I have been working in the skilled trades since I was 14 years old. When...
Making It Right – and Airtight
By Mike Holmes
Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 @ 11:18am
As a contractor, I’m always looking for new technology that builds a better home. I love anything that increases the energy efficiency, comfort, and health of your home. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll have heard this before, but I always say, if you want to really address energy efficiency in your home – you start with the building envelope.
What is the building envelope? It’s everything that separates and protects the interior environment from the exterior environment. Upgrades you make to your building envelope tend to make your home more energy efficient, keep moisture out, and most importantly, protect the entire structure.
The Building Envelope and Energy Efficiency
It makes sense. If leaks around your windows or in your walls are letting outside air come into your house, it will take a lot more energy to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
It makes sense.
If leaks around your windows or in your walls are letting outside air come into your house, it will take a lot more energy to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Did You Know?
If you find yourself having leaks around your windows or in your walls, these leaks are providing an easy way for pollen, dirt and other air-borne contaminants to get inside your home, potentially threatening the health of your family.
A tight building envelope is critical to both the energy efficiency and health of your home.
Making Your Home Leak-Free
The problem is that creating a sufficiently tight building envelope is no easy task. Today, builders use a variety of products over the course of the building process to make your home as leak-free as possible. There’s caulking and foam that goes around the windows, insulation for inside of the walls, spray foams for the ceiling and under floor spaces – all of which are manually applied. And this means they are only as good as the workmanship that applied them.
We always strive to build a home that is healthy and structurally sound. But despite our best efforts, there is bound to be air leakage. If you’ve been watching Holmes and Holmes season 2, you may have noticed that we used a new technique you may not have seen on our shows before.
The Suburban house from Holmes and Holmes is an older home, which means there is more air leakage. And that’s why it made sense to use this technology. We also tested the home after using this technology to prove that we managed to seal the home.
Sealing the Home
Enter AeroBarrier. I came across this technology when sourcing new and innovative materials for the Suburban house on Holmes and Holmes. It was developed by scientists at the University of California, who were dedicated to find more effective ways to seal the building envelope.
They’ve come up with an ingenious, single-step, computer-controlled procedure that can quickly seal an entire home tighter than the most stringent industry standards. Called AeroBarrier, the new technology comes in the form of an aerosol applied sealant that is self-guided and automatically seeks out leaks in the building envelope and seals them – wherever they exists.
Typically applied once the structure can be pressurized – either before insulation or after drywall is hung – the AeroBarrier sealant is delivered through several aerosol emitters that are distributed throughout the house. With windows closed and doors shut, the house is pressurized so that the sealant coming out of the nozzles is driven towards the leaks. Here they accumulate around the holes and cracks, forming a bond that seals the leaks.
The Sealing Process
The entire AeroBarrier process usually takes just a few hours to complete from start to finish. Once the nozzles are in place and the structure is pressurized, the computer does the rest. The progress of the sealing process can be monitored in real-time and a printout certificate of completion showing the results is generated at the conclusion of the job.
Imagine: one step, one product, one application and done. This is revolutionary for builders who dedicate numerous workers over the course of the building schedule to have the work done manually. It means getting incredibly tight results at a fraction of the time and cost of manually sealing – all with results that are guaranteed and can be seen while the sealant is being applied. For homeowners, it means a healthier, more comfortable, and energy efficient home without the premium price.
My crew and I are always on the lookout for innovations that we think will have a positive impact on the way we build and the way we live. If you are a builder, I recommend looking into this aerosol-spray approach to envelope sealing. It’s a real game changer and we’re excited to be one of the first to share it with you.