March 10, 2012

The Pro Clima SOLITEX MENTO Difference

SOLITEX MENTO - TEEE membrane vapor open

SOLITEX MENTO actively vapor open function, purely diffusion driven  (left)            Microscopic image of TEEE membrane (right)

Pro Clima’s exterior weather resistant membrane (WRB) and roof underlayment (the SOLITEX system) incorporates a monolithic TEEE* film. This membrane, unlike conventional WRBs, has no pores and is completely waterproof and wind/airtight. This material actively transports the vapor outward by passing it along its molecular chain of monolithic membrane (see image above) – a property of the TEEE material. Therefore, if vapor/water is present on the interior of the membrane, even the slightest vapor pressure differential (inside to outside) will engage the chain reaction and dry out the water/humidity. Consequently, the membrane, unlike conventional housewraps, is very vapor open (38 perms, Sd-value 0,05m) in every condition. Conventional housewraps and WRBs depend on creating a micro-porosity in a normally vapor closed material (PE or PP). In the production process these materials are made vapor open by either spunbonding them into a PE mesh, puncturing the PP or stretching the PP with NaCi additives in production. These micro-pores then allow water vapor molecules to be moved through the water-resistant layer by convection (leaking through the micro-pores).

Conventional WRB vapor open function (convection driven) and microscopic

Conventional WRB vapor open function (convection driven) and microscopic image of micro-porous membrane (on right)

By being porous, perforated or stretched, these materials are not 100% airtight. They are therefore vapor open because air and water-vapor molecules, driven by convection, leak through the micro-pores. Since the pores are quite small – nanometer scale – a relatively high vapor pressure differential is required for vapor to actually dry outwards through the pores. This is true even if the actual perm rating (per ASTM E96B) is high, which could be the case because the pores are big/perforated. If you can easily blow through the membrane when placing it over your mouth, the pores are probably large – very vapor open, and not very airtight.

Active vapor diffusion (SOLITEX MENTO) the membrane remains dry - while in the same roof the microporous membrane causes condensation to form

Through active vapor diffusion,  the SOLITEX MENTO membrane remains dry (left)                    In the same roof the microporous membrane causes condensation to form,  because passive vapor openness is not sufficient for outward drying (right)

The example above shows that actively vapor open SOLITEX MENTO membranes remain dry even when large amounts of humidity enter a roof enclosure with compromised interior airtightness. However, the conventional passively vapor open membrane in the same building is showing condensation – because water vapor wasn’t transported fast enough, casuing a layer of condensate to build up. It looks like the membrane leaks, but the moisture is actually just interior humidity.

How is a vapor open membrane waterproof?

A micro-porous or perforated membrane  is “waterproof” because the surface tension in liquid water holds the drops together and prevents water beads from passing through the membrane. But if that tension is broken by oils (found in wood preservatives), wood tannins, soap and dirt, the waterproofing becomes compromised.

Lab test water column (DIN EN 20811) -right half treated with oil

Lab test water column (DIN EN 20811) on conventional WRB.  The right half  was treated with oil, rendering it leaky.

In contrast, the monolithic film in SOLITEX MENTO is completely waterproof. In the lab tests shown above and below you can see the effect of applying oil to membranes before testing the water column (EN 20811/AATCC TM 127) of each membrane. The conventional membrane leaks at low water pressures, while the SOLITEX MENTO membrane stays dry at a much higher column (notice the difference in bulge). This demonstrates that the waterproof qualities of the TEEE work even when exposed to oil.

SOLITEX MENTO uses monolytic membrane and if waterproof (DIN EN 20811) up to lab test limitation of 32' (10m) even when exposed to oil

SOLITEX MENTO uses monolithic membrane and if waterproof (DIN EN 20811) up to lab test limitation of 32′ (10m).  Right side is coated with oil without effect on waterproofness.

Preventing windwashing

SOLITEX MENTO’s monolithic membrane is also absolutely wind & airtight . ASTM E2173 test results show that the material is so airtight that it exceeds the capabilities of the lab calibration – and goes above and beyond the AABA requirements and ICC-Accepted Criteria 38 for WRBs. The Pro Clima WRB/roof underlayment system offers the ultimate protection against wind-washing of insulation when taped with TESCON tapes and following the other instruction in the SOLITEX MENTO wall installation guide and SOLITEX MENTO roof underlayment system brochures. The importance of protecting insulation against windwashing and the optimization of the insulation value is explained in Mark Siddal’s Passivhaus UK trust conference paper on thermal bypass.

A number of projects using Pro Clima exterior membranes have demonstrated airtightness numbers below 0.6ACH50 – prior to interior airsealing.

Three layers – each with it’s own function

All Pro Clima WRB membranes are multi-layered products, with each layer having specific properties to assure the product offers first class performance during installation and the life of the building. The top layer serves as a protective cover made with a PP microfiber fleece. This offers the weather/UV resistance needed for both roofs and walls:

  •  SOLITEX MENTO, DA, INTESANA, HUMIDA: 3 months exposure
  • SOLITEX MENTO Plus: 4 months exposure
  • SOLITEX FRONTA QUATTRO: 6 months exposure. Exposure of 3/4″ gaps in siding indefinitely.

When SOLITEX MENTO, DA or INTESANA is used as roof underlayment, the top layer offers slip resistance, while also protecting the TEEE  layer below.

Build-up of a Pro Clima's truely high performance WRB and roof underlayment

Build-up of a Pro Clima’s truly high performance WRB and roof underlayment

The TEEE functional layer is located in the middle of each product, providing the actively vapor open AND waterproofing properties of the material. It was specifically developed for this purpose in SOLITEX MENTO and FRONTA QUATTRO. The other membranes employ other monolithic materials, for their specific uses/vapor profiles.

Delaminating the 3 layer build up of SOLITEX MENTO 1000 (via

Showing the 3 layer build up of SOLITEX MENTO 1000 (via

The bottom microfiber fleece protects the TEEE layer above against damages from installation over rough cut lumber and allows it to be pulled over structural members.

*TEEE: Thermoplastic Elastomer Ether Ester – is a material that combines the flexibility of rubber with the strength of a membrane, resisting tears, abrasion and corrosion. It also has good resistance to oils, fuels and chemicals.

, , , , , , , ,

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail to someone

3 Responses to The Pro Clima SOLITEX MENTO Difference

  1. Chitra December 11, 2015 at 2:35 am #

    Hii…informative post. i enjoyed the way you set up the information about waterproofing.


  1. Vented rainscreen: what a high performance building wants | Four Seven Five - March 22, 2012

    […] The second part of moisture/vapor control is to maximize the drying potential; letting more moisture out, than will enter the building enclosure.  We thus want to make sure that the exterior is as vapor open as possible, which will allow the wall to dry outwards in the winter. Our SOLITEX Mento membranes as noted previously have a perm rating of 66 and thus offers maximum drying potential in that season, and are also completely windtight and water proof. […]

  2. A Floor System Begins and More Air Sealing - Hayward Design Build - April 14, 2015

    […] the air sealing details at the sill.  We used a an air tight vapor permeable membrane called Mento.  This was over lapped inside, to be taped to the Stego and overlapped on the outside around the […]

Leave a Reply