Air & Vapor Barrier Membranes that are 3-in-1
Jill Heidorf RCI, CSI, WWYW
We live in a world of “More is Better.”
When did simple products like paint, toothpaste, detergent, or deodorant, start to have multi uses? Think about it, practically everything on the shelf now has a dual, triple or even higher purpose for our convenience. But you have to admit, you feel better when you buy a gallon of paint for the living room, and you don’t need to prime the walls first to cover the old color. And what about a detergent that fights stains, odors and safely whitens clothing, all in a squishy little pod. Wow, we have it good.
This innovation trend hasn’t escaped the Building Materials Industry. I’ve been in the business all my life, and I have marveled at how it has evolved. I remember when fluid-applied air barriers first hit the market. Before you knew it, the market became saturated with fluid membranes that were thin or thick mil, breathable or non-breathable, commercial or residential. It was confusing and a red-ocean market for anyone trying to sell an air barrier.
Well, my friend, Air Barriers are here to stay. They are the answer to the age-old problem of “How do I keep the outside air out and the inside air in?” Most products on the market are tested to ASTM standards for air and water leakage and puncture resistance. That makes sense, after all, they need to stay adhered and provide the function they are labeled for, “Air & Vapor Barrier.” But Mr. Air Barrier Maker what have you done for me lately? I mean, it is a great product, offering protection from outside air and vapor, but can’t it evolve into something greater? Where is my “multi-use” air barrier? Something that can keep all of it out; air, moisture, pests, nasty things that crawl and chew. If we can keep out all these things out, that would be a product that could revolutionize the industry.
Customers don’t just want waterproofing protection anymore; they want a product that can provide the added benefits of pest exclusion. Why should they accept that spiders, cockroaches, ants, mice, termites, (shall I continue?) be able to find ways into their structure if they have a decent Air & Vapor Barrier installed?
Air Barriers providing 3-in-1 benefits are going to be the next product innovation, and guess what? That product is already here. Customers are pretty educated; they are going to start asking if the Air & Vapor Barrier that their contractor specified has been tested to keep out pesky critters that can chew, bite or simply crawl their way inside.
More is better. It’s time to evolve my friend.