Log in or register to create Field Kits and Sales Worksheets. Why register?

Taped Insulating Sheathing Drainage Planes

Scope

Rigid foam insulation can serve as the drainage plane when all seams are taped. Furring strips provide an air gap behind the cladding.
Rigid foam insulation can serve as the drainage plane when all seams are taped. Furring strips provide an air gap behind the cladding.

Install taped insulating sheathing to serve as the drainage plane to keep water out of the wall cavity and to direct water down and away from the wall. 

  • Integrate the insulating sheathing drainage plane with any flashing installed around doors, windows, and wall penetrations and any flashing installed at the top or base of walls.
  • Use extruded polystyrene (XPS) or foil-faced polyisocyanurate insulation following the manufacturer’s installation instructions. 
  • Thoroughly tape all seams in the insulation, using a manufacturer-recommended tape. Install the sheathing panels vertically to minimize horizontal seams as much as possible. 
  • Before taping seams, the foam surfaces must be clean and dry, seams should meet without large gaps, exterior temperature should be above 15°F. See the Success Tab for more information on related activities. 

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

Description

When rigid foam insulating sheathing is installed on the exterior walls of a home, the foam can serve as a drainage plane, taking the place of house wrap for time and cost savings. To serve as a drainage plane, the  seams in the foam sheathing must be properly taped with sheathing and flashing tapes to provide continuity of the drainage plane at joints between panels. The tapes must be durable enough to prevent ingress of water at panel joints for the life of the system. Sheathing tapes and sometimes flashing tapes are also needed to integrate the top edge of diversion flashings (head flashings, flashings over penetrations, step flashings, kick-out flashings, etc.) with the drainage plane.

In addition to an effective drainage plane, a water control system also requires proper flashing at openings, penetrations, and connections to other assemblies. Note that this guide is not intended as a comprehensive reference for proper flashing methods. Rather, it addresses issues specific to the use of rigid foam insulation panels to create a drainage plane in an exterior wall system. Refer to other guides in the Building America Solution Center and the resources listed for specific flashing guidance. For more on weather-resistant barriers in wall assemblies, see the guide Fully Sealed Continuous Weather Resistance Barrier. For more on rigid foam used as a continuous thermal barrier in wall systems, see the guide Continuous Rigid Insulation Sheathing/Siding. It is important to understand that a drainage plane or water control system is not the same thing as an air control (or air barrier) system. While components of the water control system might also serve as part of the air control system, the detailing for air control is different than detailing for water control.  Air control detailing is not addressed in this guide.

Material Recommendations

Insulating sheathings used for a drainage plane must be approved for this application (check with the manufacturer). These insulating sheathings will have a smooth, non-capillary-active surface that is sturdy enough to allow application and repositioning of tapes. Many extruded polystyrene and foil-faced polyisocyanurate boards are approved for use as drainage planes. Some expanded polystyrene products are too porous to serve as a drainage plane. In order to effectively support implementation of a drainage plane, the insulating sheathing must be

  • smooth or not significantly textured
  • clean
  • dust free
  • warm (ideally).

A superior sheathing tape for use with an insulating sheathing drainage plane is

  • acrylic adhesive-based
  • available in wide widths up to 4”
  • shown through jobsite experience to be able to adhere to almost any substrate with high reliability in a range of climatic situations
  • a product with good temperature and UV resistance
  • available nationwide at a competitive price.

Although foil-faced insulating sheathings can serve as a drainage plane, foil tapes are not recommended as these tend to rip easily and are more prone to wrinkling or creasing during installation.  Over time, foil tapes can have the tendency to "walk-off" their substrates due to differential thermal expansion.

A superior flashing tape is

  • butyl adhesive-based
  • not more than 20 mil thick (ensures overlaps do not build up too much thickness)
  • available in 6” to 9” widths
  • backed with a facer that is very expansion/contraction compatible with its adhesive substrate
  • backed with a facer that is no wider than the adhesive so as to not trap water
  • shown through jobsite experience to be able to adhere to almost any substrate with high reliability in a range of climatic situations
  • a product with good temperature and UV resistance
  • available nationwide at a competitive price. 

