The Difference Between a Vapour Barrier and an Air Barrier

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Journal titleBuilding Practice Note, Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council Canada
Subjectair barriers; vapor barriers; air leakages; air moisture transfer; design criteria; Air and vapour barriers
AbstractMoisture problems in walls have been attributed in large measure to two mechanisms: vapour diffusion, and now more importantly, air leakage, specifically the deposition of moisture by moist air exfiltrating through the building envelope. While significant technology related to vapour diffusion control (the vapour barrier) exists (i.e. calculation procedures, regulatory requirements, material standards and performance testing procedures), there is minimal technology availabe related to air leakage control ( the air barrier) for the repair of existing building envelopes and virtually none for the design and construction of the envelope of new buildings. This paper presents a definition of the air barrier, outlines the performance requirements, and examines the application of the theory to several typical commercial constructions. This application could provide a functional and durable air barrier within the building envelope.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
NoteAussi disponible en francais: La Difference entre un pare-vapeur et un pare-air
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number762
NPARC number20338315
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Record identifierdb9bccc2-eff6-4249-8a3f-0d2224dc30db
Record created2012-07-19
Record modified2016-05-09
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