Barriers to Building Envelope Air Leaks

January 27th, 2022 | in Building Envelopes
Barriers to Building Envelope Air Leaks

Building envelopes offer critical resistance to unconditioned, external environments, including heat, light and noise. A related function is to provide resistance to air leaks - both exfiltration and infiltration. Air tightness testing measures the air leakage of building envelopes.

Uncontrolled air flow brings with it condensation and moisture that rots structures. It also reduces indoor air quality, and provides opportunities for pests, odor and dirt infiltration. Air leaks also lessen a residential structure's energy efficiency. Cold Surrey winters make this a very important consideration. Put simply, a tight building envelope, proper ventilated, is a structural ideal.

What kind of barriers are used limit air leaks?

For homes, there are several simple approaches to reducing air leaks, including caulking and weather-stripping. Caulking is typically used to fill cracks or small holes. It can also be used to seal plumbing and duct work where it runs through walls. Weather-stripping is typically used to reduce air leaks around doors and windows. Foam gaskets can be installed behind outlet and light switches.

Often more significant structural remediation is required, such as replacing single-pane windows and door thresholds, or laying hardboard sheeting over suspended timber floors (where gaps leak air).

A professional assessment of residential and commercial buildings can help determine the extent of suspected envelope air leakage. Serving the Surrey area, Westerly Restoration offers comprehensive building envelope assessments to determine what issues may be causing air leaks, and provides appropriate remedial measures to protect structural integrity.

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