Ensuring air barrier sheet membrane performance in building design

When you are considering an fluid applied membrane for your next project, there are factors about the wall assembly you should consider before making a selection.

Instead of viewing the wall as a collection of discrete elements, architects and building engineers need to view wall assemblies holistically, in the context of the completed structure. In this view, the water resistive air barrier becomes one piece – albeit a very important piece – of the inter- connected design solution. Determining the appropriate WRB and installation methods requires a detailed understanding of the relationship of the outermost cladding through the wall’s other elements. The many environmental factors impacting the performance of the completed wall assembly—from typical wind pressure and rain volume to temperature extremes—must also drive the selection process. 

Viewed this way, it becomes clear that some innovative wall designs require equally innovative approaches to WRB selection and to the details of application. To achieve performance expectations, carefully consider the interaction of all elements within the completed wall assembly along with a host of important questions well before construction begins. For example:

  • Will the wall be exposed to extreme wind and water pressures, such as on a very tall building, in a hurricane zone, or due to a steep wall slope? This may demand enhanced detailing, requiring collaboration with product manufacturers and/or alternative testing of the proposed assembly to ensure it delivers a higher degree of water resistance prior to building construction.
  • Does the wall feature open joint cladding? Is the joint baffled or open? This may increase exposure of the underlying air barrier to the elements, requiring UV resistance or supplemental detailing.
  • Does the wall design call for a high number of windows, fasteners, anchors, or other components that pose water control continuity challenges? These factors may require supplemental sealant at key areas to maintain the integrity of the air barrier in the completed assembly.
  • Will the wall be composed of prefabricated, modular units assembled on-site? Additional detailing may be required as well as special attention to installation sequencing.

Collaboration for Innovation

Working in close collaboration with a trusted and reputable air barrier expert throughout the design and construction process can help in the performance of the completed building envelope.

At Henry Company, we share your drive for innovation in building design. Our team of experts has the knowledge and experience to help architects, engineers, and contractors analyze their building envelope performance requirements and develop effective WRB solutions for even the most breakthrough scenarios. In fact, our building envelope specialists are working with industry leaders to develop new performance measures to more effectively meet the needs of today’s design innovators.

We complement that expertise with building envelope systems that lead the industry in performance and reliability. Our Blueskin® VP160 Self-Adhered Water Resistive Air Barrier Membrane eliminates air leakage, allows passage of water vapor through the membrane, and fully functions as a water resistive barrier. Henry Building Envelope Systems® help designers push the envelope and challenge the status quo.

When you need help selecting the right air barrier sheet membrane or a fluid applied membrane for your next project, reach out to a Henry representative.

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