Some rubberized asphalt adhesives provide adequate adhesion on insulating sheathing; however, care must be taken to ensure compatibility with foam plastic substrates. 

Flashing tape should not be confused with an ice and water protection membrane such as is typically used on roofs. Ice and water membranes typically do not adhere as well as flashing tapes or flashing membranes and also tend to have a thickness that causes excessive build up at overlaps. 

General Implementation Recommendations

  • Horizontal joints present a greater risk than vertical joints. Minimize the occurrence of horizontal joints as much as possible. 
  • Z-flashings should be used on any high-risk horizontal joint
  • Where thicker tapes (20-30 mil) are installed horizontally, a termination strip of thin tape should always be used over the top edge of the thicker tape.
  • On horizontal joints, the tape should be offset favoring more tape and hence more adherence to the upper sheet of substrate. In general 2/3 of the tape should be on the top sheet, and the remainder lapped over the bottom sheet.
  • The top edge of the thin tape must have full contact with the substrate without “fish mouths,” wrinkles, or interruptions by fasteners.
  • Vertical joints should be taped with a minimum 3” wide acrylic tape and gravity lapped with the horizontal joint.

High-risk horizontal joints are those that are subject to significant incident rain (or other liquid water) and pressure. For example, the horizontal joints on the windward side of a house on the ocean in a wet climate (greater than 40” average rainfall per year) would be high-risk.

A termination strip is needed at the top edge of horizontal thick butyl-adhesive tapes or membranes because the thicker profile can hold water and because, over time, the different thermal expansion between the adhesive layer and the backing can cause thicker tapes to curl away from the substrate at the edges. Caulk could also be used to terminate this horizontal edge but a tape termination strip is simpler to implement properly and completely.

If the insulating sheathing is installed directly over the framing:

  • Backup wood blocking should be installed behind horizontal joint locations to provide a backup and stiffness, allow the perimeter of the sheet to be fastened properly, and provide support for when the tape is installed
  • Vertical joints should land on framing members.

Construction Sequencing Details

The construction sequencing details below show installation of an insulating sheathing drainage plane on a wall. Job supervisors must be able to identify proper materials and be familiar with proper implementation techniques. Job supervisors must also make sure that construction crews understand proper implementation techniques.

The construction sequences below demonstrate three recommended methods to effectively seal the joints in exterior insulating sheathing to create a simple, long-term, and durable drainage plane. The three methods are designated GOOD, BETTER, and BEST as follows:

GOOD – The basic exterior insulation drainage plane uses 3” or 4” wide acrylic tape to cover joints in the insulating sheathing.

BETTER – The improved exterior insulation drainage plane uses 4” to 6” wide butyl tape with 2” wide acrylic termination tape at horizontal joints.  This approach combines an aggressive adhesive with the advantage of a self-sealing membrane.

BEST – This approach improves on the “BETTER” approach by using a butyl z-flashing at horizontal panel joints to protect the assembly from liquid water that may be at the back of the panel joints.

The progression from GOOD to BETTER to BEST represents increasing protection against water ingress as well as greater tolerance for installation imperfections.

The sequencing details show installation of insulating sheathing directly over framing.  The sequences can be easily adapted to installation over structural sheathing. In most cases, horizontal blocking is not needed behind joints in the exterior insulation where the exterior insulation is installed over structural sheathing.

How to Install a Drainage Plane using Rigid Foam Insulation - GOOD – Basic Exterior Insulation Drainage Plane – 3” or 4” wide acrylic tape

  1. Install framing in the exterior wall and include blocking for attaching the rigid foam. See Figure 1.
    Frame wall and install blocking
    Figure 1 - Construct an exterior framed wall and install blocking for attaching rigid foam sheathing.

  2. Install rigid foam sheathing on the exterior wall. Use the fasteners and fasterner schedule recommended by the manufacturer. To minimize holes in the foam, do not overdrive fasteners. See Figure 2.
    Install insulation
    Figure 2 - Install rigid foam insulation sheathing on the exterior walls per manufacturer's instructions.

