Air leaks are a major problem that severely limits the energy efficiency of your home. Remember, escaping air carries away heat. This will consequently increase your power bills during the cold season, as you strive to heat up your home. Using plasterboards is among the most effective ways you can make an air barrier for your house. Even then, there are a number of things you have to do to ensure your plasterboards do their job. If you are interested in stopping drafts in your home, here are some tips to make your plasterboard installation airtight.
Use different kinds of plasterboards.
Installation of plasterboards occurs over the various walls and ceilings in the house. These walls and ceilings may require different kinds of plasterboards, so avoid buying a specific kind in bulk to make your work easier.
For the walls, acquire durable boards from your plasterboard supplier to ensure they aren't compromised by minimum damage. For your ceilings, use ultra-light boards. They are easier to install and light enough for any roof support. You'll focus on making your installation airtight instead of looking for ways to properly support the board's weight.
Also, request for the longest available plasterboards from your supplier. Longer plasterboards require fewer joints as you install them along walls and ceilings. Joints are points of weakness that could allow for air leaks later on, so it's necessary to reduce them whenever possible.
Use flexible caulk.
Caulk will come in handy when installing plasterboards to fill seams and gaps. It is also useful around the perimeter of the walls and ceilings as well as door and window openings to keep them airtight. When using caulk, avoid varieties that harden after application. As it dries, such caulk may leave gaps that will compromise the integrity of your air barrier.
Furthermore, there may be structural settling of the boards over time due to changes in temperature and humidity. This will warp hard caulk and create gaps. Flexible caulk such as polyurethane can flex and accommodate structural changes thereby maintaining an airtight seal.
Seal all penetrations into the plasterboards.
There are a number of penetrations that can affect your air barrier. The most notable of these are the electric boxes. Don't attempt to seal the box holes before the plasterboard is in place since you may damage the sealant as you cut the plasterboard over the electric box frame. Seal them once the plasterboard is in place using caulk, or use a factory shaped foam insulation that fits their frame. It's a good idea to outfit an airtight electric box with a gasket flange at its face for a competent air barrier. Don't forget to seal plumbing and electrical wiring penetrations using a sealant.