Most resilient or maintainable air-sealing approach?
I'm in Austin TX, where the soils are expansive clay. This means that as the soils expand and contract with different moisture levels the foundation and walls move a fair amount. This is particularly true for wooden pier and beam construction but also for slab based construction.
I realize that one option is to attempt to control movement by "watering" the foundations and an advance version of that would be to monitor the water content and attempt to maintain it at a near constant level. This is costly, both in materials and in water (but might be advisable).
Regardless, all around town one constantly sees cracked dry-wall, suggesting that the air-tight drywall approach might not be appropriate in an area with much shifting. Of course taping sheathing, foam and taping house wrap etc also appears likely to suffer from movement, as does spray foam. I wonder if the liquid applied air-barriers are significantly more resilient to movement and shifting, given that they have some flexibility?
I wonder whether this question applies to new construction more generally, given the tendency of the construction lumber to dry out over the first few years?
A second, related (perhaps better) question would be: what air tightness approach is most maintainable? On that front the air-tight drywall seems better (although it is a finish and requires spackle, paint etc, it is at least accessible for maintenance). Are any air-tightness approaches more maintainable than air-tight dry-wall? Certainly spray foam seems unlikely to be maintainable, as do any approach that is "buried" in the wall.
Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 13:48
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