When renovating an existing building or constructing a new build with a timber framework, timber frame breather membranes are incredibly useful, helping to protect the frame during construction but also keeping the building insulated and dry once finished.

Here at Insulation Superstore, we have a number of different timber frame breather membranes available from popular high-quality brands such as DuPont Tyvek and Novia.

But before we get there’ let’s take a closer look at what exactly a timber frame breather membrane is and how to install a breathable roof membrane.


Table of contents:


What is a breather membrane?

Breather membrane.

A breather membrane is a sheet of material that is installed to the outer side of insulation on both roofs and walls. It allows water vapour to pass through from the inside of the roof or walls, without requiring any ventilation to be installed directly above the insulation layer.

Additionally, breather membranes also prevents any form of water, whether it is moisture, surface water or rainwater, from entering the roof or interior space.


What is a timber frame breather membrane?

Breather membranes are commonly used on timber frame buildings to provide extra protection against weather conditions as well as moisture within the building. Timber frame breather membranes have been manufactured specifically for application onto timber frame buildings.

So, they are lighter and thinner than a normal breather membrane, allowing for easy installation vertically as well as horizontally, meaning that they are suitable for both walls and roofs.

What’s more:

Timber frame breather membranes are commonly used during the construction process to protect the building and the frame whilst construction occurs. They can be left uncovered for several months without any issues arising, making them the perfect covering whilst the rest of the construction process occurs.

Additionally, they help to seal the walls of the building, reducing heat loss, as they are installed on the outer side of the insulation, which creates an extra barrier and helps to save on annual bills and energy consumption.

Tyvek breather membranes fitted on houses.


How to fix a timber frame breather membrane

Overlaps

When fixing a timber frame breather membrane, it can be fitted horizontally or vertically, depending on whether it is being installed on the wall or the roof.

Regardless of the application of the timber frame breather membrane, there should always be an overlap between membranes.

At this point, you’re probably wondering:

How much should the roof membrane overlap?

Here’s the deal:

On wall applications the upper layers should overlap the lower layers by at least 100mm, on pitched roofs, ensure the overlaps are up to 200mm, and even up to 300mm around valleys and hips, to ensure that water falls away from the breather membrane.

This will not only help to protect the membrane from water but also protect the timber structure because if exposed to high levels of moisture, rot and degradation can occur which could have serious structural ramifications.

tyvek-firecurb

Fixings

When fixing the breather membrane to timber frames, it is recommended to use nails or staples – try to use galvanised stainless steel if possible. Fix the membrane at regular intervals to the timber frame to ensure stability and security.

Before stapling or nailing the timber frame breather membrane, it is important to mark where the timber frame is – this will help to ensure the fixings go into the frame securely. These marks will also help ensure that wall ties and battens are fixed securely later on in the construction process.


Final thoughts

DuPont Tyvek FireCurb Breather Membrane fitted on a house.

Fixing a timber frame breather membrane is a relatively straightforward process, but it requires attention to detail and careful handling to ensure proper installation.

While not overly complex, proper installation is crucial for ensuring effective moisture management and insulation in the timber frame construction.

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