Insulation Requires a High Performance Air and Moisture Barrier to be Effective In the past, buildings had drafts, allowing air and moisture vapor to flow relatively freely through the exterior walls, keeping the wall cavity moisture-free. Increasing levels of insulation kept buildings more comfortable, but insulation can create a dew point inside the wall […]
Category: Air Barriers
While similar in name, there are critical differences builders, architects and designers need to understand between vapor barriers vs. vapor retarders.
To improve building air tightness, a continuous air barrier is key. And when it comes to continuity, a self-adhered air barrier is hard to beat.
Confusion between air barriers and vapor barriers is common. We’ve simplified the differences between the types of barriers to clarify some misconceptions.
Successfully navigating air barrier details, like tricky transitions and interfaces, differentiates a reliable, high-performance air barrier from an ineffective one.
Tall buildings require a robust air barrier design strategy to withstand higher air pressures from wind, stack effect, and mechanical systems.
Builder Emily Press used a peel and stick house wrap for the first time, and shares her experience with The Build Show’s Matt Risinger.
Is the DELTA®-VENT SA Air Barrier or ZIP System® Sheathing Better for Energy-Efficient, Green Construction?
We compare the popular ZIP and DELTA®-VENT SA systems to see which offers more energy efficiency and long-lasting performance.
Despite ‘manufacturer recommendations,’ the long-term durability of most air- and water-resistive barriers is significantly reduced by heavy UV exposure.
The Build Show’s Matt Risinger shares some of his stucco failures, and how you can avoid the same fate with his proven step-by-step stucco installation method.
Located near Frazier Park and the San Fernando Valley, Camp Lakota is situated on more than 60 acres of lush greenery, rolling hills, and wide-open fields, right in the heart of the beautiful Los Padres National Forest. The plan was to create a camp of the future for the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles; a […]
Building a custom home comes with high expectations from clients. It requires quality craftsmanship, meticulous attention to detail, and professionals with relentless passion.
The Integral House is arguably one of Toronto’s most unusual and spectacular residences. Its name reflects the summa symbol (∫) used to represent the integral in calculus; though it is known more simply to many as the Toronto Mansion. The 17,000-sq.-ft. Rosedale home was designed and built in 2009 for esteemed mathematician and calculus textbook author Dr. James […]
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is an independent verification method that recognizes green building performance. LEED certified buildings are generally assumed to be more energy-efficient than standard structures. LEED® certification can enhance a building’s value, generate higher commercial lease rates and reduce utility costs. By 2018, it is estimated that LEED-certified buildings will contribute almost $30 […]
A well-designed air and moisture control system can add decades to a home’s life, save the home buyers thousands of dollars on energy and maintenance costs, reduce health risks like mold, and generally add to the value of the home and the quality of life and comfort of the buyers. The best practices for air […]
“Code is a four-letter word for the worst building you can build without going to jail.” Building science engineer Dr. John Straube called it like it is at the latest DELTA® Academy Seminar Series in Washington, DC. His message was loud and clear: merely meeting code does not and should not cut it in an […]
When it comes to foundation protection and wall waterproofing, some builders only factor in code compliance. They simply spray a tar/asphalt coating on the concrete foundation and proceed with backfilling. Problem is, this approach is short-sighted, leading to spray-on foundation protection issues. Easily damaged spray-on coatings may create vulnerabilities on numerous levels, including moisture leading to mold […]
Today, people think about basements a little bit differently than in the past. While the idea of turning a basement into a livable and comfortable space seems like a necessity, it used to be the opposite. In the past, basements were merely used for storage purposes or were simply left unfinished. Now, the expectation among […]
If you haven’t experienced the gross inconvenience and expense of a leaky basement, count yourself lucky. If you have, you know it is not something that can just be ignored in hopes it will go unnoticed or perhaps “fix itself.” Basement leaks can either be slow and steady, gradually seeping into a dwelling over days, […]
Space heating and cooling accounts for over 30% of global energy consumption. With a 150% predicted increase by 2050 for cooling alone, it’s hardly surprising that the question of how to design energy efficient buildings is echoing around the planet. Recently, the focus has been on the building envelope. The new construction phase offers the […]
There are a number of things you can do when designing and constructing a building to improve building envelope energy efficiency. Here are seven of them. 1. Create a tight building envelope. It is important to create a tight building envelope around all six sides of a building (all four walls, the basement, and the […]
