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Syracuse Roofing: Article About Vapor Barriers

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Vapor barriers, sometimes referred to as diffusion retarders, work to help protect the roof's interior side from exposure to moisture, condensation and high humidity levels. Too much moisture causes wood to warp, weaken and rot, leading to structural problems and untimely failure of the roofing system. While polyethylene sheeting is the most commonly used type of barrier, an alternative that homeowners might consider is a liquid barrier. Experienced Syracuse roofing experts can install these barriers to protect the roof's sheathing, trusses and rafters from unwelcome moisture intrusion.

Today's newest liquid vapor diffusion retarders offer a zero VOC rating. This environmentally friendly option helps to protect the home's residents against fumes that could cause breathing problems. In the past, liquid barriers applied to the roof could send odors into the house through the ventilation system or by diffusion into the attic space and then through the attic's hatch door, where they would breach the home's living areas.

Liquid epoxy moisture barriers are made from an epoxy, which is liquid when sealed, but begins to cure and solidify when exposed to air. The curing time for the waterproof sealant is 12 to 24 hours, depending on the weather conditions.

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Whenever possible, the roofers will initiate the project during a period of dry weather. If rain is forecast, the crew can place plastic tarps over the exposed roof to protect against damage until the epoxy is finished drying. Because the liquid goes on like paint, it is able to penetrate into the wood's pores and expand slightly to fill all the tiny natural voids in the roof's sheathing. This ensures full coverage and excellent protection. Plastic sheathing can wrinkle and tear, resulting in coverage gaps where there is no waterproofing material protecting the roofing.

Liquid vapor barriers have a humidity transmission rate of less than one percent. Plastic sheeting barriers may transmit five percent or more of the available humidity and they can actually worsen the situation if incorrectly installed. Improperly placed plastic vapor barriers may trap condensation against the roof's decking or fiberglass insulation. Most of these products can also be applied to the other parts of a home's wooden framing, such as dormer extensions, perimeter walls and concrete block foundations for a thorough waterproofing system.

The liquid barrier can be applied when a house is built or it can be retrofit during a remodeling or re-roofing project. The roof can be insulated as usual with sprayed foam, fiberglass, loose fill or blown in cellulose as desired by the homeowner.

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