Home/Flooring components – Air and vapour control layers (AVCL)

Flooring components – Air and vapour control layers (AVCL)

Air and vapour control layers (AVCLs), one of many flooring system components, are used to restrict the movement of air and moisture through the building envelope. By reducing warm air leakage from inside the building, the risk of condensation within the floor build-up is also reduced. AVCLs are integral parts of any thermal elements installed in the floor of a building and can help reduce heat losses and increase the overall energy efficiency of a building.

AVCLs come in a variety of forms and can be used on both suspended and solid internal floors. External applications can include flooring over heated spaces such as balconies and terraces.

Flooring component air and vapour control layers can be manufactured from a variety of materials, and the installation method will depend on the type of AVCL specified. The most used include self-adhesive or mastic asphalt screed AVCLs.

Self-adhesive air and vapour control layers as a flooring component

This type of AVCL is usually coated with a polymer modified bitumen with a film coating that can be peeled off allowing the membrane to adhere to the substrate. The relatively simple installation does not require specialist equipment or heat, making it safe and quick to install. This type of AVCL, however, can be used in flooring systems that require heat for the installation of other layers if required.

Most high performing AVCLs in this category are constructed from an impervious aluminium core, reinforced with a tough, polyester base. Once installed the AVCL forms a robust and durable protective layer.

Mastic asphalt screed as a flooring component

Mastic asphalt screed is a self-levelling alternative with a very high vapour resistance that forms a continuous airtight barrier over the substrate. Mastic asphalt screed is a viable alternative to traditional wet screed. The installation requires heat but is rapid and the fast-curing times allow for the surface to be traffic-able as soon as it cools to an ambient temperature.

Mastic asphalt is an extremely durable material and, as it cannot be compacted, provides a strong, stable base for thermal insulation, car park deck build-up or a waterproofing system laid over it. Where required, mastic asphalt screed can provide falls and simultaneously act as an AVCL. The continuous membrane can also act as temporary waterproofing for external installations.

What are the benefits of AVCLs for flooring systems?

  • Prevents excess moisture and air permeating into the building envelope
  • Reduces risk of condensation
  • Protects insulation layers if also specified, for example in concrete floors
  • Reduces heat loss, helping to increase the overall energy efficiency of a building

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