Insulation Requires a High Performance Air and Moisture Barrier to be Effective In the past, buildings had drafts, allowing air and moisture vapor to flow relatively freely through the exterior walls, keeping the wall cavity moisture-free. Increasing levels of insulation kept buildings more comfortable, but insulation can create a dew point inside the wall […]
Author: Peter Barrett
You choose a dimple mat based on decent specs, and it appears to be of good quality – but how can you know if the product you’ve chosen is truly up for the job?
If a homeowner’s new construction home is showing moisture-related issues in the basement, it’s a costly mistake to repair. Naturally, it’ll lead back to the builder as the owners will want some form of remediation or coverage.
It is an exciting time in a family’s life when they move into a newly constructed home. Unfortunately, when mold also moves in due to faulty construction or faulty product manufacturing, the dream can turn into a litigation nightmare, as they can take legal action against the builder.
While similar in name, there are critical differences builders, architects and designers need to understand between vapor barriers vs. vapor retarders.
To improve building air tightness, a continuous air barrier is key. And when it comes to continuity, a self-adhered air barrier is hard to beat.
Confusion between air barriers and vapor barriers is common. We’ve simplified the differences between the types of barriers to clarify some misconceptions.
Successfully navigating air barrier details, like tricky transitions and interfaces, differentiates a reliable, high-performance air barrier from an ineffective one.
Is the DELTA®-VENT SA Air Barrier or ZIP System® Sheathing Better for Energy-Efficient, Green Construction?
We compare the popular ZIP and DELTA®-VENT SA systems to see which offers more energy efficiency and long-lasting performance.
An efficient building envelope lowers costs and improves comfort and safety for tenants. Here are 8 ways to make your design more energy efficient.
Despite ‘manufacturer recommendations,’ the long-term durability of most air- and water-resistive barriers is significantly reduced by heavy UV exposure.
Only proper capillary breaks on footings, created with the use of a membrane, can stop groundwater from damaging basement foundations.
Finally, a below-grade dimpled membrane that contributes to high-performance building compliance. Demonstrating market leadership in the growing movement towards product transparency and health in the built environment, DELTA®-MS is the first, and only, below-grade dimpled membrane to obtain a Red List Free Declare label with the Living Building Challenge (LBC) International Living Future […]
Building above grade is tough enough, but below grade? It is the most difficult space to get right. Not only does a basement hold the building up; it must keep groundwater, soil gas, and water vapor out, while keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
The major cause of many common foundation problems is water. Waterproofing systems are a critical component for keeping foundations dry. Like air control above grade, it is important to consider water control below grade as a system solution, not as a single component.
Located near Frazier Park and the San Fernando Valley, Camp Lakota is situated on more than 60 acres of lush greenery, rolling hills, and wide-open fields, right in the heart of the beautiful Los Padres National Forest. The plan was to create a camp of the future for the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles; a […]
When it comes to below-grade moisture protection, cold weather and snow limit the use of any fluid-applied application. This can be avoided by selecting a better below-grade wall waterproofing solution that is designed specifically with cold climates in mind.
Krzysztof Apriasz, Dörken’s Technical Service Manager, solves everyday challenges for every type of project Skilled in engineering, AutoCAD, Revit, strategic planning, building codes, and on-site training, Krzysztof Apriasz, Dörken’s Technical Service Manager, is the go-to individual when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of DELTA® products. In this role, he is responsible for providing […]
For several weeks, construction sites all over the world have had to practice social distancing between their workers in order to comply with government guidelines. Are you adjusting or still struggling with where to begin? This is a guide to help you ensure the safety of all workers, no matter the size of your jobsite.
Building a custom home comes with high expectations from clients. It requires quality craftsmanship, meticulous attention to detail, and professionals with relentless passion.
