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The critical importance of sealing the roof

One of the most critical factors required to maximize the energy efficiency of a roof, is to ensure that it is sealed on both the internal and external sides.

In order to achieve this, the overlapping of the external breather membrane can be sealed, most critically at the eaves and gable ends. Solitex PLUS, from pro clima is a Diffusion-Open Breather Membrane, suitable for all roofing requirements, ventilated, non-ventilated,warm and cold roofs.

This product has experienced a huge penetration in the breather membrane market over the past 7 years, has recently been rewarded upgraded IAB Certification and Certification from BBA. According to Ecological Building Systems, they are delighted to receive BBA Certification and revised IAB Certificate for solitexPLUS Roofing Membrane.

“This new certification finally classifies solitexPLUS as a Vapour Permeable Membrane for use in all pitched roof applications. It must be clearly stated that since the launch of SolitexPLUS on the Irish market the product has not altered and has from inception fallen into this category,” they say. “Since we launched solitexPLUS to the market,we have spent a considerable amount of time and patience educating Agremént Boards, in Ireland and in the UK as to the unique characteristics of the product. The challenge faced by all manufacturers, of many products, is the frustration experienced in bringing modern product to the market and having to deal with outdated standards.

“Our customers can be assured that during the certification process that the product was tested way above the standard necessary and as it always has done, it exceeded all expectations, qualifying SolitexPLUS as one of the superior breathable membranes on today’s market,” adds Tom Barbour,Managing Director, Ecological Building Systems

PREMIUM PRODUCT

solitex PLUS is part of the pro clima Diffusion Open Airtightness System which is the most advanced airtight system in the world, in that it uses intelligent membranes and vapour checks (INTELLOplus), which are diffusion-open.

Other airtight systems use Vapour Barriers which mean that inherent moisture trapped within the structure during construction, (due to climatic conditions or wet trades for example), remains there, as it cannot be released back into the atmosphere, through a vapour barrier, as barriers do not breathe. Because this moisture can only remain within the structure it does untold damage over time, causing mould, rot, damp, and condensation.

It sometimes only takes 5-15 years for the fabric of the structure to be undermined which is not only bad for the health of the inhabitants but it also necessitates costly repairs.

ADVANCED CLOSED CELL TECHNOLOGY

‘When you use solitexPLUS and INTELLOplus, this moisture does not remain trapped, as the intelligent, advanced closed cell technology, uniquely designed and manufactured into solitexPLUS, ensures that this moisture is released back out into the atmosphere even after the structure is sealed and complete.

This, in turn, ensures that there is NO moisture damage caused to the fabric of the building and you can say goodbye to mould, rot, damp and condensation, features that are sadly far too acceptable in Irish homes, causing costly damage to the home while also undermining the health of its inhabitants’,” says Niall Crosson, Technical Engineer, Ecological Building Systems Closed Cell Technology ensures that soltexPLUS is the best allrounder on the market, as it has the best combination of extreme water resistance (vapour permeability), high breathability and outstanding physical strength.

Unlike conventional breather membranes which use a micro-porous membrane, solitexPLUS Breather Membrane, employs a closed cell vapour permeable membrane which provides a combination of key benefits:

  • Totally resistant to all wood preservatives, wood treatments or natural wood resins
  • Totally resistant to wind driven pelting rain
  • Totally resistant to chain saw oils or on site chemicals
  • Extremely Nail-Tear resistant >300n
  • Extremely Water-Tight >2500mm

As the breather membrane is the second line of defence for the roof, it is absolutely essential that it provides optimum resistance to wind driven rain, which we are accustomed to in Ireland, as well as minimizing condensation risk.

This performance is guaranteed not just under laboratory conditions, but particularly under conditions typically found on construction sites where roofing membranes need to provide durable protection against intruding dampness. The weather-tightness of micro-porous membranes is dependent on the surface tension of water.