  3. Wipe down foam panels along seams to remove dust and debris.
  4. Install tape along all vertical seams. Press firmly or use roller to ensure a strong adhesion. See Figure 3.
    Clean taping areas, tape vertical joint and press firmly
    Figure 3 - Tape vertical seams in rigid foam sheathing and press firmly to ensure adhesion.

  5. Install upper insulation panels per manufacturer's instructions. See Figure 4.
    Install upper insulation
    Figure 4 - Install upper foam insulation panels per manufacturer's instructions.

  6. Clean foam along seams and tape horizontal joints with minimum 3" wide tape placing tape offset so that 2/3 of the tape is on the upper panel and 1/3 extends onto the lower panel, with the tape covering the fasteners if possible. The top edge of the tape must adhere continuously to the upper sheet without wrinkles, fish mouths, or interruptions by fasteners. Press or roller tape firmly to ensure adhesion. See Figure 5.
    Tape horizontal joint with minimum 3" wide tape, press firmly and ensure no wrinkles
    Figure 5 - Tape horizontal joints in rigid foam sheathing with tape that is at least 3" wide and offset so that 2/3 of the tape is on the upper panel and 1/3 is on the lower panel. 

  7. Clean foam board along vertical seams and tape the seams. Press or roller firmly to ensure adhesion. See Figure 6.
    Clean taping areas and isntall tape on vertical joint of upper insulation
    Figure 6 - Install tape on vertical joints of upper foam panels insulation, pressing firmly to ensure adhesion.

  8. Install flashing around windows and door openings and install flashing at all penetrations through the drainage plane. See the guides Fully Flashed Window and Door Openings; Flashing at Bottom of Exterior Walls; and the fact sheet Weather Resistive Barriers
  9. Install rain screen material or provide an air gap behind the cladding. For wood or fiber cement siding this can be accomplished by installing furring strips over the foam as shown in Figure 7. These furring strips also provide a secure fastening surface for the siding. Install insect screening. For more information about installing rain screens and ventilation gaps behind cladding, insect screening with furring strips, weep screeds for stucco siding, and weep holes in brick, see the guides Flashing at Bottom of Exterior Walls and Drainage Plane behind Exterior Wall Cladding.
    Wall is now ready for exterior cladding
    Figure 7 - Exterior cladding is installed over furring strips installed over rigid foam sheathing.

How to Install a Drainage Plane using Rigid Foam Insulation - BETTER – Improved Exterior Insulation Drainage Plane – 4” – 6” wide butyl tape with 2” wide acrylic termination tape

  1. Follow the first four steps described above for the "Good" installation: Frame the wall, install horizontal blocking where joints in the exterior insulation will exist, install lower insulation per manufacturer's recommendations and tape vertical seams, install upper insulation per manufacturers' instructions and tape horizontal seams as shown in Figure 8.
    Tape horizontal joint with minimum 3" wide tape, press firmly and ensure no wrinkles
    Figure 8 - Tape horizontal joints in rigid foam sheathing with 4" wide butyl tape placing tape offset with 2/3 of the tape above the joint and 1/3 of the tape below the joint.

  2. Add a second layer of 2" wide tape, offsetting the tape so that 2/3 is above the edge of the 4" tape and is adhered directly to the insulation. Press or roller firmly to ensure adhesion. See Figure 9.
    Terminate 4" tape with 2" wide tape offset high on the joint
    Figure 9 - For better sealing of foam sheathing joints, install 2" tape over the top edge of the 4" tape with the tape offset so that 2/3 of the 2" tape is adhered to the insulation.

  3. Clean the foam along the vertical joints and install 3" tape on the vertical joints of upper insulation panels overlapping the horizontal joints. Press or roller the fape firmly to ensure adhesion. See Figure 10.
    Clean taping areas and install 3" tape on vertical joint of upper insulation overlapping the horizontal joint
    Figure 10 - Seal the vertical joints in the rigid foam sheathing with 3" tape that extends down to overlap horizontal joints.

