Quotes: Recipe for Disaster

Recipe for Disaster Take one owner with capital budget; separate operating budget and ignore. Add one architect and heat until steamed. Expose three or more tenders, exchange parts, and trim extraneous portions. Select thinnest and discard remainder. Remove architect, save essence. Assemble subtrades, compare and trim extraneous portions. Select thinnest. Store subtrades in dark. Collect…

The Building Enclosure Core

The Building Enclosure Core reflects a very different perspective in enclosure design.  The ‘Core’ refers to all elements of the enclosure with the exception of its exterior cladding system.  It is both physical construct as well as resilience exercise as it embodies the most critical elements of air, moisture, and thermal management. Traditionally the industry…

Extreme Climatic Events

Extreme Climatic Events Provide Important Insights For Resilient Design

Extreme climatic conditions are those falling in the upper or lower tenth percentile of the local period of record. North American hygrothermal datasets rely on such extremes in simulating climatic effects on building performance. Prior to 2012, WUFI employed customized 30-year hourly data provided by the U.S. Department of Energy for the 1961-1990 period of…

Degradation of Fiber Cement Siding

Degradation Of Medium-Density Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement cladding has found wide acceptance as a durable and renewable material.   Since entering the U.S. market in the early 1990s, assumptions on its long-term resiliency have relied heavily on wet/dry cycling tests, but little is reported on its durability under typical in-service conditions.   Here we describe four stages of fiber cement degradation under…

Is TimberSIL Resilient?

TimberSIL is a glass-infused wood manufactured by Timber Treatment Technologies.  Marketed as a green substitute to conventional chemically-treated wood, TimberSIL has come under recent scrutiny for questionable performance under intended designed conditions.  We use this situation to discuss the implications of vetting new products on the basis of green material ratings. Criticisms have emerged over the product’s susceptibility to rot and poor acceptance of common coatings.  Perhaps…

Performance Of Decay And Termite-Resistant Wood

In an earlier post, we reviewed standards and implications pertaining to mold-resistant construction materials (December 20, 2013).  We limited our discussion to some of the most widely used resistance tests performed under short-term, laboratory conditions.  Here, we take the discussion further by examining decay resistance tests for treated and untreated wood. Treated wood products provide an essential…

The 2012 Energy Code Necessitates Perfection

Adoption of the 2012 International Energy Code will require exterior continuous wall insulation for climate zones 6, 7, and 8.  When used in combination with cavity insulation, the minimum requirements include 20+5 or 13+10.  The first value pertains to cavity insulation whereas the second is continuous exterior insulation (CI).   Although comparable insulation strategies are also…

Quotes: Stucco Durability

“Stucco has a great deal to recommend it in house construction, but it has also some conspicuous drawbacks. Stucco is much like the little girl who, “when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.” When properly made and applied it is durable, inexpensive to maintain, a…

Mold-Resistant Construction Materials: Godsend Or Gimmick?

Quality moisture management relies heavily on guidance intended to reduce surface relative humidity below thresholds for mold.   The companion to this approach is centered on using materials that are more resistant to mold either by using naturally resistant materials or by employing materials and products manufactured with chemical inhibitors.  Mold-resistance strategies assume that materials can sustain…

Failures Associated with Synthetic Stucco Over Fiber Cement Panels

Failures have been documented in association with acrylic-based synthetic stucco applied over fiber cement panels.  Depending on local code requirements, the fiber panels are generally installed over an approved sheathing such as OSB or exterior gypsum.  A number of these systems have been patented and marketed as ‘synthetic stucco finish system’ or as high build finishes…

Unintended Consequences Of Self-Adhered Flashing

Self-adhered flashings (SAFs) and peel-and-stick membranes are used extensively in moisture control strategies for building enclosures.  When properly integrated with flashed components and weather-resistive barriers, this approach is seen as a time-saving, cost-effective solution to moisture-related failures.   However, an unintended problem occurs when moisture accumulates between the flashing and sheathing due to moisture leaks or as a…