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The Anatomy Of A Wall

The four walls of our home divide us from the world outside, keeping us warm and safe from the elements. They provide structure to our home lives, delineating the spaces in which we work, relax, socialise, play and sleep.

Our walls also hide away a variety of services like central vacuum systems, standard wiring and high-speed data cable, heating and ventilation, and perform a number of functions of which we might not be fully aware. In previous issues we have talked about framing, insulation and cladding. What else goes into the making of a wall?

Wrap it up

Before the cladding of a home goes on during construction, builders traditionally wrap a home in building paper or fabric building wrap. The wrap is part of the weatherproofing system, allowing moisture that has gotten into the walls to drain away and dry out without damaging the framing. It also provides a barrier to airflow through the wall, helping keep the home warm and draught-free.

However, traditional building wrap can move, twist and tear. Rigid air barriers are often used for commercial buildings and are also available to use on homes. They provide a sturdier alternative to traditional wraps, forming an additional barrier around the building. Not only does this provide increased protection against moisture ingress but provides temporary weather protection allowing interiors to be finished before the final claddings are in place. For renovations this can reduce the time required before moving in.

Ecoply® Barrier, a rigid air barrier manufactured by Carter Holt Harvey® Woodproducts, is a coated plywood pre-cladding lining material, manufactured from 100% sustainable plantation pine, which provides a strong secondary line of defence against moisture leaks into the building structure. Ecoply® Barrier has been independently tested by Scion Research Ltd to meet NZ Building Code requirements and combines the natural strength and durability of structural plywood with an advanced water repellent surface and edge coating.

HomeRAB PreClad Lining from James Hardie is a fibre cement rigid air barrier used in residential buildings, providing extra weathertightness, improved thermal resistance and acoustic performance at the same time. It is will also withstand wind pressures up to and including very high wind zones.

Both Ecoply® Barrier and HomeRAB PreClad Lining can also be used to provide bracing for the home. Bracing is used to strengthen and support the home as well as to make sure the walls of the home are square and true. High levels of bracing are particularly important in high wind and earthquake prone areas – which covers most of New Zealand!

Inner beauty

Indoors in this country, plasterboard is usually used to form the basis of the walls themselves. Although it may be painted, wallpapered or tiled over to achieve the finished look, choosing the right plasterboard is important as it can help create not only a smoother, more attractive wall finish but also a warmer, drier, quieter, more comfortable home. The GIB Ultraline®PLUS Lining System not only provides an attractive finish to living and dining room walls, but can also provide extra performance such as noise control, bracing and even fire rated protection for your home.

Wet areas

Bathrooms, kitchens and laundries are continually subject to steam, moisture build up or water spills and splashes. This may give rise to mould and mildew problems. The building code recognises this, and suggests the use of different, waterproof linings in these areas. Installing water resistant GIB Aqualine® will help prevent moisture penetration and damage to linings. 

Keep the peace

In larger households with multiple storeys or many people trying to study or work, play, relax and sleep all at the same time, peace and quiet is like gold. Insulation between rooms and floors can help to reduce the noise, as can the right plasterboard (by jan). GIB Noiseline® has a specially developed lining with an extremely dense core for more effective reduction of noise.  A double layer of GIB Noiseline® (in conjunction with other measures) can reduce noise between rooms and also between floors in two storey homes by around 50%.

Helping hand

For those renovating, removing old interior linings is often quicker, less frustrating and more cost effective than stripping and preparing old walls. It also gives you the opportunity to install the correct GIB® plasterboard linings. In addition to a better end result, it also gives you a chance to install insulation, modern conveniences, power points and more. GIB® Living has some excellent information and video tutorials on how to do this yourself, quickly and effectively.

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Find out what you can do to be Sound Control savvy in the articles linked below.


The Anatomy Of A Wall
Download Sound Control
FPB - Future Proof Building Principals
Energy Smart Health & Safety Life Cycle Quality Smart & Secure Sound Control Spatial Design Sustainability