Damaging effects of UV rays on air and moisture membranes that are exposed during construction. Air and moisture membranes are widely used in construction to keep buildings water-tight. They are applied to the roof and walls to keep the elements out during the construction process, and after being roofed and walled over, they continue to […]
Water will always find its way inside a building, even with new technology and modern materials. A hundred years ago this wasn’t a problem because older buildings had more air leakage which allowed water in the wall cavity to evaporate before it damaged the structure. However, while air moving through the wall allowed water to dry, […]
In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, we looked at what sheathing membranes are and how they are used in exterior wall assemblies. To recap, these membranes typically consist of thin sheet materials placed on the exterior side of the sheathing board in exterior wall assemblies. The function of the membranes is to resist […]
When prominent people in building design and innovation showcase the energy savings of their Net Zero buildings, they raise public awareness and enthusiasm. For many, Net Zero in a functioning building looks easy; however, the task of incorporating all the design and physical elements is a complex undertaking. Homebuilders who want to participate in the growing […]
The best way to protect high-risk moisture environments – for walls and roofs It does not get any riskier than constructing an enclosure over an indoor swimming pool. Except maybe an enclosure over a pressurized and humidified hospital. Or, how about an enclosure over a conditioned museum designed by a famous architect who is incapable […]
How well are your membranes sealing around your nails? A test called ASTM D1970, Section 8.9, is conducted by manufacturers to confirm that their membranes meet a waterproofing standard. The test is administered by covering a piece of plywood with membrane, driving two nails into it, and backing them up a quarter of an inch. […]
In this post, I want to show you some of the important details for installing DELTA®-VENT SA. I will walk through all the steps of installing the house wrap and then focus on what it takes to flash a window, using the DELTA® line of products from Dörken Systems Inc. Dörken is a German company […]
There are a number of reasons why you need an air and moisture barrier over foam sheathing. Airtight exterior wall systems are critical to maximizing energy efficiency and gaining LEED points. However, certain characteristics of foam sheathing conspire to compromise airtight construction. The solution? Use foam sheathing together with a high-performing, moisture-resistive air barrier. As building codes […]
House wrap is one of the most common moisture barriers put on new houses and buildings. The concept is pretty simple, actually; once the basic structure is in place workers put wrap around it as a way to protect the home from unwanted air and moisture. The wrap is attached to the sheathing using staples, […]
High-quality house wrap is most often made of spun, high-density polyethylene fibers. It is a vapor-permeable material designed to simultaneously block the passage of liquid. Properly installed, it’s a WRB with the ability to resist moisture while allowing humidity to escape from exterior wall cavities, which is of particular importance in humid climates. However, unforeseen […]
When I first started doing blower door tests 15 years ago, I was full of bravado, thinking I had a pretty tight house. I was using a good house wrap and taping the seams, and I was paying my insulation and drywall contractor extra to include “air-sealing measures.” I thought “No problem. I should be […]
Building tighter, energy-efficient homes has come with both benefits and risks. As we’ve seen over time, increased airtightness improves energy efficiency, but it also risked producing mold and rot without the proper control of moisture vapor. The key to solving this issue is to allow moisture to dry out. A housewrap (also known as a […]
On the surface, air barrier sheathing products like the ZIP System® and others, seem like a great product. One product that takes the place of two. The sheathing and taping purportedly eliminates the need for an air/moisture wrap or barrier because it is built-in to the sheathing. However, especially in today’s green building environment, it […]
Dr. John Straube is a highly regarded building science expert, well known for his research, his consulting work, and his leadership as an educator. He is a Principal at RDH Building Science and a faculty member at the University of Waterloo. This past year, Dr. Straube discussed key building enclosure concepts (including moisture control, airtightness, […]
Dr. John Straube is a highly regarded building science expert, well-known for his research, his consulting work, and his leadership as an educator. He is a Principal at RDH Building Science and a faculty member at the University of Waterloo. This past year, Dr. Straube discussed key building enclosure concepts (including moisture control, airtightness, and […]
Experienced home builders understand how much work goes into building a good reputation, getting referrals, and growing their business. They also know just how quickly a bad experience for the homeowner can undo all of that hard work. One particularly bad experience that has many homeowners seeking retribution is the discovery of mold in […]
Your building materials could be getting sunburned this summer, but it’s not visible to the naked eye. And, over time, this unseen damage will continue to get worse.