The famous architect Louis Kahn was on to something big when he said, “The sun never knew how great it was until it hit the side of a building.” Once the plans have been envisioned, drafted, approved and finally realized, an architects best friend or worst enemy is the sun, especially when it comes to […]
The Integral House is arguably one of Toronto’s most unusual and spectacular residences. Its name reflects the summa symbol (∫) used to represent the integral in calculus; though it is known more simply to many as the Toronto Mansion. The 17,000-sq.-ft. Rosedale home was designed and built in 2009 for esteemed mathematician and calculus textbook author Dr. James […]
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is an independent verification method that recognizes green building performance. LEED certified buildings are generally assumed to be more energy-efficient than standard structures. LEED® certification can enhance a building’s value, generate higher commercial lease rates and reduce utility costs. By 2018, it is estimated that LEED-certified buildings will contribute almost $30 […]
A well-designed air and moisture control system can add decades to a home’s life, save the home buyers thousands of dollars on energy and maintenance costs, reduce health risks like mold, and generally add to the value of the home and the quality of life and comfort of the buyers. The best practices for air […]
“Code is a four-letter word for the worst building you can build without going to jail.” Building science engineer Dr. John Straube called it like it is at the latest DELTA® Academy Seminar Series in Washington, DC. His message was loud and clear: merely meeting code does not and should not cut it in an […]
One of the most reliable ways of keeping walls dry and allowing them to dry out if they do get wet, is to construct the wall with an outer shell – also known as a rainscreen. A rainscreen is defined as an assembly applied to an exterior wall which consists of, at minimum, an out […]
When it comes to foundation protection and wall waterproofing, some builders only factor in code compliance. They simply spray a tar/asphalt coating on the concrete foundation and proceed with backfilling. Problem is, this approach is short-sighted, leading to spray-on foundation protection issues. Easily damaged spray-on coatings may create vulnerabilities on numerous levels, including moisture leading to mold […]
Today, people think about basements a little bit differently than in the past. While the idea of turning a basement into a livable and comfortable space seems like a necessity, it used to be the opposite. In the past, basements were merely used for storage purposes or were simply left unfinished. Now, the expectation among […]
If you haven’t experienced the gross inconvenience and expense of a leaky basement, count yourself lucky. If you have, you know it is not something that can just be ignored in hopes it will go unnoticed or perhaps “fix itself.” Basement leaks can either be slow and steady, gradually seeping into a dwelling over days, […]
Space heating and cooling accounts for over 30% of global energy consumption. With a 150% predicted increase by 2050 for cooling alone, it’s hardly surprising that the question of how to design energy efficient buildings is echoing around the planet. Recently, the focus has been on the building envelope. The new construction phase offers the […]
Construction quality is a hot issue, gaining national attention due to enormous class-action lawsuits brought against architects and contractors in states all across the U.S. The size and number of these lawsuits with their large payouts is crippling to the commercial construction industry in their states. Construction Defects Laws enacted in the 1990’s and 2000’s […]
There are a number of things you can do when designing and constructing a building to improve building envelope energy efficiency. Here are seven of them. 1. Create a tight building envelope. It is important to create a tight building envelope around all six sides of a building (all four walls, the basement, and the […]
As more and more homeowners and homebuilders seek energy efficient structures, residential codes are responding. As we’ve seen from the standards set in the 2012 and 2015 versions of the International Energy Conservation Code, air tightness standards are significantly higher in order to address energy efficiency. Though currently only nine states have adopted the 2012 IECC and […]
Damaging effects of UV rays on air and moisture membranes that are exposed during construction. Air and moisture membranes are widely used in construction to keep buildings water-tight. They are applied to the roof and walls to keep the elements out during the construction process, and after being roofed and walled over, they continue to […]
Water will always find its way inside a building, even with new technology and modern materials. A hundred years ago this wasn’t a problem because older buildings had more air leakage which allowed water in the wall cavity to evaporate before it damaged the structure. However, while air moving through the wall allowed water to dry, […]
We interviewed John Straube, PhD, P.Eng, principal at RDH Building Science and professor at the University of Waterloo, to get his insights on a topic that’s critical to the building industry: ensuring the highest quality. In particular, we discussed product substitutions and why they need to be handled with care.
