Integrating continuous insulation with traditional building methods is much easier than it sounds. Take tar paper for example. Tar paper is historically the most common water resistive barrier (WRB) for residential construction.
A labor cost effective option with certain products is to use continuous insulation as its own WRB, by taping all seams and overlapping the insulation boards over the flashing.
Today CI is virtually required in commercial construction. But residential walls, typically framed with wood, not steel, have less of an issue with thermal bridging. So is the use of CI on these types of structures worth it? Absolutely!
Most cavity insulation products are very effective at minimizing sound transmission. Therefore, use continuous insulation to keep warm and insulate the cavities to reduce noise!
Humans aren’t good “talking” thermometers, because we “feel” thermal conductivity. Want proof? As my college physics prof often told us, you’d rather the outhouse had a wood seat than a porcelain one on a cold night (even though they’re the same temperature)!
Picture this: you’ve been tagged to design the building envelope for the next national institution. Maybe it’s an addition to the Smithsonian, or a presidential library. In any case, you are building for posterity, and this thing has got to last. What do you do?
The challenges are great for building envelopes, which must keep the water, air, vapor, and heat of the surroundings from affecting the interior space. But despite all the possible combinations of climate to be found in North America, there is one basic design that works from sea to shining sea.
Water, air, and vapor are harder to quantify than heat which is why the code spends less time discussing them. But if your wall fails to control them, all the insulation in the world won’t help.
Sometimes called the “perfect wall,” this design puts all the control layers (for temperature, moisture, air, and water vapor) on the outside of the wall, thereby protecting the structure. The only variable for this design is the thickness of the exterior continuous insulation.
Designing a resilient building envelope can seem intimidating, especially with all the building and energy code requirements. And while there is no getting around the complexity of the interactions between a building’s interior, its walls, and the surrounding environment, things make more sense when you take the time to look at the fundamental physics at work.