19 March

Post Installation Air Barrier System Testing

The growing awareness of energy efficiency, green building, high performance buildings, and uncontrolled airflow (infiltration or exfiltration) through the building enclosure has led to many performance based requirements for the air barrier system.

Consultants and testing agencies are promoting air barrier performance testing and diagnostic services to building owners and marketing themselves as firms who ensure a 100% success rate is achieved when testing for air tightness when building owners procure their services. When consultants are hired they not only perform ASTM testing on the applied materials but also perform field observations during construction identifying typical compliant and non-compliant construction methods.

Blower Door


The following is a list of air barrier performance testing and diagnostic evaluations that consultants and testing agencies promote. While this list is not all-inclusive, it provides the most common post air barrier installation performance testing and diagnostic evaluations:

  • ASTM D 4541 Standard Test Method for Pull-Off Strength of Coatings Using Portable Adhesion Testers. This test method covers a procedure for evaluating the pull-off strength of a coating.
  •  ASTM E 1186 Standard Practices for Air Leakage Site Detection in Building Envelopes and Air Barrier Systems. This test method covers standardized techniques for locating air leakage sites in building envelopes and air barrier systems.
  •  ASTM E 779 Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage Rate by Fan Pressurization. This test method measures air-leakage rates through a building envelope under controlled pressurization and de-pressurization.
  •  ASTM E 1827 Standard Test Methods for Determining Airtightness of Buildings Using an Orifice Blower Door. These test methods describes techniques for measuring air leakage rates through a building envelope in buildings that may be configured to a single zone. Both techniques use an orifice blower door to induce pressure differences across the building envelope and to measure those pressure differences and the resulting airflows. The measurements of pressure differences and airflows are used to determine airtightness and other leakage characteristics of the envelope.
  •  ASTM C 1060 Standard Practice for Thermographic Inspection of Insulation Installations In Envelope Cavities of Frame Buildings. This practice is a guide to the proper use of infrared imaging systems for conducting qualitative thermal inspections of building walls, ceilings, roofs, and floors, framed in wood or metal, that may contain insulation in the spaces between framing members. This procedure allows the detection of cavities where insulation may be inadequate or missing and allows identification of areas with apparently adequate insulation.

Applicators/installers should understand these post application tests and ensure that the air barrier system application specifically at junctions, transitions, and interfaces are properly addressed. If the air barrier system fails to meet the project requirements, the cost of repair and re-testing can be devastating. 

Contact the air and vapor barrier experts at Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing for project specific questions, details and applications guidance. They may be reached at 888-229-2199 or technicalservices@ccw.carlisle.com .

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