Building industry professionals largely agree on the importance of moisture control methods, but there is frequent confusion about the use of vapor and air barriers. To make the right decision on which methods and materials to include in a building envelope, it is critical to understand the simple, yet significant, differences between air and vapor barriers, and their role as part of an effective system.
Coatings used with brick masonry should be breathable, especially in colder climates—they must allow moisture entering the wall system to escape. Failure of brick that has been covered by a non-breathable coating underscores the importance of selecting appropriate repairs when needed. If a coating does need to be applied, the masonry must first be repaired as needed, with all joints between brick units properly pointed.
What is a “moisture sandwich”? In a new e-book from The Construction Specifier, Ted Winslow of CertainTeed Insulation explains how tight-envelope construction techniques have led to a steep reduction in air movement through walls. This means moisture gets trapped inside wall cavities without sufficient means for it to escape, leading to reduced drying potential for a wall’s interior. This “moisture sandwich” is occurring with increasing frequency as architects incorporate … Continue reading Use of vapor retarders to reduce moisture covered in new e-book
Many designers and specifiers understand controlling air, vapor, and thermal transfer helps mitigate moisture problems within the building envelope. Moisture accumulation is a performance adversary that can lead to structural deterioration, finish damage, organic growth, and reduced building longevity. However, navigating the fundamentals, code requirements, and industry trends can be complex.