  4. Install flashing, rain screen, and exterior cladding as described in Steps 8 and 9 above.

How to Install a Drainage Plane using Rigid Foam Insulation - BEST – Z-Flashed Exterior Insulation Drainage Plane – Butyl z-flashing with 2” wide acrylic termination tape

  1. Follow the first three steps described above for the "Good" installation: Frame the wall, install horizontal blocking where joints in the exterior insulation will exist, install lower insulation per manufacturer's recommendations and tape vertical seams.
  2. Install self-adhered butyl Z-flashing that is at least 6 inches wide. See Figure 11.
    Install minimum 6" wide self-adhered butyl z-flashing
    Figure 11 - For the best water management seam detail, install a 6" wide self-adhered butyl Z-flashing between the horizontal panels of rigid foam sheathing.

  3. Install upper insulation panels over the top portion of the flashing. Fasten the panel using the fasterners and fastern schedule recommended by the manufacturer. Take care not to overdrive the fasteners. See Figure 12.
    Install upper insulation per manufacturer's instructions
    Figure 12 - Install upper foam insulation sheathing over the self-adhered butyl Z-flashing.

  4. Clean the foam along the horizontal seams and install 2" tape above and below the Z flashing to improve air sealing. Press firmly to ensure adhesion. See Figure 13.
    Install 3" tape on vertical joint overlapping the horizontal joint
    Figure 13 - Use 2" tape to air seal the joint above and below the self-adhered butyl Z-flashing in the horizontal joint of the rigid foam sheathing.

  5. Clean foam surfaces along the vertical seams and install 3" tape to seal the joints and overlap the horizontal tape. Press tape firmly to ensure adhesion. See Figure 14.
    Clean taping areas, install 3" tape on vertical joint of upper insulation overlapping the horizontal joint. Press tape firmly to ensure adhesion
    Figure 14 - Install 3" tape on vertical joints of rigid foam insulation overlapping the horizontal joints.

  6. Install flashing, rain screen, and exterior cladding as described in Steps 8 and 9 of the "Good" installation instructions above.

Ensuring Success

Do Not Proceed if:

  • Surfaces are wet or icy
  • Exterior temperature is below 15°F
  • Insulating sheathing is not XPS or foil-faced polyisocyanurate specifically approved for use as a weather resistive barrier.

Clean surfaces that are dusty or dirty prior to taping.

Verify that insulation panels fit together snuggly with no large gaps in the insulation layer.

In addition to the seam-sealing steps described in this guide, follow the flashing recommendations described in these guides to ensure a continuous drainage plane: Fully Flashed Window and Door Openings; Flashing at Bottom of Exterior Walls; and Drainage Plane Behind Exterior Wall Cladding.

Interviews with builders implementing taped insulating sheathing drainage planes have yielded the following recommendations regarding making taped insulating sheathing a simple, long-term, and durable drainage plane:

  • Horizontal joints should be limited or eliminated wherever possible
  • Where horizontal joints do exist, special attention to methods and materials is needed
  • Frequent installation inspection and regular trade training are required to maintain proper installation.

 

Climate

No climate-specific information applies.

Training

Right and Wrong Images

Presentations

None Available

Videos

  1. Continuous Rigid Insulation Sheathing/Siding (1)
    Publication Date: September, 2015
    Courtesy Of: Risinger Homes

    Video describing exterior rigid foam insulation.

CAD Images

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 3.0, Revision 08), Water Management System Builder Requirements: 

2. Water-Managed Wall Assembly: 
2.2 Fully sealed continuous drainage plane behind exterior cladding that laps over flashing in Item 2.1 and fully sealed at all penetrations. Additional bond-break drainage plane layer provided behind all stucco and non-structural masonry cladding wall assemblies.9, 10

9. These Items not required for existing structural masonry walls (e.g., in a home undergoing a gut rehabilitation). Note this exemption does not extend to existing wall assemblies with masonry veneers.

10. Any of the following systems may be used: a monolithic weather-resistant barrier (i.e., house wrap) shingled at horizontal joints and sealed or taped at all joints; weather resistant sheathings (e.g., faced rigid insulation) fully taped at all “butt” joints; lapped shingle-style building paper or felts; or other water-resistive barrier recognized by ICC-ES or other accredited agency.

