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…

Quotes: Dew Point Analysis vs. Hygrothermal Simulation

On Steady State/Dew Point Assessment (Glaser Method): BS EN ISO 13788:2002 Section 6.1 This standard gives calculation methods for: a) The internal surface temperature of a building component or building element below which mould growth is likely, given the internal temperature and relative humidity – the method can also be used to assess the risk…

Making It Green Does Not Make It Right

The principles and practices of green building have had a transforming effect on the way we build, work, and live. By ‘green’ I refer to a collective of high-performing objectives in sustainability, energy-efficiency, healthy building, and resiliency.  Inherent to its mission are claims of improved building performance – that is, perceived betterments in resource use,…

Quotes: Rainscreens

“… it can be concluded that the face seal systems evaluated  in this study are very sensitive to design and construction variables which  lead to ingress of water through the cladding, and that in the environment  of the Lower Mainland it may not be possible to achieve acceptable performance  with face sealed systems. Concealed barrier…

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…

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…

Exterior Insulation And Drainage Plane Woes

The IECC’s requirement for 1” continuous exterior insulation has prompted wall configurations that integrate various types of outbound insulating materials.    With all of these systems, adequate considerations must be made for the amount of moisture penetration from wind driven rain and the presumed location of this moisture load.   It is generally assumed that exterior surfaces of…

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…

Reach A Higher State Of EIFS Consciousness

Moisture performance of EIFS is misunderstood and it continues to be a subject of consternation.  Much of the confusion stems from the fact that design criteria for EIFS assemblies incorporating cavity insulation plus outbound insulation panels have not been adequately addressed by the EIFS industry.  Manufacturers place the responsibility of assembly design squarely on the…

Is Your Rainscreen Deceiving You?

The rainscreen concept, now almost 50 years old, has only recently gained traction in current building practices.  As we explore here, simply placing a capillary break behind your cladding may not provide the protection you expect. Moisture management has always depended on a balance between the entry of water and the capability to remove it. …

Unexpected Expansion Of Fiber Cement Panels

Fiber cement panels have become a preferred cladding system for a clean, monolithic aesthetic typically associated with more expensive claddings such as stucco or EIFS.   But the industry is seeing an alarming number of panel failures resulting in costly building repairs.  Many of these failures point to panel joint design and excess movement. Notwithstanding requirements…