Air and water vapor can have significant effects on a building envelope--the physical barrier that separates the interior and exterior of a structure. How air and water vapor interact with the envelope is crucial for maintaining the structure's durability, energy efficiency, and indoor comfort. So how can air and water vapor affect a building envelope? Glad you asked.
Air can carry moisture in the form of water vapor. When warm, humid air infiltrates a building in cold weather, it can condense on colder surfaces within the envelope, potentially causing water damage, mold growth, and insulation degradation.
When warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold surface within the building envelope, condensation can occur. This can lead to water damage and the growth of mold or mildew.
The presence of water vapor in the building envelope can reduce the effectiveness of insulation materials, making them less capable of retaining heat.
Uncontrolled air leakage through gaps and cracks in the building envelope can lead to energy loss and discomfort. Infiltrating outdoor air can carry moisture and affect indoor humidity levels.
Indoor Air Quality
The movement of air and moisture through the building envelope can impact indoor air quality. Moisture intrusion can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can affect occupant health.
Air and water vapor can influence a building's energy efficiency. Uncontrolled airflow can result in higher heating and cooling costs, as well as discomfort due to drafts.
Moisture in the building envelope can lead to structural deterioration over time, particularly in wood and metal components.
It's All Relative
The North American climate varies significantly from region to region, and it has a direct impact on building moisture management strategies. In other words, where you are affects what you need to do. Ensure the long-term integrity and performance of the structure by considering moisture management suitable to the local climate.
Rainfall, Precipitation, and Flooding
Snow and Ice
Building Design and Construction Codes
Building Envelope and HVAC Systems
The Elements to Defend Against the Elements
Achieve maximum moisture management with easily integrated products that, when combined, maximize air flow, weather tightness, and indoor air quality.
Take it from the top down…
Landmark ClimateFlex shingles with Quadrabond and CertaSeal technologies
Grace Ice and Water Shield roofing underlayment
GlasRoc® Tile Backer is a wall and ceiling tile substrate
InsulSafe® SP fiberglass blowing insulation
MemBrain™ Continuous Air Barrier & Smart Vapor Retarder
Three Challenges We'll Help You Meet
From exterior to interior and places in between, take charge of these three factors to stay ahead of potential problems.
Maintaining a consistent temperature doesn’t just lower costs, it prevents unwanted condensation from growing into larger health and structural hazards. Insulating walls and ducts is the key to consistency.
CertaWrap™ Weather Resistant Barrier is an added layer of protection against air and moisture damage. GlasRoc® Sheathing uses a water-resistant core and fully embedded glass mat for exterior applications. Insulsafe, InsulPure, and OPTIMA provide several options to keep cavities from leaking air and conditioned air.
InsulPure, SoftTouch, and Ultra*Duct Black Duct Board make sure condensation is minimized, and optimal HVAC efficiency is achieved.
You know what the most common source of interior moisture buildup is? Not water. Water Vapor. Limit condensation by controlling it with materials that prevent water retention at every layer. Plan ahead with strategic material choices.
CertaSeal INT helps prevent air leakage that can bring in unwanted humidity.
Insulation such as InsulPure, OPTIMA, and InsulSafe helps prevent cavities from collecting moisture in unseen locations. GlasRoc Tile Backer is a substrate with a water-resistant core to meet the demands of high moisture areas.
Intruding water will take—and make—many paths. Vapor barriers, sealants, and low-moisture retention materials ensure unwanted moisture stays out. Seal cracks to prevent buildup on surfaces and in cavities.
CertaSeal INT prevents any unwanted water from leaking through interior structures.
MemBrain™ is a patented continuous air barrier that remains tight in winter to keep moisture out; it also increases permeability in summer to let moisture escape, helping to keep walls dry. GlasRoc Tile Backer help prevent water intrusion in spaces exposed to water in a building.
Grace Ice & Water Shield®
Built to withstand the toughest challenges, Grace Ice and Water Shield has proven its worth in the most demanding climates. Whether you face heavy rain, snow, ice dams, or high winds, this powerful moisture barrier stands firm, shielding your home and family from potential disasters.
Built-In Air and Vapor Management
CertainTeed Offsite Construction delivers—literally—high-performance, factory-ready solutions that seamlessly work together. Buildings assemble quickly, with sustainability, comfort, and aesthetics built-in and sealed with airtight precision.
Explore a complete portfolio of components designed to work together, including high R-value insulation, drywall, siding, cool roofs, solar modules and systems, wallboards, and finishing systems.
An Ounce of Prevention
Minimize Mold Conditions
Handle and store building materials carefully to reduce potential mold growth. Store building materials in areas that are sheltered from moisture (rain and snow) and protect them from other moisture sources, such as fresh concrete and standing water.
Water is not the only type of moisture to guard against. It may be necessary to consider onsite dehumidification to help reduce moisture load in the building. When applying and finishing gypsum board, site conditions should follow ASTM C 840 and GA-216 requirements.