Maintaining continuity: Keeping air/moisture barriers continuous at movement conditions
At this point, most design/construction professionals have a pretty good understanding of the need for well-designed air and moisture control layers in wall assemblies. Water-resistive barriers (WRBs) have been in use for decades; in more recent years, a number of new systems have popped up that combine these products with an air barrier function, effectively creating ‘air and moisture barriers’ as the gold standard, if not the new norm.
Aside from simply keeping liquid water on the exterior of the building where it belongs, air and moisture barriers help reduce unwanted air movement through a building, which, in turn, lowers unnecessary energy consumption, helps prevent mold and mildew growth on the interior, stops pollutants such as radon gas and allergens from entering the building, and improves indoor occupant comfort by reducing drafts and external noise. Since air movement is also the primary source of condensation and moisture damage inside the wall cavity, an air and moisture barrier system also helps reduce structural degradation by keeping out water in both liquid and vapor forms.
Originally published in The Construction Specifier • February 2016
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