If you're still not familiar with noted building scientist Joe Lstiburek and his work, this recent overview on wall assembly design and construction offers a great introduction to his core principles. In the article, which details more than a dozen different wall construction approaches, Lstiburek reminds us that effective wall assemblies consist of four principal control layers (in order of importance):

  • A water control layer or water control approach for rainwater
  • An air control layer or air control approach for air transported moisture
  • A vapor control layer or vapor control approach for vapor transported moisture
  • A thermal control layer or thermal control approach for thermal transfer

Says Lstiburek: "Wall assembly design and construction needs to consider rain, temperature, humidity as defined by the hygro-thermal regions, annual rainfall and the interior climate classes as environmental loads that affect mold, decay and corrosion as well as other degradation mechanisms. Design and construction needs to consider the exterior and interior environmental loads, the nature of the materials that comprise the environmental separation and the energy flow across the environmental separation. Wall assemblies should be designed and constructed for specific hygro-thermal regions, rain exposure zones, and interior climate classes."

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