Builders Responsibilities:  It is the exclusive responsibility of builders to ensure that each certified home is constructed to meet these requirements. While builders are not required to maintain documentation demonstrating compliance for each individual certified home, builders are required to develop a process to ensure compliance for each certified home (e.g., incorporate these requirements into the Scope of Work for relevant sub-contractors, require the site supervisor to inspect each home for these requirements, and / or sub-contract the verification of these requirements to a Rater). In the event that the EPA determines that a certified home was constructed without meeting these requirements, the home may be decertified. 

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

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Exhibit 1: Mandatory Requirements. Certified under ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Version 3.

2009 IRC

Section R703.1.1 Water resistance. Exterior wall envelope to be designed and constructed to prevent water accumulation within the wall assembly by providing a water-resistant barrier behind the exterior veneer as required in Section R703.2 and a means draining to the exterior any water that does enter the assembly. Protection against condensation to be provided per Section R601.3. Exception:  Weather-resistant exterior wall envelope isn’t required over concrete and masonry walls designed in accordance with Chapter 6 and flashed in accordance with Section R703.7 or 703.8. Compliance with Section 703.2 and Section 703.8 isn’t required for envelopes demonstrated to resist wind-driven rain in accordance with ASTM E 331. Section R703.2 Water-resistive barrier.  One layer of No. 15 asphalt felt (free from holes and breaks and complying with ASTM D 226 for Type I felt) or other approved barrier to be applied over studs or sheathing of all exterior walls.  The felt or material must be applied horizontally, with the upper layer lapped over the lower layer no less than 2 inches.  Where joints occur, the felt must be lapped at least 6 inches.  The felt or other material must be continuous to the top of the walls and terminated at penetrations and building appendages in a manner that meets requirements of Section R703.1. Exceptions:  water-resistive barrier may be omitted in detached accessory buildings, under exterior wall finish materials per Table R703.4, and under paperbacked stucco lath when the paper backing is an approved water-resistive barrier.*

2012 IRC

Section R703.1.1 Water resistance. Exterior wall envelope to be designed and constructed to prevent water accumulation within the wall assembly by providing a water-resistant barrier behind the exterior veneer as required in Section R703.2 and a means draining to the exterior any water that does enter the assembly. Protection against condensation to be provided per Section R601.3. Exception:  Weather-resistant exterior wall envelope isn’t required over concrete and masonry walls designed in accordance with Chapter 6 and flashed in accordance with Section R703.7 or 703.8. Compliance with Section 703.2 and Section 703.8 isn’t required for envelopes demonstrated to resist wind-driven rain in accordance with ASTM E 331. Section R703.2 Water-resistive barrier.  One layer of No. 15 asphalt felt (free from holes and breaks and complying with ASTM D 226 for Type I felt) or other approved barrier to be applied over studs or sheathing of all exterior walls.  The felt or material must be applied horizontally, with the upper layer lapped over the lower layer no less than 2 inches.  Where joints occur, the felt must be lapped at least 6 inches.  The felt or other material must be continuous to the top of the walls and terminated at penetrations and building appendages in a manner that meets requirements of Section R703.1. Exceptions:  water-resistive barrier may be omitted in detached accessory buildings, under exterior wall finish materials per Table R703.4, and under paperbacked stucco lath when the paper backing is an approved water-resistive barrier.*

*Due to copyright restrictions, exact code text is not provided.  For specific code text, refer to the applicable code.

IRC 2015

Section R703.1.1 Water resistance. Exterior wall envelope to be designed and constructed to prevent water accumulation within the wall assembly by providing a water-resistant barrier behind the exterior veneer as required in Section R703.2 and a means draining to the exterior any water that does enter the assembly. Protection against condensation to be provided per Section R601.3. Exception:  Weather-resistant exterior wall envelope isn’t required over concrete and masonry walls designed in accordance with Chapter 6 and flashed in accordance with Section R703.7 or 703.8. Compliance with Section 703.2 and Section 703.8 isn’t required for envelopes demonstrated to resist wind-driven rain in accordance with ASTM E 331. Section R703.2 Water-resistive barrier.  One layer of No. 15 asphalt felt (free from holes and breaks and complying with ASTM D 226 for Type I felt) or other approved barrier to be applied over studs or sheathing of all exterior walls.  The felt or material must be applied horizontally, with the upper layer lapped over the lower layer no less than 2 inches.  Where joints occur, the felt must be lapped at least 6 inches.  The felt or other material must be continuous to the top of the walls and terminated at penetrations and building appendages in a manner that meets requirements of Section R703.1. The water-resistive barrier may be omitted in detached accessory buildings.*

