Dry Sidewalls

1. Add a Barrier You may not be able to stop water and moisture from getting past the exterior cladding, but you can (and should) do everything to keep it from the framing assembly. Cover the sidewall sheathing with housewrap (with joints and fasteners taped), and apply a foam insulation panel with molded drainage channels facing out. The panel will not only warm the airspace, but will also shed water away from the framed wall.

2. Create an Airspace A 1-inch minimum airspace between the cladding and the structural wall keeps water that seeps behind the exterior finish from jumping the gap and passively dries any moisture before or as it migrates to the wall. If the wall is being finished with brick, work to keep excess mortar from dropping into the airspace or getting caught on the wall ties and bridging the gap.

3. Leave Weep Holes The water that sheds down the inside face of the cladding or the drainage plane of the foam insulation panel (see illustration top) can’t be allowed to collect at the bottom. Like the airspace, weep holes along the bottom of the cladding are an effective solution that drains incidental water harmlessly away from the assembly.

4. Apply the Finish Just because the finish cladding is no longer expected to stop water, it does not give you license to slack on application. Take care to completely tool masonry joints, apply even thicknesses of stucco coatings without gaps, and stagger, caulk, or cover the joints of properly fastened lap siding to block most (if not all) of the water that contacts it.

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