What Is Sheathing Paper?

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Home construction requires a myriad of building materials, from studs to insulation. Your home probably includes quite a few building materials that you have never seen or even heard of, because they exist deep within the construction. Sheathing paper is one such material, seldom seen, but extremely important.

General Definition

  • Sheathing paper is a thick and durable type of paper, specifically designed for use in construction. Unlike most other forms of paper, it can withstand moisture and even resist mold growth. Some varieties of sheathing paper do not actually consist of paper at all, but of felt. In addition to providing a moisture barrier, sheathing paper provides protection against the passage of air. It provides the structure with one of its first layers of insulation.

Sheathing vs Sheathing Paper

  • You should not confuse wall sheathing with sheathing paper, although they do take up much of the same space. Wall sheathing usually consists of plywood or another form of timber, and covers the bare framework of the structure. While it does provide some weatherproofing protection, it concerns itself primarily with the support and stability of the framework. Sheathing paper, by contrast, does not physically support the framework but protects the structure from the elements.

Other Uses

  • Sheathing paper can cover wall sheathing, usually along the exterior of a home, but it can also insulate roofing and flooring. Since it consists of heavy, high-grade building paper or felt, you can use it during most phases of a building or home improvement project, covering and protecting any open layers of construction. For example, you can cover any exposed plywood panels, decking or insulation, ensuring that they remain strong and sturdy regardless of the weather conditions.

Other Benefits

  • Sheathing paper is useful to have around the job site. It can minimize the accumulation of dust and dirt, cover gaps in jointed construction and is simple to apply. For the earth-conscious green builder, you can find some brands of sheathing paper comprised entirely of recycled materials. Though not always essential, sheathing paper can prove highly beneficial.

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