PAOLO VOLPIS DESIGN ©  2018    

 

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Thermal Bridging

Wailuku, MAUI

UNDERSTANDING THERMAL BRIDGING AND BASIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WOOD AND STEEL CONSTRUCTION PAIRED WITH INSULATED PANELS

 

A typical wood construction assembly is made of wood studs (commonly known as 2x4s) placed 16" off center with batting insulation material in between (#3 picture above).

 

When exposed to weather conditions, the insulation along the entire assembly is NOT equal to the insulation value (R value) of the insukating material but much inferior; this is due to what is called "Thermal Bridging", which is caused by the fact that the studs are transferring either heat or cold through the wall into the interior space.

 

With an assembly system using an  outer layer of insulated panels, thermal bridging does NOT occur because the insulating material (which has the highest R value found in the construction industry), is placed outside the metal studs, making it impossible to both cool and heat to travel into the indoor space.

 

In addition, wood construction system employes many layers of materials to increase finish labor and if victim of water infiltration can rot and cause mold inside the walls, which represent an invisible heath hazard.

 

On the other end, light gauge steel construction does not rot and does not fear termites while the insukated panel system provides only few assembly layers facilitating speed of construction.