be void when >1.5" of c.i. is used.
  • Where furring is used, the lack of any prescriptive connection solutions in the code for furring applications with or without an underlying layer of c.i.
  • For thick c.i. applications, additional framing or detailing may be required at some locations to provide a fastening base for corner trim.

Based on further research and technical validation, provisions were added to the 2015 International Residential Code® (IRC). States and local jurisdictions adopt different building and energy codes and code versions (e.g., 2009 IRC/IECC, 2012 IRC/IECC, or 2015 IRC/IECC). For states and locations that have not adopted the 2015 IRC, one approach to overcome this barrier would be to reference the most recent version of the IRC for guidance. The building code (IRC/IECC) allows for alternative materials, design, and methods of construction and equipment not specifically prescribed by code and this would include consideration of new guidance published in more recent versions of model codes. Consequently, the code official has the authority and responsibility to review and approve the proposed design as satisfactory and compliant with the intent of the provisions of the code (per Section R104.11/IRC, Section R102.1/IECC) as a means of achieving code compliance. The alternative materials, design, and methods provision has been a long-standing allowance and this important tradition has been continued in every version of the IRC/IECC.

This brief addresses code-compliant cladding attachment over foam sheathing to light-frame wood and cold-formed steel wall assemblies. For guidance regarding cladding attachment over foam sheathing to masonry or concrete wall construction refer to the 2015 IRC, Section R703.17.

Plan Review: 

Per the 2015 IECC/IRC, Section R103.3/R106.3 Examination of documents.  The code official/building official must examine, or cause to be examined, construction documents for code compliance.

This section lists the applicable code requirements and details helpful for plan review regarding the provisions to meet the requirements for “continuous insulation and cladding attachments.”

Construction Documentation.  Review the construction documents to identify the materials, installation specifications, and design.

  • 2015 IECC/IRC, Section R103.2/N1101.5 Information on construction documents.  Construction documents should include:
    • Insulation materials and R-values
    • Moisture management, vapor retarders, and flashing specifications
    • Cladding attachment materials and specifications
    • Air barrier materials and specifications
  • Insulation:  Verify insulation R-value(s) specified on construction documents meets or exceeds the insulation levels per the applicable code.  The amount of insulation is generally dictated by the energy codes, and generally determined by building type (e.g., R1, R2, R4), framing material (wood, steel, concrete), and climate zone.
    • (The prescriptive insulation R-values in the 2009, 2012, and 2015 IECC are referenced below.)
2009 IECC Prescriptive Above-Grade Wall Insulation R-values

Climate Zone

1

2

3

4

5

6

7 - 8

Wood Frame Wall

R-13

R-13

R-13

R-13

R-20 or 13+5

R-20 or 13+5

R-21

Steel Frame Wall 16" o.c.

R-13+5 OR R-15+4 OR R-21+3 OR R-0+10

R-13+5 OR R-15+4 OR R-21+3 OR R-0+10

R-13+5 OR R-15+4 OR R-21+3 OR R-0+10

R-13+5 OR R-15+4 OR R-21+3 OR R-0+10

R-13+9 OR R-19+ OR R-15+7

R-13+9 OR R-19+ OR R-15+7

R-13+9 OR R-19+ OR R-15+7

2012 and 2015 IECC Prescriptive Above-Grade Wall Insulation R-values
(R-values are the same for both versions)

Climate Zone

1

2

3

4

5

6

7 - 8

Wood Frame Wall

13

13

R-20 OR R-13+5

R-20 OR R-13+5

R-20 OR R-13+5

R-20+5 OR R-13+10

R-20+5 OR R-13+10

Steel Frame Wall 16" o.c.

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-13

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-13+3

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20+5

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20+5

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20+5

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-21

R-13+4.2 OR R-19+2.1 OR R-21+2.8 OR R-0+9.3 OR R-15+3.8 OR R-21+3.1

R-0+11.2 OR R-13+6.1 OR R-15+5.7 OR R-19+5.0 OR R-21+4.7

R-0+14.0 OR R-13+8.9 OR R-15+8.5 OR R-19+7.8 OR R-19+6.2 OR R-21+7.5

R-13+12.7 OR R-15+12.3 OR R-19+11.6 OR R-21+11.3 OR R-25+10.9

R-13+12.7 OR R-15+12.3 OR R-19+11.6 OR R-21+11.3 OR R-25+10.9

R-13+12.7 OR R-15+12.3 OR R-19+11.6 OR R-21+11.3 OR R-25+10.9

R-0+14.6 OR R-13+9.5 OR R-15+9.1 OR R-19+8.4 OR R-21+8.1 OR R-25+7.7

Steel Frame Wall 24" o.c.

