Air Barrier

Air and Vapor Barriers and Retarders
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Air Barrier

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About Air Barrier

  • Limits uncontrolled air leakage into and out of metal buildings
  • Can also act as a barrier against water vapor and pollutants
  • Installed to meet code requirements
  • Creates an energy efficient building envelope
  • Can be located on interior, exterior, or somewhere in the assembly
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Benefits
Common Questions

About Air Barriers for Metal Buildings

Air barriers are designed to keep air from entering or exiting a metal building. Air barrier systems often also protect from water vapor and pollutants.

What Is an Air Barrier?

At its most basic level, an air barrier is a material installed to limit uncontrolled air leakage into and out of a metal building envelope. Some air barriers keep not only air but also vapor and water out. Installing an air barrier improves energy efficiency because heated and cooled air is not lost.

Basics of Air Leakage in Metal Buildings

In metal buildings, air leakage or air infiltration can be caused by wind, stack effect, and mechanical equipment. When air leakage occurs, a metal building becomes less energy efficient. Infiltration of warm, moist air into a cooler metal building can result in condensation and, in turn, moisture damage.

Meeting Building Code and Compliance Requirements

Air barriers are required as part of ASHRAE 90.1, ASHRAE 189.1, and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). All of these codes require seams, penetrations, and transitions between materials be sealed as part of an air barrier system. In order to comply with the Air Barrier Standard, metal buildings can have air barriers installed using assembly, whole building, or material compliance options.

Air Barrier Supplies Near You

Your local Service Partners branch can recommend the right air barriers for your metal building projects. With over 75 locations throughout the country, we make it easy to get the air barriers you need with same day pickup and next day delivery. Contact your local branch today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does an air barrier do?
Air barriers prevent air from entering or exiting a building envelope. Specifically, they prevent air leakage in metal building floors, ceilings, roofs, and walls. With air leakage, metal buildings become less energy efficient and become susceptible to damage from moisture and condensation.
What is the difference between air barriers and vapor barriers?
Air barriers refer to materials designed to prevent air leakage while vapor barriers refer to materials designed to keep vapor and moisture out of buildings. Some vapor retarders are also air barriers because they can keep air, vapor, and water out of metal buildings. Other air barrier materials only prevent air leakage but not moisture.
Are air barriers required by code?
Yes, air barriers are required by code as part of ASHRAE 90.1 and the IECC. ASHRAE 90.1 includes an air barrier requirement for non-residential buildings. IECC has air barrier requirements for conditioned spaces. Air barrier compliance options include the Material Compliance Option, the Assembly Compliance Option, and the Whole Building Compliance Option.

Air Barriers for Metal Buildings Benefits

Install air barriers in your metal buildings to stop air leakage, improve energy efficiency, and comply with code requirements.

Stop Air Leakage

Air barriers resist differences in air pressure in metal buildings. Air leakage often occurs from wind, stack effect, and mechanical equipment. Air barriers prevent outdoor air from entering the building envelope and prevent indoor air from escaping. Installing an air barrier makes a metal building more energy efficient.

Code Compliance

Modern building codes now require air barriers. In order to comply with ASHRAE 90.1 and the IECC, you must install air barriers and seal seams in your metal buildings. Service Partners can help you choose the right air barrier materials in order to comply with the building code requirements and keep your metal building construction project moving forward.

Cost Effective

Metal buildings with air barriers perform better through air, heat, and overall structural performance. Air barriers are cost effective because they improve building efficiency. Air barriers provide indoor comfort while improving the longevity of a metal building and its contents. Service Partners can help you choose the right air barrier for your geography and climate.

Common Air Barriers for Metal Buildings Questions

Have questions about air barriers for metal buildings? Service Partners can help. Contact us if your question isn’t answered below.

What does an air barrier do?

Air barriers prevent air from entering or exiting a building envelope. Specifically, they prevent air leakage in metal building floors, ceilings, roofs, and walls. With air leakage, metal buildings become less energy efficient and become susceptible to damage from moisture and condensation.

What is the difference between air barriers and vapor barriers?

Air barriers refer to materials designed to prevent air leakage while vapor barriers refer to materials designed to keep vapor and moisture out of buildings. Some vapor retarders are also air barriers because they can keep air, vapor, and water out of metal buildings. Other air barrier materials only prevent air leakage but not moisture.

Are air barriers required by code?

Yes, air barriers are required by code as part of ASHRAE 90.1 and the IECC. ASHRAE 90.1 includes an air barrier requirement for non-residential buildings. IECC has air barrier requirements for conditioned spaces. Air barrier compliance options include the Material Compliance Option, the Assembly Compliance Option, and the Whole Building Compliance Option.

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