0 Helpful?

Anyone use Dennyfoil to block fumes from a renovation?

A Contractor is renovating two walls in my apartment near the windows. I’m very chemically sensitive. one suggestion is to place dennyfoil on the wall to block the fumes from coming into my apartment.

Has anyone used it successfully for this purpose and have any suggestions
On how to reduce the risk of mold growing. One person suggested applying the foil tightly to the wall using tape. To not use the air conditioning. And to consider getting a dehumidifier when it’s humid in my apartment.

She also recommended I consult with a building science expert. Any advice or feedback?

Is it realistic to use this for this purpose short term, versus long-term. it would have to stay on the walls to continue to block the fumes in order for me to live in the apartment


Asked by daisy63
Posted Jun 5, 2018 1:14 PM ET
Edited Jun 5, 2018 1:43 PM ET


10 Answers

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

The use of foil vapor barriers in a wall would be effective in blocking gases of all types from passing through it, but the wall's material stackup needs to be assessed relative the local climate to see if installing a vapor barrier would cause a problem.

Answered by Dana Dorsett
Posted Jun 5, 2018 1:18 PM ET


Q. "One suggestion is to place Dennyfoil on the wall to block the fumes from coming into my apartment. Has anyone used it successfully for this purpose?"

A. I have never heard of Dennyfoil, so I did some Googling. It turns out that Dennyfoil is the brand name for an aluminum radiant barrier / vapor barrier. Here is a link to a relevant page: Dennyfoil.

I have no idea what your plan is. Do you intend to attach this aluminum foil to the exterior side of the wall, or the interior side of the wall? If you want to keep fumes out of your house, you would need to install the foil in an airtight manner, which would require the foil to be attached with all seams taped with compatible tape. I can't visualize this as a sensible solution. For one thing, the aluminum foil is fragile. For another thing, it can trap moisture in the wall and lead to mold growth or rot.

Q. "On how to reduce the risk of mold growing: One person suggested applying the foil tightly to the wall using tape [and] to not use the air conditioning. And to consider getting a dehumidifier when it’s humid in my apartment."

A. Again, we need to know whether you plan to install it on the interior or the exterior side of the wall. In either case, it sounds totally impractical. My guess is that you want a solution that allows you to continue to use your air conditioner.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jun 5, 2018 1:40 PM ET


Why do you think that the planned renovations will reduce dangerous fumes? What fumes are you worried about?

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jun 5, 2018 1:42 PM ET


Thanks for responding. After they finish renovating two walls in my apartment-they’re replacing brackets and insulation in the wall and then they close up the wall, re plaster and paint, then when things are dry they would apply the dennyfoil to the interior wall in my bedroom and living room.

I checked out one apartment where they did the work and I have bad reactions to the outgassing of these renovation materials that were used for the wall work. I have severe chemical sensitivity.

I think it’s just a short term Band-Aid until I can find more suitable housing, and not a long-term fix for me to live there.

I didn’t say because of fatigue, that I used dennyfoil before. Maintenance applied it very loosely around the window frame and the wall below frame where they used caulk that I was reacting to. It Also was applied underneath the exhaust vent for my heat/air conditioning. I don’t think it was applied very tightly to the wall. I read on some forum that one person who used it, said if it wasn’t applied tightly that there’s less risk of mold growth. It was on for about a year. The problem that I saw was that mold grew on the wall underneath exhaust vent. So I assume that using the air conditioning was a reason mold grew?

I wondered if mold could grow within the wall and it wouldn’t be visible because of you using dennyfoil? Is it possible to talk to anyone at Green building advisor directly regarding this project? I have chronic fatigue, so I have a hard time formulating what I need to say to get help online.

I need to inform people what experts say Who are more knowledgeable. I don’t think that this is a long-term solution and that I would need housing very soon that is safer, with no recent renovations.


Answered by daisy63
Posted Jun 5, 2018 3:03 PM ET


Daisy, since I advised you to ask here I'll chime in. Not everyone at GBA is sensitive to chemical sensitivity, but I think your core question can be boiled down to this: In what situations would a temporary interior vapor barrier be safe or unsafe regarding mold growth within a wall assembly. If you tape thick foil to the wall I don't believe significant VOC's (volatile organic compounds) would get through, but it would need to be very tightly taped with a high-quality tape, and will probably peel paint off when removed.

