IR photos show differences in air barrier systems

Especially true if that picture is the result of infrared photography (IR).

IR technology identifies areas of temperature difference between target images. In buildings, these differences can indicate:

  • Areas lacking insulation;
  • The presence of elevated moisture in the building envelope;
  • Air leakage through the wall assembly due to lack of connection details; or
  • Performance issues with the installed air barrier membrane.

Last winter, Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing hired a third-party IR consultant to evaluate three Denver-area buildings to determine what performance differences exist in buildings using thin-mil air barrier systems as opposed to those with thicker air barrier systems.

The report, available here, concludes that IR technology cannot clearly identify root causes of building performance issues unless tests are performed while the wall assembly is being constructed. It is, however, a valuable tool that can point to areas where failure may occur, as well as confirm to owners and other stake holders that the building is performing per design.

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