More than 80 per cent of premature building deterioration is the result of moisture damage resulting from the dissolution of materials, reduction in effectiveness of insulation, and more. For this reason, building industry professionals know the importance of moisture control methods.
If there’s anything that will convince people of a building product’s worthiness, it’s when the pros use it in their own homes – where they’re free to make unilateral decisions, based on their own expertise and preferences. So you can imagine our excitement when Dr. John Straube chose our air- and water-resistive barrier for his new […]
Building for sustainability, safety, and comfort requires the combined effort of engineers, architects, sub-contractors, and builders who understand how to design and specify an energy-efficient building envelope. This begins with the design concept and carries through to pricing, design review, construction, and building envelope commissioning. The preferred method for significant reduction in energy use and […]
Today, net-zero energy initiatives are taking the building industry by storm. These are homes designed and built to generate as much energy as they consume, once all renewable energy systems are fully installed—with the goal of reducing the energy needed to maintain them. According to a standard set by the NZEC, net-zero energy structures are […]
Air Tightness and Building Performance High performing buildings are durable, comfortable, healthy and low-energy users. An essential component of the high performance building is minimized air leakage. Commercial air tightness testing is a quality control tool providing data for the mechanical engineer’s load and energy calculations so he/she can design the appropriate mechanical system. As […]
Engineers are now coming to the conclusion that air-tightness is more important than window design in the conception of an energy-saving house. According to the website for the Air Barrier Association of America, airtightness is gauged by measuring the building envelope’s effectiveness. But what exactly does air-tightness mean? Its technical meaning, unlike some terms […]
Air barriers are no longer just a passing consideration. They are not only federally mandated, but also demanded by code-conscious and sustainability-oriented building owners and occupants who are in the know. For good reason, too. A high-performing air barrier means greater comfort at a lesser cost. Based on simulations, the National Institute of Standards and […]
Today, many builders are increasingly leaning towards green construction. According to Canadian study World Green Building Trends 2018, 35% of Canadian firms who participated in the study report that more than 60% of their projects are green, and by 2021 the number of firms to achieve this is expected to rise to 48%. What’s interesting is […]
In a previous article, we discussed the North American building code requirements for sheathing membranes and their function as water-resistive barriers (WRB). This third and last article of the blog series will uncover the additional, critical role of sheathing membranes as air barriers. Sheathing membranes that act as air barriers are typically of the polymeric […]
When it comes to maintaining a building’s integrity and longevity, protecting the building from factors that contribute to moisture-related issues is key. How do moisture-related issues materialize to begin with? According to research, wind-driven rain on a building’s façade is considered one of the largest sources of moisture2 and, most commonly, moisture is the number […]
You’ve heard it time and again. When properly installed, fluid-applied air barrier systems can be a good choice for building enclosures. What you may not have heard about is how to ensure proper installation. Unlike sheet membranes, fluid applied membranes require a lot of attention to installation detail to deliver the performance that is desired. […]
In the past 20 years, Boston’s population has grown faster than the construction industry has been able to keep up. Finding a place to live is not easy, and affording ownership costs is even harder, with a cost of living that is almost 40% above the U.S. average. Available rental units are likewise rare – […]
Clark University, located in Worcester, MA, is a widely respected research institution, particularly for its excellent science program. To reflect the cutting-edge research that is happening inside its buildings every day, the university is committed to investing in its campus exteriors, in hopes of attracting top students and faculty. That’s why, after three decades, it […]
