Why Use Building Paper
Building Paper is commonly used in
Masonry and Stucco Exterior Wall Finishes
Mark J. Donovan
Building paper is
thick tar paper that is frequently used between exterior wall
sheathing and masonry / stucco siding. Building paper is also
used for temporary home weather protection. Building paper comes
in rolls of various widths, lengths and weights.
Building paper is commonly used in stucco and masonry
applications to prevent water from contacting wood and metal
surfaces that can rot and rust, respectively.
In addition, due to
the fact that wood can expand and contract with variations in
humidity levels, building paper can help prevent stresses on the
stucco and masonry walls. By using building paper a separation
layer is created between the stucco/masonry surface and the wall
sheathing. This separation layer prevents water penetration and
compensates for different coefficient rates of expansion between
the wood sheathing and the masonry wall finishes.
By preventing water penetration, wood expansion and
contraction is dramatically reduced, and any wood
expansion/contraction that does occur is not transmitted to
the masonry / stucco surfaces. As a result, building paper
reduces the risks of masonry/stucco cracks. Many local
building codes recommend the use of two layers of building
paper for masonry/stucco applications, due to the fact that
building paper can be easily damaged during the construction
of the home.
building paper to exterior walls, or even roof sheathing if
using tarred roof felt paper, it should be lapped similar to
applying siding or shingles to a wall or roof. For example the
first course/layer of building paper should be applied to the
lower level walls, or the bottom edge of the roof. The next
course/layer that sits above the lower course/layer should be
lapped over it by approximately 6 inches.
For vinyl siding or
wood clapboard siding, building paper such as Tyvek or Typar are
commonly used today. They are lighter weight, wider, and easier
to install than traditional tar based building paper. Tyvek and
Typar house wraps are also more breathable than traditional
building paper and roof felt, and have fewer seams.
So whether your home’s exterior walls are to be clapboard sided,
vinyl sided or masonry side, make sure you use a building paper
on the exterior wall sheathing. Building paper will shield your
home from both water and air infiltration, which in turn will
protect your home from moisture damage and drafts.
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