In the building industry’s ever increasing pursuit of tighter and more waterproof structures, is there a point at which a wall is built too tight? While a watertight assembly is vitally important for wall controlling issues such as mold growth and protecting IAQ, some building practices may be inadvertently making it easier for moisture-related issues to fester.
Prior to the mid-20th century, building walls relied on their thickness and density to resist water penetration. Moisture would mainly deflect from the wall face or be absorbed and later evaporate from the mass wall.
Every professional builder knows about the damaging effects of unwanted moisture, as well as how challenging it is to control water intrusion in certain climates. However, What is not always understood is the role airflow plays in moisture control and how important air barriers are in managing it.
Ancient construction relied exclusively on natural materials such as clay, wood, and stone. The industrial revolution introduced steel, which transformed the architectural world. Our era of rapid technological development is driving massive innovations in building materials and systems.
According to the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), there are seven different categories of air barrier assemblies. Each offers advantages depending on a number of factors, including geography, labor considerations, and even the height of the structure.