Cladding Attachment Over Thick Exterior Insulating Sheathing (Fact Sheet)

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


The addition of insulation to the exterior of buildings is an effective means of increasing the thermal resistance of wood-framed walls and mass masonry wall assemblies. The location of the insulation on the exterior of the structure has many direct benefits, including better effective R-value from reduced thermal bridging, better condensation resistance, reduced thermal stress on the structure,as well as other commonly associated improvements such as increased airtightness and improved water management. For thick layers of exterior insulation (more than 1.5 in.), the use of wood furring strips attached through the insulation back to the structure has been used by many contractors and designers as a means to provide a convenient cladding attachment location. Although the approach hasproven effective, there is significant resistance to its widespread implementation due to a lack of research and understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of the vertical displacement resistance capacity. In addition, the long-term in-service performance of the system has been questioned due to potential creep effects of the assembly under the sustained dead load of thecladding and effects of varying environmental conditions. In addition, the current International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) do not have a provision that specifically allows this assembly.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5500-60144

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102013-4057


  • BSC
  • Building America
  • cladding attachment
  • creep
  • discrete load component testing
  • exterior insulation
  • furring strips
  • insulating sheathing
  • long-term movement
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • thermal resistance


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