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Mixology – how bad accessories make bad air barrier membranes

Oil and water don't mix. This is certainly true when it comes to construction materials. Think about the last time you saw a product fail when value engineering dictated a switch away from the original design.

Design professionals who want a sustainable air barrier system that will improve energy efficiency – and qualify for maximum tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act – must pay particular attention to the “oil and water” proverb. Many air barrier membranes on the market today simply don’t mix with some of the most used accessory materials.

For example, silicone sealants should not be used for detailing when the primary air barrier membrane contains asphalt since these compounds are not compatible with one another.

Keep in mind when designing or evaluating materials for a high performing building envelope, the primary air barrier membrane must be compatible with:

  • Window and door flashings
  • Termination mastics & sealants
  • Through wall flashings
  • Contact adhesives
  • Sealants
  • Roof-to-wall connections
  • Below grade waterproofing connections

One of the best ways to ensure compatibility is to specify and use products from a single source manufacturer. When other manufacturer’s products are used, be sure to consult technical data sheets to make sure you’re not mixing oil and water.

We’ve produced a guide to help you navigate the nuances of qualifying for the IRA credits. Download it here today.

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