This Retrofit tab provides information that helps installers apply this “new home” guide to improvement projects for existing homes. This tab is organized with headings that mirror the new home tabs, such as “Scope,” “Description,” “Success,” etc. If there is no retrofit-specific information for a section, that heading is not included.

SCOPE

Retrofit existing exterior walls by installing sheathing, which can serves as a drainage plane and insulation layer.

  • Remove the existing cladding.
  • Leave the existing water control layer (house wrap or building paper) in place.
  • If the windows are also being replaced, install the foam sheathing first then install the windows and flash to the sheathing.
  • If the windows are not being replaced, use the existing house wrap as the drainage plane (if in good condition) and install the foam over it.  

For more information on conditions that may be encountered when working with walls in existing homes, see the assessment guide on walls, windows, and doors.

See the U.S. Department of Energy’s Standard Work Specifications for more on sealing walls to keep out moisture, air, and pests. Follow safe work practices as described in the Standard Work Specifications.

DESCRIPTION

When existing houses are retrofitted to add continuous exterior insulation as part of a deep energy retrofit typically the drainage plane is moved to the face of the new insulated sheathing. This is especially true if the windows will be replaced. (For more on replacing windows, see the guide Complete Window and Frame Replacement.) If the windows are not being replaced and are not leaking, continuous exterior insulation may be added without re-flashing the windows; in this case, the location of the drainage plane can be maintained over the existing exterior sheathing.

The new insulated sheathing should be installed as outlined in the Scope and Description tab. Figure 1 shows a house being retrofitted with taped insulated sheathing. Note that the windows and doors have been modified so that they are flashed to the face of the new insulated sheathing. A sill extension is often required to accommodate the build-up of the new insulation. Figure 2 shows a piece of siding providing this extension as well as a slope to the exterior to promote drainage. Good window flashing and water management practices should be followed here (see the guide Fully Flashed Windows and Doors). Caulk the sides of the sill extension to reduce the water load on the sheathing behind it, and alter the profile of the head flashings as necessary to accommodate the build-up of the new insulation.

Balconies, porches, and decks may require additional kick-out flashings to accommodate the increased wall thickness due to the addition of the insulation.

This farmhouse was retrofit by removing existing siding and adding taped insulated sheathing and battens before installing new siding
Figure 1. This farmhouse was retrofit by removing the existing siding and adding taped insulated sheathing and battens before installing new siding. Image Courtesy of Building Science Corporation.

A piece of siding is used as sill extension and to provide slope in the opening for the window, which is deeper because exterior rigid foam has been added
Figure 2. A piece of siding is used as sill extension and to provide slope in the opening for the window, which is deeper because exterior rigid foam has been added. Image Courtesy of Building Science Corporation

How to Add Insulated Sheathing

  1. Remove the existing cladding.
  2. Leave the existing water control layer (house wrap or building paper) in place.
  3. If the windows are also being replaced, flash the window framing to the face of the new taped foam sheathing, which will serve as the new drainage plane. Add framing lumber if needed to extend the sill to account for the added wall thickness.
  4. If the windows are not being replaced and the existing water control membrane (house wrap, building paper, fluid-applied membrane) is in good condition, it is not necessary to move the drainage plane to the face of the new, insulated sheathing. The drainage plane can remain as is (behind the new foam sheathing, which does not need to be taped since it is not serving as the drainage plane) and, provided they are not leaking, the windows can remain flashed to the face of the existing water control membrane. In this case, create a small (1/16-inch to 1/8-inch) gap between the new insulated sheathing and the existing drainage plane by installing it over spacers, shims, or vertically run sill gaskets used as furring.
  5. Follow the recommendations outlined in the Scope and Description tabs.