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-13

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-13+3

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20+5

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20+5

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-20+5

Wood frame R-value equivalent R-21

R-0+9.3 OR R-13+3.0 OR R-15+2.4

R-0+11.2 OR R-13+4.9 OR R-15+4.3 OR R-19+3.5 OR R-21+3.1

R-0+14.0 OR R-13+7.7 OR R-15+7.1 OR R-19+6.3 OR R-21+5.9

R-13+11.5 OR R-15+10.9 OR R-19+10.1 OR R-21+9.7 OR R-25+9.1

R-13+11.5 OR R-15+10.9 OR R-19+10.1 OR R-21+9.7 OR R-25+9.1

R-13+11.5 OR R-15+10.9 OR R-19+10.1 OR R-21+9.7 OR R-25+9.1

R-0+14.6 OR R-13+8.3 OR R-15+7.7 OR R-19+6.9 OR R-21+6.5 OR R-25+5.9

  • Moisture:  Verify the design and specification of the weather-resistive covering, water-resistive barrier, flashing and drainage are specified on the construction documents and meet the applicable building code.
  • Vapor Retarders:  The IRC (Section 702.7) states Class I or II vapor retarders are required on the interior side of the frame walls in Climate Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, and Marine 4 with some exceptions for basement walls, below grade portion of any wall, or construction where moisture or freezing will not damage the material.  A Class III vapor retarder (latex or enamel paint) is permitted where c.i. exceeds the R-values specified in Table R702.7.1.  Confirm the c.i. thickness meets the values specified per climate zone or construction documents specify a Class I or II vapor retarder (refer to Section R702.7 Vapor Retarders for further details).  Where a Class III vapor retarder is used in colder climate zones on 2x6 walls, the amount of c.i. required may exceed the minimum energy code insulation requirements reported in the tables above. This can be used as a means to improve wall assembly and overall building performance or provide flexibility in other envelope and energy efficiency provisions (e.g., use of trade-offs).
Table R702.7.1

Climate Zone

Class III Vapor Retarders Permitted for:

Marine 4

c.i. R-value ≥ 2.5 over 2 x 4 wall

c.i. R-value ≥ 3.75 over 2 x 6 wall

5

c.i. R-value ≥ 5 over 2 x 4 wall

c.i. R-value ≥ 7.5 over 2 x 6 wall

6

c.i. R-value ≥ 7.55 over 2 x 4 wall

c.i. R-value ≥ 11.25 over 2 x 6 wall

7 and 8

c.i. R-value ≥ 10 over 2 x 4 wall

c.i. R-value ≥ 15 over 2 x 6 wall

  • Air barrier:  Verify the construction documents identify a continuous air barrier and installation practice that complies with the applicable code (e.g., IECC).  In the United States, air barrier requirements are addressed only in the energy code even though they also serve an important role in actually meeting the moisture vapor control intention of the building code.
  • Cladding/Furring Attachments:
    • Determine and verify wind load requirements for the project in accordance with applicable code.
    • Review cladding manufacturer's approved instructions and any limitations including thickness for cladding or furring attachments through foam plastic sheathing to framing, or an approved design.
    • Verify cladding or furring attachments through foam sheathing to framing are specified on the construction documents and meet or exceed minimum fastening requirements per the applicable code based on:
      • Framing types (wood, cold-formed steel, masonry, or concrete)
      • Furring (16" o.c. or 24" o.c.)
      • Fastener type and size
      • Fastener spacing

    Direct Cladding Attachment:
    For direct cladding attachment over foam sheathing where cladding is installed directly over foam sheathing without the use of furring, specify cladding minimum fastening requirements to support the cladding weight in accordance with Table R703.15.1 (wood frame) or Table R703.16.1 (steel frame) of the 2015 IRC, or an approved design.

