As market leaders in BS 1521 Building Papers, we offer the entire range to suit a vast array of applications. With expert knowledge on all BS 1521 products, call us for enquiries.

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Introduction to Building Papers

Building papers have been available for many years and are used in a very wide range of primarily end-user defined applications. The term 'building paper' means different things to different people, but generally the accepted meaning is with reference to BS 1521 and BS 4016 paper, used primarily within the construction and temporary protection markets.

The BS 1521 grades are normally taken to be A1F, B1F and B2, or variants such as FF1 Foil Faced Building Paper or Polybit Building Paper..

The BS 4016 grade is just one product, BS 4016 Type 2 Blue Breather Paper.

BS 1521 Building Papers

Building Papers have been available for many years, and are a general range of building membranes. Although over the years a number of typical uses for these products have been developed by a wide range of different end users, the BS 1521 specification does not define usage in any way, as it is purely a technical document. This situation clearly differs from, for example, roof breather membranes, which have been designed with a particular application in mind.

Typical uses for this product range include:

  • Cladding underlay in uninsulated buildings, eg shed lining
  • Vapour check within insulated structures
  • Separation layer
  • Flat lead roofing underlay
  • Temporary protection
  • Timber floor DPM

Due to the variety of potential uses of this highly adaptable product range, we can often only give general guidance, rather than defined recommendations within specific projects.

Only the standard A1F or A1F variants (FF1 and Polybit) may be used in applications which are termed permanent. All other building paper products are normally only suitable for temporary applications. 

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Installation Tips

Building papers have many different uses. The installation will vary depending on the final application and would be down to the installer to ensure they are happy with all fixings.


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