What is a Vapour Barrier?
Last modified: 2018/07/13 | 2 mins
Basements and bathrooms are usually the dampest rooms in a house. Their maintenance can often be a challenge, but with a good level of insulation in the walls and floors, you will be able to keep the amount of humidity in these areas under control. Installing a vapour barrier can be a great way to solve humidity problems.
The role of a vapour barrier in a home
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has compared the different insulation components of a house to a wool sweater: “A wool sweater will keep you warm if the wind is not blowing and it is not raining. On a windy, rainy day, wearing a nylon shell over your wool sweater helps keep you reasonably dry and warm.
A house is similar. On the outside, underneath the brick or siding, there is an air barrier that does the same thing as the nylon — it keeps the wind from blowing through. Then there is the insulation (like your sweater) and a vapour barrier, which helps keep moisture away from the house's structure, where it can do damage.”
Installing a vapour barrier
The vapour barrier is a damp-proofing membrane, usually made from polyethylene. It should be placed throughout the wall before posing the gypsum board and on the interior face of the insulating material. Basically, it is placed between the insulating material and the drywall.
With this type of installation, humidity can’t go through the walls, therefore, it won’t damage your house. A vapour barrier can also be installed on the floor to further improve the room's resistance to humidity.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Santeri Viinamäki
Advantages of a house that is well insulated
Investing in your home's insulation can really improve your quality of life. Not only will it prevent mould and humidity, but it will also allow a better air flow in the house. Depending on the insulating material that is used, you could also end up saving up to 50% on your electricity bills. This means that a well-insulated house will ensure a comfortable indoor temperature all year round, both summer and winter.
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