Building Membranes

Breather membranes from Proctor, Klober, Tyvec & Dupont. Used for external facades and internal insulation applications. Refine by Category or Color on the left hand side. Need expert advice? Call 020 3481 1978 or Live Chat - Free Delivery on orders over £300 - Read Our Guide


Building Membranes guide

Building membranes are used essentially to prevent moisture and condensation. They are damp proof protection for buildings and are used in roofs, walls, and floors. A building membrane is a thin layer, which provides water-resistance to roof and wall of a building. This layer is continuous, which ensures to stopping water to pass through the membrane. 

Under the umbrella of building membranes used in buildings, you will find different sorts of protections, such as breather membranes and vapor control layer. Those two products can sometimes lead to confusion as they both have the same objective, which is to avoid condensation and any resulting damage, but they are different in their application. 

In short, a vapor control layer is placed on the inner side of the insulation and will reduce the water transfer vapor from inside the building which otherwise could turn into condensation when warm moist air comes in contact with cold surface inside a building. Watch the video at the bottom of this page if you want a detailed explanation.

Vapour Control Layer


A breather membrane is placed on the outer side of the insulation to stop water from getting into the building while allowing vapor to get out. Thus keeping the inside of the building ventilated. It is water-resistant and forms a protective envelope for construction buildings. 

Ventilation has always been an important factor in every insulation structure, and breather membranes have brought a new solution for the construction industry. They are now increasingly used in external walls and roof construction. 

Building membranes are made of thin layers of waterproofing material, which is about 2-4 mm in thickness. Essentially, there are two types of membranes 1). Liquid applied membranes and 2). Sheet-based membranes. 

Preferably, a waterproofing membrane must be strong, tear-resistant, flexible, and elastic so that it easily stretches to cover cracks as well as move with the building. An exposed membrane to the sun must have the ability to protect itself from UV. In short, it must be UV stable. In addition, it should be flexible to adopt the shape of the surface it is laid over. It must also be capable of turning up over walls as well as other construction features. 


Liquid Applied Membranes

Liquid applied membranes usually come to the construction site in liquid form. You can either spray or apply it on the surface using a brush. The liquid cures in the air in order to form a joint-free and seamless membrane. You can control the thickness by applying more liquid per unit area. 

Because the application process is quick, a professional contractor usually tries to finish the entire area in a single day to overcome the problem of cold joints. Nonetheless, if the contractor wants to finish a large area on successive days, he can easily do it by overlapping the new membrane over the old one so that the chemical sticks to itself readily. 

Liquid applied membranes are considered superior to sheet-based membranes because they are joint-free. It is important to take care of the application for the provision of the right thickness. If it is too thin, it can break or tear easily. You must also take care of the membrane adhesion to concrete. 


Sheet Based Membranes

These membranes arrive at the construction site in the form of rolls. The contractor then unfurls and lay them on a solid surface. Bituminous is a common type of sheet-based membrane and is stuck to the substrate using a hot tar-based adhesive with the help of blowtorches. 

Moreover, the same hot adhesive is used to make joints between the adjacent membranes. The professionals then overlap the sheets by 100mm to form a waterproof joint. A professional, sometimes, join the membranes by melting them using a hot air gun. Next, the contractor overlaps them on the sheet that is laid previously. 

Joints between the sheets are critical with this type of membrane. So, your contractor must carry out the procedure accurately to avoid leakage. Composite and PVC membranes are other types of sheet-based membranes. Composite membranes have a fabric base, which provides tear-resistance and strength to the material. A chemical coat to the fabric also provides good resistance. 

While choosing building membranes, you need to consider a few factors such as UV stability, elongation, breathability, tear resistance, abrasion resistance, chemical stability, food safety, and geometry. 


Roofing membranes

Building membranes used in roofs are called roofing membranes and are used in both commercial and residential buildings. 

As mentioned above, one of the big issues with insulation is centered on getting the ventilation right and roof ventilation is essential to prevent condensation, particularly in a newly insulated loft. 

Traditional insulation systems were designed around the necessity to have a ventilated cavity to solve that issue. But in the last 20 years building membranes have provided a different approach to ventilation by introducing breathable membranes that allow moist air to escape while stopping water from entering the structure. 

Membrane roofing is best used on flat and pitched roofs. The purpose is to offer warmth and insulation as well as protect the building beneath. Also, membrane roofing is beneficial for moving water off the roof and prevent it from entering the house. Roofing membranes are commonly manufactured from modified bitumen, synthetic rubber, or a thermoplastic such as PVC. They are common in both residential and commercial buildings. 

Thermoplastic membranes: Also known as TPO membranes, they are usually bonded with solvents or heat and not welded to form a single membrane. The reason is to make the seam must stronger than the rest of the material on the roof. 

Synthetic rubber membranes: These consist of many synthetic rubber pieces, which are large and flat in structure. All pieces are welded together to create a single entity of equal strength throughout the roof. 


Advantages of Roofing Membranes

Membrane roofing is much superior to the conventional flat roofing methods of gravel, asphalt, and felt, which have shorter lifespans and quite difficult to seal properly. Also, the traditional roofing methods tend to leak within a couple of years and require regular maintenance. 

Additionally, if a leak occurs on asphalt or felt roof, it would not be easy to locate the exact point, which needs repairing. This results in costly damages to the building below. A roofing membrane is made of strong material, which can be installed completely seamless or with seams. A leak or break occurs rarely and even if it occurs, you can quickly pinpoint the source of damage and repair the spot. 

Asphalt needs gravel to limit UV degradation and sunlight. A roofing membrane is installed directly to a building, which does not only protect the roof or building from UV rays but is also lightweight in structure. 


Wall membranes

Wall membranes are also known as waterproof membranes or cavity wall membranes. A wall membrane is a damp wall solution, which is applied internally. It works to manage and control water ingress within gaps formed between the basement or cellar wall and cavity wall membranes. Then, the water is directed to a suitable sump pump or drainage system. 

It is easy to install wall membranes. You can easily maintain them as they are supported by 10-12 years waterproofing guarantee. In contrast to other forms of wall waterproofing, wall membranes are not prone to cracking when there is external hydrostatic pressure. 

Wall membranes are not affected by ground vibrations that come from nearby rail tracks or roads. If you want to turn your cellar or basement into an awesome space like other rooms in your house, it is important that you dry line or apply plaster directly on them. It is the best solution when it comes to the conversion of a domestic basement.  


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