Nov 4, 2021

Little time?  No worries!  Industry buzzwords unlocked in no time at all.  This week we answer ’What the Heck is… Breathability?’


Breathability is a material property and indicates the extent to which the material is able to transmit moisture. It’s water vapour transmission rate.

So it has nothing to do with air?

Correct.  Air leakage is the uncontrolled movement of draughts through joints and gaps. Breathability is concerned with water in its gas form.

What’s the problem with moisture?

Water vapour itself may not be harmful but over time, the moisture build-up can lead to significant deterioration of building fabric, development of mould, growth, infestation, or other forms of decay.

So what do Breathable materials do?

Sufficiently permeable, they enable absorbed and surface moisture to evaporate during ambient drying conditions.

What are the qualities of a breathable material?

To be breathable material has to have the ability to:

  • Allow vapour pass-through
  • Absorb moisture
  • Release absorbed water through its pores/capillaries or by molecular transfer

Why is breathability a big deal?

A breathable building fabric allows water vapour to diffuse from inside to outside thereby mitigating the risks associated with moisture accumulation.

How can ECON help?

Our entire range of BASF open and closed-cell insulation foam, Elastospray LWP, Enertite and liquid injection Walltite, is breathable, to a greater or lesser extent, providing optimal insulation efficiency in new build, refurbishment and commercial structures, whilst effectively controlling water vapour transmission rates.

If you have any queries about the breathability of insulation for your project, please get in contact and the team at ECON Polyurethanes will be happy to help.

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