We caught up with Product Manager, John Mellor at Protect Membranes to find out about the company’s latest product development that offers a new solution for timber construction projects

Who is Protect Membranes?

We’re a UK producer of construction membranes for walls and floors as well as roofing underlays and accessories. Alongside our sister company Glidevale and its range of ventilation and building products, Protect has established a leading presence in the housebuilding sector, for both offsite and traditional construction. Our membranes are independently BM TRADA certified, meeting the required Building Regulations and NHBC guidance to prevent interstitial condensation and can deliver on technical performance attributes such as airtightness, vapour permeability and thermal resistance.

As members of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) and the Structural Timber Association (STA), our products are STA Assure Gold Accredited. They are finely tuned for offsite installation and can be integrated easily within the relevant construction method, such as timber frame, CLT and SIP. With factories based near Nottingham and in Merthyr Tydfil in the UK, we are well placed to service customer requirements in offsite manufacture. We understand the importance of delivering the right product at the right time to meet stringent factory lead times.

What makes Protect Membranes different?

We are well known in the industry for pioneering innovation. A good illustration is our latest product – Protect TF InterFoil. This wall construction membrane is a first for the timber frame industry, utilising low emissivity membrane technology with airspaces to achieve cost savings on the build-up whilst maintaining a low U-value that does not impact on the wall’s footprint.

Can you tell us more about Protect TF InterFoil?

It’s is a highly reflective insulation breather membrane, UV and heat stabilised for long term durability. It is designed for use internally within a timber frame wall panel to enhance thermal performance when used facing two still airspace cavities either side of the insulation. When used as part of the membrane system with Protect TF200 Thermo, our reflective, vapour permeable breather membrane fitted on the outer face of the sheathing board on the cold side of the construction, and Protect VC Foil Ultra, a reflective air and vapour control layer (AVCL) on the warm side, a 0.18W/m2K U-value and lower can be achieved, meeting the Notional Dwelling Specifications set down in Building Regulations Part L1A. Combining these Protect membranes ensures that the still airspace cavities offer low emissivity and significantly reduce heat loss, thanks to the high purity, solid aluminium foil used on the membrane surface. The correct use of internal and external reflective membranes will form a radiant barrier and effectively block infra-red radiation to increase the thermal performance of the airspace.

So what benefits can Protect TF InterFoil deliver within a timber frame panel?

As well as the enhancing the thermal performance of the wall, the use of Protect TF InterFoil as described above can provide cost savings based on a typical 140mm deep timber stud. The system can reduce the thickness of rigid, high density PIR insulation boards required or facilitate a switch to a reduced thickness of fibrous (0.032/0.035 λ) or EPS insulation (0.03/0.032 λ), without impacting on the wall’s footprint. This can help maximise land space and overall affordability by not increasing the overall wall depth.

This new innovation of designing a timber frame wall panel with membranes and unventilated airspaces enables developers and manufacturers to meet stringent targets without impacting on the timber frame construction process or significantly increasing the cost of production.

How can you help?

At Protect Membranes we have an experienced Technical team who can advise on the use of our membranes to meet target U-values. If the proposed build-up details are provided, we can demonstrate whether Protect TF InterFoil can be used within the structure to achieve low U-values and generate cost savings. We also offer a free U-value calculation and condensation risk analysis service using membranes as part of the build-up to help specifiers and offsite manufacturers deliver added value within their overall design.

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