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March 28 - April 3, 2011

In a northern climate with extreme winters, is it reasonable to consider retrofitting an air barrier to a multi-unit brick apartment building? What sort of installation strategy would be most beneficial?

Selected Answers

From Kent Hendrickson of HendricksonHouse on October 26, 2011:
     Due to the interior configurations and accessibility to outside walls and assuming we have occupants, I beleive the outside of the building would be a more approproiate place to start.

From Michael Pace of Building resource inc on March 28, 2011:
It is reasonable to retrofit any building with an air barrier, especially buildings that consume a lot of energy to operate. There are many options depending mostly on which side of the wall is most easily accessed. If the interior is due for a renovation then it is possible to retrofit an air barrier by installing a closed-cell spray foam between interior studs of exterior walls. If the building exterior is in need of updating or if it has durablility issues, it is possible to add an air barrier, which will also act as a vapor barrier in some cases, to the exterior of the existing wall. This would then recive insulation and a rainscreen cladding system. the insulation could be closed-cell foam, which will act as the air and vapor barrier as well as insulation. It could also be a noncombustible insulation like mineral fiber or fibreglass. If this tpye of insulation is used it will need a separate air/vapur barrier behind it. The ideal is to install your air barrier on the outside of the building as it is easier to maintain the continuity that is critical to its performance.

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Tagged categories: Air barriers; Building Envelope

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