Video: A Reliably Perfect Wall Anywhere
One reason for the complexity of the International Building Code is the complexity of the building environment. From Key West, Florida, to Bangor, Maine, to Seattle, Washington, to San Diego, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada, and everywhere in between, there is a wide diversity of seismic activity, wind speed, and climate that buildings must bear up under. 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.
Sometimes called the perfect wall, this design sandwiches all four control layers (water resistive barrier, air barrier, vapor retarder, and thermal insulation) between the wall’s cladding and framing. No insulation is placed in the wall cavity between framing members. The cladding protects the control layers from UV, wind, and precipitation, while the control layers protect the structure of the building from temperature fluctuations and moisture. The only variable based on location is the amount of insulation needed. To learn more about why this design is so effective, take a look at these resources, and more available at continuousinsulation.org.
Also worth watching is the following video, part of a series where Joe Lstiburek gives a broad outline of the ‘perfect wall’ concept:
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