I am always hearing about the Perm Rating of walls and wanted to know if perm rating of masonry walls is something that is a big concern in Florida?
The Perm rating of stucco is a red herring. Climate zones 1 and 2 strictly LIMIT the perm rating of vapor barriers because you don’t want to trap moisture in the wall. Standard stucco is a Class III Vapor Barrier with a perm rating between 5 and 10 which would also make it a Vapor Permeable which is better yet in Florida. Stucco is accepted as a suitable weather barrier throughout the code – and that is what you are looking for in climate zones 1 and 2 – a weather barrier – not a vapor barrier. Check out 1405.3.1 and 1405.3.2. The code is RESTRICTING the perm rating of vapor barriers – not requiring low perm barriers. Stucco, and CMU, serves as a good weather and air barrier. If you are keen on low perm vapor barriers then move up North. We don’t need them in Florida.
Jerry Painter, FASTM
Don Beers, PE, GC
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