    If an exception has been identified on the construction documents confirm it meets one of the exceptions per the IRC:

    1. Where the cladding manufacturer has provided approved installation instructions for application over foam sheathing, those requirements shall apply.
    2. For exterior insulation and finish systems, refer to Section R703.9.
    3. For anchored masonry or stone veneer installed over foam sheathing, refer to Section R703.7.
Table R703.15.1
Cladding Minimum Fastening Requirements for Direct Application over Foam Plastic Sheathing to Support Cladding Weight1

Cladding Fastener Through Foam Sheathing

Cladding Fastener Type and Minimum Size2

Cladding Fastener Vertical Spacing (inches)

Maximum Thickness of Foam Sheathing (inches)3

16" o.c. Fastener Horizontal Spacing

24" o.c. Fastener Horizontal Space

Cladding Weight

Cladding Weight

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

Wood Framing (minimum 1/1/4 inch penetration

0.113" diameter nail

6

8

12

2

1

DR

2

.75

DR

1

DR

0.5

DR

0.5

DR

DR

DR

0.120" diameter nail

6

8

12

3

1.5

0.5

3

0.75

DR

1

DR

0.5

DR

0.5

DR

DR

DR

0.131" diameter nail

6

8

12

4

2

0.75

4

1

DR

1.5

0.5

0.75

DR

0.75

DR

0.5

DR

0.162" diameter nail

6

8

12

4

4

1.5

4

2

1

3

1

1.5

0.75

2

0.75

1

DR

DR = Design required, see Technical Validation, manufacturer literature references

  1. Wood framing should be Spruce-pine-fir or any wood species with a specific gravity of ≥ 0.42 in accordance with AWC NDS.
  2. Nail fasteners to comply with ASTM F 1667, except nail length is permitted to exceed ASTM F 1667 standard lengths.
  3. Foam sheathing must have a compressive strength of 15 psi in accordance with ASTM C 578 or ASTM C 1289.
Table R703.16.1
Cladding Minimum Fastening Requirements for Direct Application over Foam Plastic Sheathing to Support Cladding Weight1

Cladding Fastener Through Foam Sheathing Into:

Cladding Fastener Type and Minimum Size2

Cladding Fastener Vertical Spacing (inches)

Maximum Thickness of Foam Sheathing (inches)3

16"o.c. Fastener Horizontal Spacing

24"o.c. Fastener Horizontal Space

Cladding Weight

Cladding Weight

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

Steel Framing (minimum penetration of steel thickness + 3 threads)

No. 8 screw into 33 mil steel or thicker

6

8

12

3

3

1.5

3

2

DR

2

0.5

1.5

DR

1.5

DR

0.75

DR

No. 10 screw into 33 mil steel

6

8

12

4

3

2

4

3

0.5

3

1

2

DR

2

DR

1

DR

No 10 screw into 43 mil steel or thicker

6

8

12

4

4

3

4

4

2

4

2

3

1.5

3

1.5

3

DR

DR = Design required, see Technical Validation, manufacturer literature references

  1. Steel framing a minimum 33 ksi steel for 33 mil and 43 mil steel, and 50 ksi steel for 54 mil steel or thicker.
  2. Screws must comply with the requirements of ASTM C 1513.
  3. Foam sheathing a minimum compressive strength of 15 psi in accordance with ASTM C 578 or ASTM C 1289.
  • Furred Cladding Attachment:

    Where wood or steel furring is used to attach cladding over foam sheathing, specify furring minimum fastening requirements to support the cladding weight in accordance with Table R703.15.2 (wood frame) or Table R703.16.2 (cold-formed steel frame) of the 2015 IRC, or an approved design.

    Where placed horizontally, wood furring shall be preservative-treated wood in accordance with Section R317.1 or naturally durable wood and fasteners shall be corrosion resistant in accordance with Section R317.3 of the IRC. 

    Steel furring to have a minimum G60 galvanized coating.