What you had asked me was if the foil would cause mold growth in the wall. For that we would need to know what is the wall assembly, where are you located, do you need to use air conditioning, and how long does the foil need to be on the walls.

Answered by Michael Maines
Posted Jun 5, 2018 6:12 PM ET
Edited Jun 5, 2018 8:56 PM ET.



It sounds like you need a temporary fix that will hold until you move. It may not be possible to prevent all the chemical odors using any practical method. But if I were you, I would ask the contractor to install painter’s plastic over the partition wall (taped at the perimeter). If the weather was nice, I would put a box fan in a window and use it to ventilate and slightly over pressurize the apartment.

Answered by Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia
Posted Jun 5, 2018 8:01 PM ET


Now that you've provided more of a description, I'll sum up. Tell me if I got this right.

1. The renovation work is occurring indoors, not outdoors.

2. The contractor will be installing gypsum drywall, drywall mud, and interior paint on the wall. You are sensitive to these fumes.

3. You want to cover the interior wall with aluminum foil after the painting work is complete.

Here's my reaction to the plan: Attaching aluminum foil to a recently painted wall with tape will probably damage the paint job, because of all the necessary tape. It might be easier just to tell the contractor to skip the paint. Of course, you might be sensitive to drywall compound (mud), so that wouldn't necessarily solve the problem.

Even if the aluminum foil is installed with attention to airtightness, I doubt if you could do an airtight job, and smells might still be detectable. And as I pointed out earlier, the foil might get damaged.

Is it possible for you to leave the window open for a few days after the work is complete -- perhaps with a fan in the window to encourage ventilation -- while you sleep at a friend's house?

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jun 6, 2018 5:51 AM ET


Thanks for the responses! I’ll have to get back to you soon regarding the questions asked of me. I did speak to Foust regarding usage of dennyfoil. I purchased the foil from this company

Answered by daisy63
Posted Jun 6, 2018 4:28 PM ET


Hi, Would you say that Overlaping dennyfoil sheets about 3 inches so no gaps between 2 sheets would be sufficient?
How many inches would you tell workmen to overlap 2 dennyfoil sheets when applying to wall.

I have concerns that there’s no gaps far outgassing to seap through since I am very chemically sensitive.

I have to ask the manager about the wall assembly. And someone else suggested I ask If an exterior vapour barrier is on the exterior wall. And I’ll fu with all answers to questions asked last week.

Thanks for all your help and suggestions!

Answered by daisy63
Posted Jun 12, 2018 2:55 PM ET


Honestly, I don't think your project is a good idea. But from an air sealing standpoint, you don't need 3 inches of overlap. You only need 1/2 inch or 1 inch of overlap, as long as you are taping the seams.

The integrity of this new air barrier will only last until someone bumps against the aluminum foil and leaves a hole or tear. I suppose you can buy an extra roll of aluminum tape, so you are ready to repair any damage.

It's hard to predict whether this aluminum foil layer will cause moisture or mold problems. Suffice it to say that the foil-covered assembly will be safer in cold weather (when your heating system is operating) than in hot, humid weather (when your air conditioner is operating). In some climate zones, you might end up with a layer of mold behind the aluminum foil if your air conditioning season lasts a long time.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jun 12, 2018 3:04 PM ET

Other Questions in Green products and materials

Plumbing too close to edge of slab

In Project management | Asked by Hugh Stearns | Jun 18, 18

Do I need an HRV/ERV for a house built in 1947?

In Mechanicals | Asked by Will82 | Jun 14, 18

Building code requirements for stacked window headers, bracing, and stucco over foam

In Building Code Questions | Asked by Zane Bridgers | Jun 17, 18

Brick house insulation

In Green building techniques | Asked by Sebastian Smith | Dec 29, 17

HVAC duct size versus grille size

In Mechanicals | Asked by Richt1022 | Jun 18, 18
Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!