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): PNNL
    Organization(s): PNNL, PHI, HIRL, BSC, NorthernSTAR, University of Minnesota
    Publication Date: September, 2013

    Case study describing a DOE 2013 top innovation - best practices for the installation of rigid foam insulation on teh exterior of home roofs and walls as a thermal, air, and moisture barrier. Research was conducted by DOE Building America partners Home Innovation Research Labs, Building Science Corporation, and the University of...

  2. Author(s): PNNL
    Organization(s): PNNL
    Publication Date: January, 2013

    Case study about a builder in Georgia that designs energy-efficient homes for a green community, yielding homes with HERS scores as lowas 59 and electric bills as low as $50 a month.

  3. Author(s): Building Science Corporation
    Organization(s): Building Science Corporation
    Publication Date: November, 2014

    Case study by Building Science Corporation on best practices for using rigid foam sheathing as a drainage plane in new and retrofit wall construction. 

  4. Author(s): Home Innovation Research Labs
    Organization(s): HIRL
    Publication Date: March, 2016

    Case study about a structural sheathing product composed of enhanced EPS rigid foam with OSB adhered on one side.

References and Resources*

  1. Author(s): Baechler, Gilbride, Hefty, Cole, Williamson, Love
    Organization(s): PNNL, ORNL
    Publication Date: September, 2010
    Report providing builders in marine climates with guidance for building homes that have whole-house energy savings of 40% over the Building America benchmark with no added overall costs for consumers.
  2. Author(s): DOE
    Organization(s): DOE
    Publication Date: April, 2017

    Standard requirements for DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home national program certification.

  3. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: December, 2015

    Webpage with links to Document outlining the program requirements for ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3 and 3.1  (Rev. 08).

  4. Author(s): Grin, Lstiburek
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: September, 2014
    Measure Guideline research report providing simple, long term, and durable solutions when using tapes and flashing membranes in conjunction with the exterior face of rigid polymeric foam sheathing to create the drainage plane of a wall system.
  5. Author(s): Grin, Lstiburek
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: September, 2014
    Measure Guideline research report providing simple, long term, and durable solutions when using tapes and flashing membranes in conjunction with the exterior face of rigid polymeric foam sheathing to create the drainage plane of a wall system.
  6. Author(s): BSC
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: October, 2007
    Guide provides information about enhanced thermal enclosures and performance.
  7. Author(s): Lstiburek
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: December, 2006
    Report discussing the importance of durability and energy efficiency in building construction.
  8. Author(s): BSC
    Organization(s): BSC, NREL
    Publication Date: May, 2005
    Report with guidance for installing windows with foam sheathing on wood-frame walls.
  9. Author(s): Straube
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: October, 2006
    Document covering basic moisture control principles in the design of above-grade building enclosures; driving rain as a moisture load on walls; a classification system of the various rain control strategies available for walls; and good design practises for walls.
  10. Author(s): Foam Sheathing Coalition
    Organization(s): Foam Sheathing Coalition
    Publication Date: December, 2011
    Document that gives a step-by-step approach for designing attachments for cladding materials through foam sheathing.
  11. Author(s): DOE
    Organization(s): DOE
    Publication Date: October, 2000
    Brochure with information about how to select and install house wrap and other weather-resistive barriers.
  12. Author(s): Lstiburek
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: October, 2006
    Guide providing information about controlling rainwater through use of drainage planes.
  13. Author(s): BSC
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: November, 2007
    Document providing guidance on water management concepts and applications.
  14. Author(s): Smegal, Lstiburek
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: April, 2012
    Report summarizing current research, summarizes issues that have been experienced with current best practices, and recommends ways in which the best practices can be improved for water managing sheathings.
  15. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: February, 2011
    Guide describing details that serve as a visual reference for each of the line items in the Water Management System Builder Checklist.

Contributors to this Guide

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

Building Science Corporation, lead for the Building Science Consortium (BSC), a DOE Building America Research Team

Last Updated: 06/13/2017