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Interior vapor retarder, black in color

joenorm | Posted in General Questions on

Does anyone know of a “smart” type vapor retarder for interior use that is black in color.

In the past I have applied rough cut boards to walls without tongue or groove and used tar paper as a backing so the small, inconsistent spaces at the seems are just black.

I am thinking about doing this again but looking for an alternative to tar paper. Something I can seal nicely as an air barrier.


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  1. Expert Member
    Akos | | #1

    There are some commercial exterior wrbs that might work. Generallly they are not cheap. As long as it it zero VOC and doesn't smell bad, should be fine for interior.

    Might be easier to go with a layer of OSB painted black with taped seams ( black tape is easier to find).

  2. GBA Editor
    Brian Pontolilo | | #2

    Hi Joe.

    I've installed paneling like that on partition walls with nothing behind the paneling. If the gap is around 1/8 inch, you can't see into the wall. All you see is a dark shadow. A bigger gap may need something behind it.

    If I were doing it on exterior walls, I'd still finish the wall with the appropriate vapor retarder and drywall for a number of reasons. But, I'd save a little time by only putting one coat of mud on the drywall tape, which is satisfactory for air sealing and because the entire wall will probably need a skim coat if the paneling is taken down in the future.

  3. john_prospect | | #3

    Although it is not "smart", we can buy the usual poly vapor barrier in black in our area. That would work for an air-barrier if sealed well.

  4. conwaynh85 | | #4

    I think the climate zone and existing wall materials matters here before recommending an alternative. But I have not seen a black smart vapor retarder. Good luck.

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