Home Innovations: Mold-Adverse Walls


Building Forward: This month we are focusing on innovations in home design and improvement.

Rethinking the role of insulation gave our research team some new ideas on how to inhibit mold growth

The first job of insulation is to regulate temperature, to keep your house from getting too hot or too cold, but insulation only works if there aren’t gaps and holes in the building envelope where air can escape. Over time building codes have worked to remove these gaps through tighter construction methods (which are great for energy efficiency). However, the consequence of restricting air flow has been growing concern over moisture build up. Not only does moisture reduce the thermal efficiency of your insulation it can also lead to harmful mold and rot.

Standard polyethylene sheeting (a plastic barrier commonly used in homes to cover unfaced insulation used in exterior walls), also known as poly, does a good job blocking moisture in the winter when humidity is low but it can’t adapt permeability during the summer when humidity is high to let moisture escape. This moisture gets trapped and can lead to mold and mildew growth inside the wall where it often goes undetected until there is a dangerous problem.

An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report found: Sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people. Similar links were found in healthy children. Make sure you build with proper moisture protection.

The best way for homeowners to control moisture build up from temperature changes as well as daily activities such as cooking, bathing, laundry and washing dishes is by keeping the home properly ventilated and the temperature regulated. While important, these efforts are not always enough to keep moisture from condensing in the walls and once the moisture is in there, it has nowhere to go.

That got the building scientists and R&D folks here thinking, what if we could control the build-up of moisture in the wall cavity by creating a way to let it out?

The results are fascinating.

Watch to see how CertainTeed’s innovative MemBrain™ allows moisture to escape, keeping your walls dry and helping to avoid mold growth from the start.

CertainTeed’s MoistureSense Technology was first used in MemBrain Smart Vapor Retarder but the team has since devised a way to use it in kraft-faced batts and soon-to-be released rolls.

Mold removal can be a complicated and expensive process, making prevention, by far, the better option.

Want to know if MoistureSense Technology is right for your home? Take our quick Insulation Selection quiz and we’ll give you recommendations based on your climate, comfort needs and energy concerns.

Ready to get started? You can now buy MemBrain on Amazon and have it delivered directly to your door for free!

Plus, interested in learning more about the science behind the building? Read up on the ongoing battle between air tightness and moisture control and why that new car smell is not necessarily a good thing.

And the next installment in our Innovations Series, Stacked Stone Fence, No Mason Required and metal roofs that look (uncannily) like tile, slate and shake.

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