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New House Planning Guide Home anatomy _cont.

Completing the skin       

Once the exterior wall and roof framing are in place, the next phase of construction involves applying the home’s skin to strengthen the structure and make it watertight.

To make certain that your home’s skin of sheathing, insulation, vapor and air barriers performs at peak efficiency, all must be installed properly, and caulking must be applied carefully to minimize uncontrolled airflow between the inside and outside of the home. While not all of the details listed below are always essential, they represent some of the best approaches to building an energy efficient house.      


Air barriers- Make sure floor joist headers are wrapped or sealed with gaskets or caulk to keep unwanted drafts and air currents from slipping through joist assemblies.


Vapor barriers-                                                                                                                                                                  

  • Where vapor barriers on walls meet ceilings and floors, reinforced tape or silicone adhesive should be applied to joints and corners anywhere two planes meet to assure an airtight bond.                   

  • Polyethylene tape should be applied over fasteners to prevent pinhole leaks.

  • Window and door openings should be wrapped with polythene prior to installation of the window or door.

  • Flexible caulking should be applied along the bottom of the interior wall to hole the barrier to the sole plate and keep moisture generated inside the home out of the wall cavity.      


Rigid Foam (applied to exterior)-

  • Wrapping exterior foam panels with a woven house wrap will reduce the impact of wind velocity on a wall’s energy efficiency. Tape should be applied to all sheathing and house wrap seams to reduce the risk of moisture damage to the underside of exterior sheathing. Experts recommend an additional vapor barrier on the warm side of the frame.                   

Airtight drywall application (ADA)

  • Drywall should be sealed or gasketed to the framing.

  • All openings should be sealed with gaskets or caulking.

  • A vapor barrier must be installed; it can take the form of foil backed drywall or special vapor barrier paint.

Other considerations-

  • Electrical boxes and plumbing penetrations should be sealed tightly with caulking or spray in place foam.

  • Windows should have seals, and doors must be weatherstrip to prevent air infiltration.

  • Ducting for a whole house ventilation system will be much easier to install if it receives careful consideration in the planning

  • Airtight recessed light fixtures should be installed to prevent air infiltration in ceilings.   



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