New House Protected by DuPont Building Envelope Products

Case Study |
Case Study
Beach house under construction withstands Hurricane Irene

A beach house under construction withstands Hurricane Irene


For most people, having a new home built two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean would be a dream come true. However, the arrival of a category 3 hurricane during construction could quickly turn that dream into a nightmare. Fortunately for the future owners of a new house in Bethany Beach, Delaware, their dream was protected by DuPont™ Weatherization Systems products.

The wrath of Irene

When Hurricane Irene came up the Atlantic coast in August 2011, this 3,500-square-foot house, being contracted to build by Garth Enterprises, was in the rough-in phase. It had been wrapped with DuPont Tyvek® HomeWrap® and the windows had been installed with the use of DuPont StraightFlash DuPont FlexWrap NF and DuPont Flashing Tape approximately two weeks earlier. DuPont Tyvek® Tape was used on all the seams.

By the time Irene arrived in Bethany Beach, Delaware, it was delivering extremely heavy rains and sustained winds of 75 mph. It even spawned a tornado in nearby Lewes, Delaware.

When it was over, Hurricane Irene had left a huge swath of destruction from the Caribbean to the northeastern region of the United States, causing an estimated $13 billion in property damage. It was one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the United States since 1980.


Builder relies on DuPont Weatherization Systems

This two-story house, built on pilings with parking beneath the living space, stands 38 feet in the air at the peak of the roof. Today, it features plank lap siding over the DuPont Tyvek® HomeWrap® weather barrier. But when the storm hit, the installation of the siding was weeks in the future.

According to Garth Troescher, Jr., Division Manager, Garth Enterprises, most of the houses they build have the DuPont Tyvek® HomeWrap® exposed for one to two months before the siding is installed. DuPont Tyvek® HomeWrap® , Flashing products and Tyvek® Tape can be exposed to UV light for up to 120 days, providing construction scheduling flexibility.

“During our more than 20 years in business, we’ve had numerous projects underway that have survived without damage during nor’easters,” said Troescher. “But this is the first time we’ve had a house under construction during a hurricane.

“We swear by Tyvek® HomeWrap® and use it on all of our projects,” explained Troescher. “It does a great job of protecting a home against damaging wind and rain so I wasn’t surprised at all that this house withstood Hurricane Irene without damage.”

Troescher continued by saying, “On the other hand, I have witnessed lots of tar paper horror stories. That stuff blows off even in nor’easters and allows damage to occur to homes under construction".

First inspection confirms belief in DuPont Tyvek®

As soon as it was safe to venture outside, Troescher drove as close to the construction site as possible and then donned his chest waders to walk the rest of the way through streets flooded with a foot or more of standing water to inspect the house.

“When I got to the house, the Tyvek® HomeWrap® was still in place with no rips or blow offs,” said Troescher. “And inside, there was no water intrusion. There was just one leak at the roof in the ridge vent.”

Troescher credits the superior performance of DuPont Weatherization Systems products, as well as the proper installation of these products, for helping this house to withstand the punishing winds and torrential rains associated with Hurricane Irene.

“This experience just reinforces my belief that you can’t go wrong with DuPont Weatherization Systems products as long as you install them per specifications,” said Troescher.

DuPont Weatherization System products used

As a DuPont Certified Installer, Garth Enterprises knows firsthand the many benefits that DuPont Weatherization System products deliver for its commercial and residential customers.

Garth Enterprises recommended the use of DuPont Tyvek® HomeWrap®, DuPont StraightFlash, DuPont FlexWrap NF , DuPont Flashing Tape and DuPont Tyvek® Tape for the Bethany Beach house.

DuPont Tyvek® HomeWrap® was specified because it delivers the optimum balance of properties for superior performance against the elements. It helps prevent outside water from entering the walls, helps to seal the home to keep outside air where it belongs, allows moisture vapor to escape the interior wall helping to prevent moisture accumulation which can lead to wood damage and the growth of mold and mildew. The result is a more durable, comfortable, energy-efficient home.

DuPont Tyvek® Tape was used on all seams because it provides a continuous barrier against air and water infiltration, features a specially engineered adhesive to create the best adhesion to the DuPont Tyvek® HomeWrap®.

DuPont StraightFlash was chosen as the window flashing because it is ideal for helping to protect heads and jambs of rectangular windows from water damage caused by wind-driven rain.

DuPont FlexWrap™ NF was used to protect the vulnerable bottom corners of window and door sills where water damage is most likely to occur. “DuPont FlexWrap NF for sills is one of the greatest things ever,” noted Troescher. “It provides seamless protection and is so easy to install.

“We recommend DuPont Weatherization System products to all of our customers,” explained Troescher. “For performance, warranties, and value-in-use, these products can’t be beat.”