Installing the house wrap

Today we wrapped a big present to ourselves.

Until now, every structure I’ve built has been covered with 30lb felt tar paper tacked on with a staple gun. For our nearly eave-less tiny house however, a much more careful approach to water tightness is appropriate.

I was trained as a carpenter to mistrust Tyvek due to moisture issues, but with the advent of modern rain screen details, that’s no longer the concern it once was.

Before applying the house wrap we took a few minutes with a sander to break all the sharp plywood edges. We were both concerned the 9 foot tall roll would be hard to handle, and it was pretty frustrating for the first five minutes, but then we found a groove and it went up surprisingly easily.

Another thing I hadn’t used before were cap nails which are now code for fastening house wrap. We opted not to bother buying a manual or pneumatic cap nailer for such a small structure, and instead just bought a box of hand nails.

These were actually really frustrating at first but we discovered the trick was to hold them between our fingers and hammer right at our hand until they were well set. It seems like a terrible idea, but it actually worked quite well!

The caps do have a bit of height to them so we were careful not to place them where our trim or rain screen battens will go. Another thing we did was to mark all of our stud locations on the underside of the trailer with tape and the top of the rafter with a sharpie so we know exactly where we can get good nailing for the battens.

Liz found a single green cap nail in our box of red ones. We are uncertain of the meaning of this mystery.

– Brian.

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