What is a “dry-in” home?
"Dry-In" means that the building shell has been completed sufficiently to keep out wind, rain, or the weather in general, thus assuring that weather-sensitive materials or work can begin indoors without those materials suffering weather damage by rain, wind, snow, etc.
For any building construction project the responsible architect, engineer, or contractor may specify special temporary building protective measures to achieve temporary dry-in status to permit certain interior work to begin. The requirement for reaching a dry-in state is set to avoid damage or risk of damage to weather-sensitive materials to be used or installed indoors.
Some builders use the term "dry box" for this weather-proof building status, and include the building foundation, framing, doors, windows, exterior siding and trim, and the complete roof system. In dry-box or dry-in state, a building can be occupied and its interior finished while safe from weather damage.
Interior work that generally waits until building dry-in or building dry box status includes: building interior wall, ceiling or roof insulation, ceiling and wall and floor coverings and finishes, counters, cabinets, countertops, and probably most electrical wiring and plumbing components & fixtures.
Building interior work involving the installation of weather-sensitive materials (such as insulation or drywall) should not begin before the building has reached dry-in status.
Building Dry Box or Dry In should include at least the following:
• The structure is complete or if necessary, temporary structural supports may be in place sufficient to permit interior work to proceed in safety. For high rise or other large buildings "structure" may refer to only a floor, wing, or segment of the complete building.
• The roof sheathing is installed and a roof covering, permanent or suitable, reliable temporary roof waterproof covering is installed.
• The wall sheathing is installed.
• Housewrap or equivalent moisture barriers have been properly installed
• Windows, doors, and other opening coverings (skylights, plumbing vent boots around roof plumbing vent penetrations, exterior wall penetrations for wiring, plumbing, etc.) have been completed or else these openings have not been made, or if they have been made they may be temporarily sealed against the weather.
• Exterior trim, flashings, caulks, sealants have been installed where these are necessary to assure that the building shell is waterproof, wind proof, or more generally, weatherproof.
In some situations where water-sensitive work (insulation, drywall) must begin on a building that has not met the defined dry-in details outlined above, a licensed building professional architect or engineer or qualified custom home builders might design and specify an acceptable temporary exterior covering for the structure to permit interior work to proceed.
Dry-in status has other uses such as to define a point in the making of progress payments during building construction.