RDH Technical Bulletin No. 004: Excessive Use of Self-Adhesive Membranes in Standard Wood Frame Construction

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This RDH Technical Bulletin covers the use of self-adhesive membranes in wood frame buildings, noting what is deemed as excessive and the outcomes.

Many changes have been introduced to the construction of building enclosures in an attempt to reduce the extent and severity of water penetration problems. One of these innovations is the more prevalent use of self-adhesive bituminous membranes as a protected flashing material at interface and penetration details. As with any innovation, there is a need to be wary of unintended impacts of this change. With the focus clearly on keeping water out of the wall once in service, there can be a lack of recognition of the reduction of drying capability that is inherent in using a vapor-impermeable membrane within a wood frame wall that is intended to otherwise dry to the exterior. In addition, the focus on exterior moisture (rain penetration) fails to acknowledge that a variety of moisture sources can exist and potentially contribute to an unanticipated moisture problem.

This bulletin applies to wood-frame wall assemblies designed with interior vapor control membranes and relatively permeable water-resistive membranes as applicable to mixed and cold climates.

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How to reference this bulletin:

Excessive Use of Self-Adhesive Membranes in Standard Wood Frame Construction, RDH Technical Bulletin No. 004. RDH Building Science Inc., August 2010. https://learnbuildingscience.com/products/rdh-bulletin-excessive-use-of-self-adhesive-membranes-in-standard-wood-frame-construction.