Table R703.15.2
Furring Minimum Fastening Requirements for Application over Foam Plastic Sheathing to Support Cladding Weight

Furring Material

Framing Member

Fastener Type and Minimum Size

Minimum Penetration into Wall Framing (inches)

Fastener spacing in Furring (inches)

Maximum Thickness of Foam Sheathing (inches)

16"o.c. Furring

24"o.c. Furring

Siding Weight

Siding Weight

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

Minimum 1X Wood Furring

Minimum 2 X Wood Stud

6

8

12

1 1/4

8

12

16

4

2

1

4

1.5

DR

1.5

DR

3

1

DR

1

DR

3

0.5

DR

6

8

12

1 1/4

8

12

16

4

4

1.5

4

2

0.75

2

0.75

4

1.5

DR

1.5

DR

4

1

DR

6

8

12

1

12

16

24

4

2

0.75

4

1.5

DR

1.5

DR

4

1

DR

1.

DR

3

DR

DR

6

8

12

1 1/2

12

16

24

4

3

1

4

2

0.5

1.5

DR

4

1.5

DR

1.5

DR

4

0.75

DR

DR = Design required, see Technical Validation, manufacturer literature references

  1. Wood framing and furring should be spruce-pine-fir or any wood species with a specific gravity of ≥ 0.42 in accordance with AWC NDS.
  2. Nail fasteners to comply with ASTM F 1667, except nail length is permitted to exceed ASTM F 1667 standard lengths.
  3. Where the required cladding fastener penetration into wood material is > ¾" and is ≤ 1½", a minimum 2 x wood furring or an approved design must be used.
  4. Foam sheathing a minimum compressive strength of 15 psi in accordance with ASTM C 578 or ASTM C 1289.
  5. Furring must be spaced ≤ 24" o.c., in a vertical or horizontal orientation.  In a vertical orientation, furring must be located over all studs and attached with the required fastener spacing.  In a horizontal orientation, the indicated 8-inch and 12-inch fastener spacing in furring must be achieved by use of two fasteners into studs at 16" o.c. and 24" o.c., respectively.
Table R703.16.2
Furring Minimum Fastening Requirements for Application over Foam Plastic Sheathing to Support Cladding Weight1

Furring Material

Framing Member

Fastener Type and Minimum Size2

Minimum Penetration into Wall Framing (inches)

Fastener spacing in Furring (inches)

Maximum Thickness of Foam Sheathing (inches)4

16" o.c. Furring5

24" o.c. Furring5

Siding Weight

Siding Weight

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

3 psf

11 psf

25 psf

Minimum 33 mil Steel Furring or Minimum 1 x Wood Furring3

33 mil Steel Stud

No. 8 screw

Steel thickness + 3 threads

12

3

1.5

DR

3

0.5

DR

16

3

1

DR

2

DR

DR

24

2

DR

DR

2

DR

DR

No. 10 screw

Steel thickness + 3 threads

12

4

2

DR

4

1

DR

16

4

1.5

DR

3

DR

DR

24

3

DR

DR

2

DR

DR

43 mil or thicker Steel Stud

No. 8 screw

Steel thickness + 3 threads

12

3

1.5

DR

3

0.5

DR

16

3

1

DR

2

DR

DR

24

2

DR

DR

2

DR

DR

No. 10 screw

Steel thickness + 3 threads

12

4

3

1.5

4

3

DR

16

4

3

0.5

4

2

DR

24

4

2

DR

4

0.5

DR

DR = Design required, see Technical Validation, manufacturer literature references

  1. Wood furring must be spruce-pine-fir or any softwood species with a specific gravity of ≥ 0.42.  Steel furring minimum 33 ksi steel.  Steel studs a minimum 33 ksi steel for 33 mil and 43 mil thickness, and 50 ksi steel for 54 mil steel or thicker.
  2. Screws must comply with the requirements of ASTM C 1513.
  3. Where the required cladding fastener penetration into wood material is > ¾" and ≤ 1½", a minimum 2-inch nominal wood furring or an approved design shall be used.
  4. Foam sheathing must have a minimum compressive strength of 15 psi in accordance with ASTM C 578 or ASTM C 1289.
  5. Furring must be placed ≤ 24" o.c., in a vertical or horizontal orientation.  In a vertical orientation, furring must be located over all studs and attached with the required fastener spacing.  In a horizontal orientation, the indicated 8-inch and 12-inch fastener spacing in furring must be achieved by use of two fasteners into studs at 16" o.c. and 24" o.c., respectively.
Field Inspection: 

Per the 2015 IECC, Section R104 Inspections.  Construction or work for which a permit is required is subject to inspection.  Construction or work is to remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes until approved.  Required inspections include footing and foundation, framing and rough-in work, plumbing rough-in, mechanical rough-in, and final inspection.