All buildings require air barrier systems. There are three very important reasons to control the airflow inside of a building: 1) Moisture Control. No one wants water damage due to water vapor condensation, or mold growth encouraged by wet walls. 2) Energy efficiency. An air barrier can reduce cold drafts or humidity fluctuations, and keep […]
Air barrier systems in buildings are marketed as systems because many different types of materials must combine to make an airtight plane that controls airflow. The critical areas for any airtight plane are a building’s material transitions, penetrations, and joints. 5 important criteria to use when judging or comparing air barrier systems: 1) Continuity. Air […]
Designers should be thinking about air barrier system testing in the design phase to ensure that the barrier can be installed correctly. Contractors need to follow installation procedures and guidelines to make sure that the system works as intended. However, because air barriers are crucial, whole-building systems, air tightness testing is normally required to prove […]
Architects are busy. Not only do they have to design buildings, envision their performance, and specify products that help them meet their design goals, they also have to keep up with building industry developments. Architects must also take classes, workshops, and seminars in order to maintain their professional license. Even a layperson can see that […]
Most people think of technical guides as just information about products. However, the new air barrier systems technical guide, from Dörken, is full of educational information about air barrier systems that can be used by anyone. It is a valuable educational tool for people in the industry, including architects, contractors, and specifiers. The guide starts […]
People tend to associate drafts with discomfort. If there’s a cold draft, it means either working with heavy clothes on or turning up the heat. The opposite is true in warm weather, when either the air conditioning needs to be turned up or individuals need to wear cooler clothing. What people often ignore, though, is […]
With all of the different risks and dangers that come with building commercial structures, moisture problems often get overlooked until it’s too late. While it’s possible to fix problems with the moisture barrier once construction is completed, it’s always better to prevent these problems from happening in the first place. Moisture Barrier Problems in Commercial […]
The buzz about going green is a trend that requires attention. Embracing the changes in commercial and industrial buildings that are being demanded for energy efficient design and construction is key to making building owners and tenants satisfied. Since commercial buildings consume seventeen percent of the nation’s energy, valued at more than $100 billion according to EnergyStar.gov, business and industry […]
As many people are aware, energy-saving designs in construction have been made increasingly mandatory. With these changes in mind, the use of air barriers, vapor barriers, water-resistive barriers, (fluid applied and sheet/membrane) can aid in the proper performance of buildings and help to reduce maintenance efforts later down the line. Air Moisture Barrier Considerations 1. Such design […]
Ever wondered how ancient structures such as the pyramids, the Roman Coliseum, Stonehenge, and more stood the test of time, while many of our modern structures fail due to rot? Simple. Ancient builders used plain stone for their structures. Who cared if the stones got wet, or battered with wind or hail? Today, our structures […]
First appearing in 1975, an updated Ashrae 90.1 energy standard for all but low-rise residential buildings comes out every 3 years. Taking into account current technology and life cycle cost, Ashrae 90.1 establishes minimum energy efficiency requirements for building design and operation including building envelopes (as of 2007). Ashrae 90.1 Currently, the Ashrae 90.1 uses the 8 […]
With more people than ever concerned about implementing green building practices in commercial construction, making sure there are no air leaks in buildings (air leakage) is an important factor in construction planning. Here are some ways to make sure a building is tighter and more energy efficient. When Air Leakage in Buildings Is Most Likely to […]
Don’t let increasing demand for buildings cause you to take shortcuts, especially with air and moisture membranes. The result can be very costly. It’s a fact that when there’s an uptick in real estate sales, there’s a corresponding increase in construction and renovations. Nowhere is this more true than in New York City where condo […]
There are countless stories about lawsuits for mold and moisture damage in buildings, none of which are insignificant. Mold and moisture damage in buildings is a serious topic that has garnered millions of dollars of litigation for companies and individuals. Buildings that do not properly mitigate moisture and water leakage can present toxic and mold-infested environments […]
