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…

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…

Brick And Concrete Masonry Failures: Considerations For Preserving Post-War Era Buildings

Concrete masonry construction was common practice in post-war Modern architecture where it was used extensively in schools, churches, public buildings, and industrial complexes.  Brick and concrete block-bonded construction gained favor in many public buildings for its perceived durability, aesthetics, and relative ease of construction.  Over 50 years later, many of these buildings now have historic significance but suffer…

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…

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…

Frankensteinian Design: Energy Efficiency At The Expense Of Durability

Energy efficient initiatives, coupled with the IECC’s requirements for continuous insulation over exterior surfaces, have prompted a vast array of ‘Frankensteinian’ energy assemblies.  From three-coat stucco over outbound EPS to EIFS on structural insulated panels (SIPs), the combinations of such hybrid approaches appear endless.  While the professed energy efficiencies can be impressive, moisture management may…

Moisture Management

Doctrines For Moisture Control

Problems associated with water-induced failures became more prevalent in the 1980’s as a result of changing paradigms in design and construction practices.   These failures are often attributed to air-tight, energy-efficient designs initiated during the global energy crisis of the 1970’s.  Although applicable, this over-simplification ignores the fact that many energy-efficient buildings of this era have…