By Peter Yost
Joe Opdyke, of Garages by Opdyke in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, installs HydroGap. The product goes on like any other housewrap, but the TPO spacers seen in the photo create a drainage space without the fussy detailing needed when installing a rainscreen product.
HydroGap, manufactured by Benjamin Obdyke, is an innovative new weather-resistive barrier (WRB), drainage space, and air barrier all rolled into one. This polypropylene-based, nonwoven housewrap has thermoplastic olefin (TPO) spacers that create a 1 mm (1⁄32") free-draining air space between cladding and sheathing. Because the space is so small, HydroGap permits standard detailing after installation, making it more fool-proof and less expensive than typical rainscreen products, which create gaps of 6 mm (1⁄4") or more and require special detailing.
“We filed for a patent back in 2006,” says George Caruso, Benjamin Obdyke’s product development manager. “We recognized that our rainscreen product [Home Slicker], while successful, was not reaching the full audience of builders interested in building better and managing moisture." (See “How Rainscreens Work
Oct. 2011.) HydroGap is being launched at the International Builders Show in Florida in February 2012.