House wrap is an essential component to protecting an unfinished structure, and can save you a lot of money and time. Building a house, or just doing some add-ons to an existing structure is an arduous undertaking. It can also be expensive, and very labor intensive. In light of that, it's usually a good idea to protect your investments. It isn't hard either.
If you've ever walked by a construction site, and seen buildings clad in a bright white plastic sheet, you were probably looking at house wrap. It usually comes in rolls of 9 feet high, 150 feet long that you can poster the outside of your structure with. The main purpose of house wrap is water resistence. It's manufactured to be hydrophilic (it resists water and channels it down the side of the structure) and very durable. Left unprotected, a building under construction can be ravaged by water damage-it can warp all the wood already in place, necessitating replacement, and it also usually leads to wood rot. Rotting wood will become very unstable and visually rather unattractive as well, so it's a good thing to avoid.
By plating your house in house wrap, you also allow the air inside the structure to move freely-this is especially important in the wall cavities, where air is trapped and used for dead space. House wrap is extremely resistant to wind as well, which can be very helpful during construction. This way, the protected wood is allowed to dry out, and liquid water is able to evaporate freely, not to mention the avoidance of rain which would normally come in at an angle with the wind to wet wide swaths of valuable lumber.
If you feel motivated, it isn't actually too hard of a task to put the house wrap into position yourself. You just need to start at a bottom corner of your house, or structure, and move left to right, keeping the wrap taut. Make sure the logos are facing out-that's the correct exterior side. It works best if you have a helper to keep it tight, while you can staple the wrap securely to the wood. Move methodically around the house, making sure to overlap by at least 6 inches every time you move up a level. You'll need a very sturdy ladder and a spotter or scaffolding to complete the top part of the structure. As long as you work slowly and carefully, the application process shouldn't be too difficult, depending on the size of your project.
House wrap is an integral aspect of protection for any kind of structure or house that you construct, especially with designs that use copious amounts of lumber or plywood.