Air and moisture membranes are as much a part of modern building construction as doors and windows. These membranes are wrapped around the building within the wall structure, and they’re meant to help prevent mold, mildew, and other unwanted conditions that can damage the structure and lead to health problems for those who use it. […]
When the Boulder Wildland Fire Station was being built, DELTA®-VENT S was chosen for its high standards of durability. The building, designed by Allred & Associates, was added to an existing Firefighting Regional Training Facility. Boulder Wildland Fire Station will become the command center for all Boulder Wildland firefighting needs. Facing the Rocky Mountains, the facility sits between the Sixmile and Boulder […]
DELTA®-TRELA Roof Underlayment Lou Ruvo Brain Institute – Las Vegas, NV The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Gehry’s portfolio includes such projects as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Gehry’s design of the Cleveland Clinic Lou […]
Even the most prestigious architects can get it wrong. In 2007, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sued renowned architect, Frank Gehry, for design and construction defects in the $300 million dollar Stata Center on the MIT campus. Three years later, the lawsuit was resolved amicably, but the revelations regarding the failures are still instructive for […]
The Science Pyramid at Denver Botanic Gardens invites visitors to explore the relationship between people and plants, and to examine the role of biomimicry in our lives – the way the features of nature inspire ideas and actions in people. It’s not surprising then that the building has a great relationship with its surroundings. Rising to a comfortable height among the […]
The detrimental effects of carbon fuel consumption on the environment have stimulated development of a ‘net-zero’ energy measurement for public and private buildings. A ‘Net-Zero’ building is defined as one that creates as much energy as it consumes on an annually averaged basis. Currently, energy production is not incorporated into the construction of most commercial […]
Air and moisture control in buildings is a fundamental function for any commercial project involving conditioned space. Unfortunately moisture problems are common in many buildings and people often consider them inevitable. Moisture accumulation is the scourge of buildings throughout the United States, from tropical Hawaii to arctic Alaska and from the hot, humid Gulf Coast to the hot, dry Sonoran Desert. Between […]
In a recent article for Green Builder Media, Chris Norris suggests that the energy-saving potential of continuous air barriers is often underrated. For some time, state energy codes focus more on conductive heat transfer through exterior walls than on air leakage. Now, building codes increasingly set air leakage standards as well. Air Infiltration vs Insulation […]
New Report Emphasizes the Importance of Air Sealing It’s no surprise that a leaky house causes higher energy bills among other things. A new report released by an insulation trade group highlights the importance of air sealing. It says that one type of wall insulation will perform just as well as another as long as […]
Air and moisture control in homes, says the US Department of Energy, begins with a discussion of what used to be called “vapor barriers,” but are now referred to as “vapor diffusion retarders.” Vapor diffusion retarders can aid in controlling moisture within “basements, ceilings, crawlspaces, floors, slab-on-grade foundations and walls,” and accomplish this by cutting […]
Open joint cladding buildings can be strikingly beautiful, but they require suitable stabilization against damaging UV rays in order to reliably protect the building against moisture damage. If the water-resistive barrier is not durable in extreme weather or stable when exposed to prolonged periods of UV light, the system will fail. How UV Rays Affect […]
(Photography by Adrien Williams) Tucked away in the woods just outside Montreal sits a modern, stunning cabin overlooking Grenier Lake. Large windows take in the expansive forest and surrounding views. Local architect Paul Bernier understands this environment, and chose materials to complement it. Clad in cedar panels, and topped with a garden roof, the cabin […]
Sometimes the additional knowledge an architect brings to a project can serve the project in completely unanticipated ways. Air and moisture control is a critical component of building design. It is important for the health and comfort of the inhabitants, as well as for structural durability. Architects understand what air and moisture barriers do and […]
