14 March

Mixology -- How bad accessories make bad air barrier membranes

Oil and water don't mix. This proverb is a way of saying that certain people or characteristics do not go together.  It 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, indoor comfort and longevity 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 commonly used accessory materials.

For example, silicone sealants should not be used for detailing when the primary air barrier membrane contains asphalt as 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

To find out which products are not “oil and water” consult technical data sheets or the manufacturers’ website.

Carlisle offers a wide selection of air barrier membranes, including asphalt free versions that are compatible with silicone sealants in addition to low-VOC and water-based contact adhesives for flexibility and ease of installation with common building materials. 

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