Per the 2015 IRC, Section R109 Inspections.  The wording is somewhat different in that for onsite construction, from time to time the building official, upon notification from the permit holder or his agent, can make or cause to be made any necessary inspections.  Further details are provided for inspections regarding foundation, plumbing, mechanical, gas and electrical, floodplain, frame and masonry, and final inspection.  Any additional inspections are at the discretion of the building official.

This section provides details for inspecting to the specific provisions for continuous insulation and cladding attachments where one or more specific type of inspection per the IECC or IRC may be necessary to confirm compliance.  Verifying code compliance would typically be at the framing and rough-in work inspection.

Inspections should provide verification in the following areas:

  • Cavity insulation completely fills the cavity with no compression or gaps, the manufacturer’s R-value mark is readily available, and meets the approved R-value per plans.
  • Continuous insulation is installed in accordance with manufacturer’s installation instructions, the manufacturer’s R-value mark is readily available, and meets the approved R-value per plans.
  • Cladding or furring attachments are installed in accordance with manufacturer’s installation instructions and fastening requirements included in the locally applicable code, designed, or otherwise approved by the code official and specified on construction documents.
  • Joints, seams, and penetrations in the c.i. are caulked, gasketed, weatherstripped, or otherwise sealed. 
  • Vapor retarder (if applicable) is properly installed on the interior (warm-in–winter) side of the exterior wall and in compliance with the locally applicable building code (e.g., only required in mixed or colder climate zones).
  • Air barrier is properly installed on the interior or exterior (or both sides) of the exterior wall, or in the cavity if using an air-impermeable insulation product.  All seams, gaps, and holes are sealed properly.  Confirm corners and headers are insulated and the junction of the foundation and sill plate is sealed.  The junction of the top plate and top of exterior walls are sealed.  Confirm the exterior thermal envelope insulation for framed walls is installed in substantial contact and continuous alignment with the air barrier.

More Info.

Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

Case Studies

  1. Author(s): BA-PIRC, FSEC
    Organization(s): BA-PIRC, FSEC
    Publication Date: April, 2015

References and Resources*

  1. Author(s): Vinyl Siding Institute
    Organization(s): Vinyl Siding Institute
    Publication Date: March, 2017

    Publication with installation guidance for vinyl siding.

  2. Author(s): Kochkin, Wiehagen
    Organization(s): Home Innovation Research Labs
    Publication Date: January, 2016

    The Guide addresses walls constructed with 2x4 wood frame studs, wood structural panel sheathing (WSP) as wall bracing and added backing for foam sheathing, a layer of rigid foam sheathing insulation up to 1.5 inches thick over the WSP, and a cladding system installed over the foam sheathing in low-rise residential buildings up to three...

  3. Author(s): Kochkin, Wiehagen
    Organization(s): Home Innovation Research Labs
    Publication Date: January, 2016

    Part I of the Guide addresses walls constructed with 2x6 wood frame studs, wood structural panel (WSP) sheathing as exterior sheathing, gypsum board as interior sheathing, and a cladding system installed over WSP sheathing in low-rise residential buildings up to three stories in height. Walls with exterior board insulation are addressed in...

  4. Author(s): Drumheller, Carll
    Organization(s): NAHB Research Center
    Publication Date: April, 2010

    The objective of this research was to quantify the field performance of wood-frame walls clad with a variety of common claddings in a mixed-humid climate.

  5. Author(s): Vinyl Siding Institute
    Organization(s): Vinyl Siding Institute
    A guide for users and energy raters of insulated siding as home insulation.
  6. Author(s): Home Innovation Research Labs
    Organization(s): Home Innovation Research Labs
    Publication Date: September, 2015

    This TechNote provides an overview of building code requirements and best practices for flashing at window and door frames.

Contributors to this Guide

The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.