As modern building materials advance, energy efficiency is inescapable. Near-zero energy buildings are becoming increasingly popular in Europe. However, this will not have a great effect on energy consumption as a whole until energy efficient building materials and practices are widespread. Iowa State University Professor Yu Wang states that energy efficiency is relatively inexpensive when […]
From the process of evolution from single-cellular organisms to multi-system lifeforms, two things have remained consistent as being the most destructive forces on the planet: water and sunlight. Ironically, the two most destructive forces on Earth are also two essential elements that life needs to exist. On a cellular level, the UV radiation in sunlight […]
One of the problems with many interior vapor barriers, such as polyethylene, is that no matter how well the product is installed, it is almost impossible to prevent harmful moisture and radiation from entering your home. Every staple, seam, or penetration creates an opportunity for moisture to get past the vapor barrier and into the […]
Building tenants are understandably concerned over the quality of the interior space that they occupy. The comfort and integrity of the building will be enhanced if a high performance air barrier is incorporated in the building envelope. A good air barrier provides a separation between the conditioned interior space of the building and the uncontrolled […]
For years now, the labor shortage in construction has continued. While every firm may have some understanding of the current lack of skilled labor, the problem is likely much deeper than it is often thought to be. To be precise: the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC of America) issued a press release claiming that 83% of contractors report having difficulty finding […]
Over the past decade, net zero homes have grown in popularity. They are also more viable as solar panels have dramatically decreased in cost while increasing in efficiency, and energy storage systems have become far more cost-effective. Now, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) cites a report from the Net Zero Energy Coalition (NZEC) stating that 6,200 housing units […]
Wall designs are one of the most time consuming projects for an architect. As you design buildings that are energy-efficient and compliant with code changes, the wall details become more detail-oriented and evermore critical to the performance of the building. Dörken, in collaboration with Roxul, has generated BIM files for wall sections, including air and water-resistive barrier details. […]
The success of a design build project depends on many elements in order to get the project completed on time. When something has to be redone, it usually means delays, added costs while playing havoc with a carefully designed construction schedule. Design build contractors continue to use lower cost building wraps that have to frequently […]
[easy-tweet tweet=”The Role of Air Barriers and Continuous Insulation in an Age of Green Construction ” user=”PeterBarrett_” hashtags=”#greenbuilding” url=”http://bit.ly/2gD099S”] The role of air barriers and continuous insulation is multi-faceted and increasingly important in an age of green construction. Air/moisture barriers and continuous insulation are now mainstream building systems that address the demands of more stringent building […]
So much is at stake in the process of designing and building a new home. Decisions during the design process will affect the fate of the home itself; that of the homeowners; and, on a certain level, that of the larger systems around us, such as the housing market, and global ecology. Maybe this sounds […]
Professionals in the construction industry have seen the buzzwords “resilience” and “adaptation” in their work, especially when it comes to the importance of building envelopes. While some might see the words skeptically as a trend, Irene C. Pau at Consulting-Specifying Engineer goes to show that implementing adaptive and dynamic building envelope goes a long way […]
Net zero energy building envelope design should be of primary importance to every commercial contractor, asserts the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (CCES). “Space heating, cooling and ventilation,” says the CCES, use up the most energy in commercial sector, and comprise “34% of the energy used onsite.” Net zero energy, the term used in […]
In the early stages of the green building movement, lighting, mechanical, control system designs, and upgrades received the most attention. Over the last several years, however, the focus has shifted towards designing and specifying energy efficient building envelopes. Building construction and operation have an enormous impact on the environment in terms of energy usage, atmospheric […]