Where the surface tension is reduced due to conditions typically found on construction sites, this may reduce the water resistance of the membrane and hence moisture may penetrate the porous membrane. solitexPLUS employs Closed Cell Technology in response to this challenge. Closed cell membranes offer optimal weather tightness and at the same time, ensure that a significant volume of water vapour is actively removed from the building structure and diffused to the exterior.

The combination of these two properties is the determining factor when it comes to quality and the safety of the roof construction. This is of great advantage in a climate with driving rain conditions typically found in the UK. solitexPLUS can and is used independently of the whole pro clima Airtight System itself, as a premium quality breather membrane. According to Ecological Building Systems, solitexPLUS is the UK’s Number One Breather Membrane, marketed and sold as the next generation of breather membranes.

It has many features that are unique to it, which are beneficial to the Architect who specs it, the engineer who approves it, the contractor who install it and the owner who lives in the home. Essential to the success of solitexPLUS is the fact that it is NOT microporous. Another unique component of solitexPLUS is the 4 ply membranes used in the production of the closed cell structure gives:

  • Total Water Resistance 
  • Full breathability
  • In particular there is NO TENTING
  • It is an extremely physically strong membrane, making it very easy to work with, as it does not tear if you walk on it, it is also non-slip
  • It has NO reaction to chemicals,wood preservatives or detergents
  • It is totally watertight, giving you full protection from the rain and wind  

It also offers protection against interstitial condensation that is caused by condensation in the structure Moisture can become trapped within structures due to climatic conditions or high-incorporated moisture in the construction. In order to deal with this moisture, protect the long-term viability of the structure and ensure a maximum low-energy roof, the roof must be sealed correctly on the outside with solitexPLUS Breather Membrane and then on the inside with INTELLOplus Vapour Check.

INTELLOplus gives structural systems a previously unachievable degree of protection from structural damage and optimum protection from structural damage, even under extreme external climatic conditions. Because it is humidity-variable INTELLOplus also provides previously unachievable protection in comparison to conventional vapour barriers such as PE Films. INTELLO possesses the world’s best and most effective variable diffusion resistance under any climatic conditions, providing optimum protection for all thermal insulation systems in roofs,walls, & floors.

In winter, INTELLO’s high diffusion resistance provides ideal protection for the building’s structure against condensation, while in summer the low diffusion resistance facilitates rapid drying. As it is translucent, it easy to install, fully recyclable & emits no toxic gases when burned. It also offers an ideal solution to structures that are difficult to protect against condensation i.e. flat roofs, grass roofs, flexible metal sheeting, etc. In addition, INTELLOplus provides lasting protection from mould growth, which protects the health of the occupants.

HIGH PERFORMANCE SEALING

As the seal itself, ensures that both the internal and external membranes can work to the maximum of their ability, especially if a low energy roof is required, it is then essential to ensure that they are sealed with high performance, long-life, durable sealing accessories. pro clima provide a range of sealing accessories and high performance tapes, which are particularly important to use in the exposed areas of the roof, along the eaves and at the gables, most especially if the roof itself has a low pitch. On the external side of a low-energy roof, the overlapping of the membrane can be sealed using Tescon No1 or BudaxTop.

These tapes have been specially designed to seal the overlaps, service penetrations, eaves and can also be used for patching.The tapes themselves are flexible and have high-elasticity which ensure a durable and more flexible seal and are easy to apply to any construction detail that may need sealing. On the internal side it is very important to seal the airtight layer, (INTELLOplus Moisture Variable Vapour Check), in order to minimize heat loss, air infiltration and any risk of condensation.

Sealing your building, especially a roof as heat rises, also has major benefits when it comes to saving on energy-in-use, especially for heating, in the home. A properly airtight structure can save up to 60% of the cost of energy in-use in the home.

About The Author

By Niall Crosson (MEng Sc, BTech, MIEI) Technical Engineer

– Ecological Building Systems

Mail: niallcrosson@maccannandbyrne.ie

Tel: +353 (046) – 9432104 Fax: +353 (046) – 9432435

www.ecologicalbuildingsystems.com

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