The Barriers that Protect Your Home: Water, Vapor and Air

In home construction there are three barriers that can be critical to preserving the integrity of your property over its lifespan: water, vapor and air. Knowing the difference between the three will help you choose the best products and applications to ensure that your home is energy efficient, comfortable and structurally sound for years to come.

According to the Air Barrier Association of America, air barriers, vapor barriers and water barriers each have a different function to perform in a building assembly. Air Barriers “stop movement of air into or out of a conditioned space”. Materials that prevent such movement are measured in factors “air permeance”, with a lower number indicating that a material is a better barrier than a higher number.

Vapor Barriers “slow or reduce the movement of water vapor through a material.” Vapor barrier materials are installed on the warm side of a wall assembly, most often determined by your climate. In warm climates, for example, the barrier is installed on the outside of a building and in cold climates it is installed on the inside.

Water Resistive Barriers are installed on the outside of a building and are intended to prevent bulk water leakage through and into a building’s sheathing or concrete walls and into their wall assembly. The most effective water resistive barriers are usually installed in the form of a membrane or covering fastened to the outside of the home (before finishing siding or exterior covering is installed).

Spray Foam Insulation is recommended to prevent the leakage of both air and vapor into and out of your conditioned home. By stopping this exchange, you protect your property from the damaging effects of moisture that can seep into your building materials, and you can also increase the efficiency of your HVAC system creating a more comfortable, energy efficient environment and lower utility bills. Paired with a good water resistive barrier, air and vapor barriers can substantially extend the lifespan of your building materials and the overall quality and value of your home over time.

When planning your new build or remodel, don’t forget to address your particular air, vapor and water barrier needs. If you want to learn more about the types of barriers that can help keep your home safe and comfortable, contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today and we’ll be happy to review your options with you!

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