Tape in buildings? Isn’t that for covering over mistakes and bodging joints?
Tape has been historically used as a cover for poor workmanship, but it is now becoming a necessary tool for many modern building materials and designs. When you look at how buildings (inc refurbishments) manage to pass the regulations regarding airtightness and heat loss, they are becoming increasily reliant on tape to join together membranes and insulation boards.
On a recent visit to a leading Builders Merchants I was after some breather membrane and its associated tape. The customer service personnel were quite surprised that I asked for tape – “What for?” I explained and they said that they don’t keep that in stock due to no demand!! So it looks as though the specifications being used by architects etc is not being put into practice on the ground.
Taping is really important for board insulation and membranes to work properly, otherwise you get thermal bridging as air passes around the boards or between the membranes. This means that your house / extension will not be performing as specified and you will be losing heat / potentially allowing water ingress etc. Taping is therefore essential and you should check at regular intervals to make sure that it is being used as specified / required.
However, just to add an extra bit of spice into the equation. How many people open up their walls / floors / roofs to check to see if the tape is still intact and holding? I would guess absolutely none. So how do you know that the tape used is still doing its job, especially in areas where it is subjected to extreme temperatures and pressures (notably in roof constructions)? Apart from re-testing airtightness at home, the best way of ensuring that the building continues to perform as designed is to use a good quality tape to start with.
Good quality tape is not widely available. So most builders will use whatever they can get. At Eco Home Centre we would recommend using tapes from those companies who are building Passiv Haus type homes. So ProClima, IsoChemie etc. We have some ProClima Tescon #1 tape in stock if needed. However the important thing is to be aware that taping is now an integral part of achieving modern building regulations and that a little investmest in reliable tape will go a heck of a long way to ensuring on-going comfort in your home.