Don’t forget to plant a tree this month.

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Had a very informative NAHB Builder 20 meeting this past week, with great discussions and information exchange.  Looking forward to taking these ideas from the other builders from around the country and seeing how we at Merlin Custom Home Builders can implement them in our processes.”

Building Success 101

Q: What is “Tyvek”

A: Tyvek is a brand name of housewrap (or air barrier sheathing) from DuPont, and has come to be, in many markets, the generic term for the product. It should be noted, however, that not all housewrap is made the same, or even performs the same exact functions, so your builder should take care to specify the right membrane for your home’s climate, overall performance goals, and budget.

No one wants to think about house mold or its underlying cause, moisture. As professional builders, however, we are aware of the dangers created by moisture infiltration and we are in a position to prevent it. That makes it our responsibility to lead the discussion.

Even in Southern Nevada’s extremely dry climate the prevention of moisture infiltration — and the mold that can follow it — is a critical objective of green building. Both construction practices and products used in green building are designed to keep moisture in its proper place and to prevent mold spores from settling where they can grow. This will create a high-performance home will achieve optimum effectiveness and durability of everything from the home’s structural frame and insulation, to its heating and cooling system, and even most finishes.

A key to managing moisture is to begin with a healthy respect for the nature of water and the dynamics of moisture transmission. Understanding the nature of mold and moisture allows us to find and apply appropriate solutions to direct, vent and otherwise shed moisture from the home.

Moisture and mold control strategies…

  • We use an air-moisture barrier (also called a housewrap or tarpaper) behind the stucco or other exterior siding which shed wind-driven rain while venting (or drying out) any moisture that somehow gets past it.  For a discussion on Tyvek vs. Tarpaper.
  • Proper flashing (or sealing) around openings before the windows and doors are installed is essential!  Because flashing is so critical and is often the first step to preventing moisture, our carpenters use bituthene. This strategy will not be effective unless those units are placed tight and square in their openings with specific and proper overlapping.
  • The roof must be “dried in” with building paper under the roof tiles or finished with a metal roof or  Single Ply TPO to shed and direct the flow of water.

Other common practices include a well-designed and reliable system of gutters and downspouts. Attic insulation is used to keep the temperature of those spaces moderate, countering high levels of humidity. Roofs are designed to prevent standing water or at our Lee’s Canyon homes, ice dams.  Waterproofing membranes are installed on the outside of basements that both seal and insulate below-grade spaces.  Merlin Custom Home Builders basement walls are typically constructed using Fox Blocks, and on the outside surface, bituthene is added for waterproofing with hard plastic dimple board protecting the bituthene.

And don’t forget, moisture can also be generated inside a home. Cooking, bathing, and laundry can produce a significant amount of moisture vapor (or steam) that will affect finishes and indoor air quality if not properly vented. We specify and install the most efficient kitchen, bath, and laundry ventilation systems to effectively remove moisture from inside the home.  One of Merlin Custom Home Builders’s favorite fan manufacturers and models is the Panasonic Whisper Quiet Fans

In spite of media hype, the vast majority of new homes built today never experience significant moisture intrusion or dangerous mold growth. That being said, we take the issue very seriously to ensure that our homes meet the highest — and driest! — possible standards of performance for durability and for our owners’ health and comfort.  In Las Vegas the majority of mold we see is caused from a leaking pipe, and only rarely from rain.  If you see mold damage it is best not to disturb it but rather to call in a professional to remove the wall or ceiling materials where mold is found, treat the area and then repair the damage.  If your house is built using the moisture control strategies and products listed above (or similar items), you can be assured that you’ve taken a giant step in the right direction to keeping your home dry and mold free!

Warm Regards,



Steve Jones & Bart Jones
Merlin Custom Home Builders
6408 S. Arville Street
Las Vegas, NV 89118

702.257.8102 – Phone