When prominent people in building design and innovation showcase the energy savings of their Net Zero buildings, they raise public awareness and enthusiasm. For many, Net Zero in a functioning building looks easy; however, the task of incorporating all the design and physical elements is a complex undertaking. Homebuilders who want to participate in the growing […]
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, are perhaps one of the most well-known garden roof applications in history. While green roofs today may not carry the same element of wonder as Babylon’s take on design, garden roofs are gaining in popularity in urban neighborhoods across the […]
How well are your membranes sealing around your nails? A test called ASTM D1970, Section 8.9, is conducted by manufacturers to confirm that their membranes meet a waterproofing standard. The test is administered by covering a piece of plywood with membrane, driving two nails into it, and backing them up a quarter of an inch. […]
These days, many traditional materials are being phased out in favor of materials that are more natural and sustainable. The world of insulation is no exception. Traditional insulation materials such as fiberglass batting, polyisocyanurate insulation, and extruded polystyrene are stepping aside to make way for the benefits of mineral wool insulation. Mineral wool is also […]
Also called a living roof, a green roof garden partially or fully covers a building’s roof with vegetation, usually a succulent such as Sedum. Besides adding another dimension of green space, roof gardens have other benefits including extending roof life, slowing thermal transfer, providing cooling in the summer, attenuating noise level, improving surrounding air quality, […]
Homeowners who have a basement would like to be able to use it without it being damp and cold. Homeowners may want to use their basement as a second entertainment room or even a small studio apartment, instead of reserving it as a catch-all storage space. To make a basement a comfortable living area requires […]
There are a number of reasons why you need an air and moisture barrier over foam sheathing. Airtight exterior wall systems are critical to maximizing energy efficiency and gaining LEED points. However, certain characteristics of foam sheathing conspire to compromise airtight construction. The solution? Use foam sheathing together with a high-performing, moisture-resistive air barrier. As building codes […]
House wrap is one of the most common moisture barriers put on new houses and buildings. The concept is pretty simple, actually; once the basic structure is in place workers put wrap around it as a way to protect the home from unwanted air and moisture. The wrap is attached to the sheathing using staples, […]
High-quality house wrap is most often made of spun, high-density polyethylene fibers. It is a vapor-permeable material designed to simultaneously block the passage of liquid. Properly installed, it’s a WRB with the ability to resist moisture while allowing humidity to escape from exterior wall cavities, which is of particular importance in humid climates. However, unforeseen […]
Building tighter, energy-efficient homes has come with both benefits and risks. As we’ve seen over time, increased airtightness improves energy efficiency, but it also risked producing mold and rot without the proper control of moisture vapor. The key to solving this issue is to allow moisture to dry out. A housewrap (also known as a […]
On the surface, air barrier sheathing products like the ZIP System® and others, seem like a great product. One product that takes the place of two. The sheathing and taping purportedly eliminates the need for an air/moisture wrap or barrier because it is built-in to the sheathing. However, especially in today’s green building environment, it […]
Dörken introduced their new DELTA®-PROTEC Subfloor System for Concrete Floors at The International Surface Event in Las Vegas. The show features the most extensive display of floor covering, natural & engineered stone, tile products and educational offerings in the world. Flooring Dealers Were Impressed Flooring dealers frequently have customers who install laminate flooring over concrete only […]
Gavin Semrow, founder of Ai Restoration, is partnering with Dörken to help aid in the remediation process and educate building professionals on the dangers of improper stucco and manufactured stone cladding installation.
Dr. John Straube is a highly regarded building science expert, well-known for his research, his consulting work, and his leadership as an educator. He is a Principal at RDH Building Science and a faculty member at the University of Waterloo. This past year, Dr. Straube discussed key building enclosure concepts (including moisture control, airtightness, and […]
Experienced home builders understand how much work goes into building a good reputation, getting referrals, and growing their business. They also know just how quickly a bad experience for the homeowner can undo all of that hard work. One particularly bad experience that has many homeowners seeking retribution is the discovery of mold in […]
Your building materials could be getting sunburned this summer, but it’s not visible to the naked eye. And, over time, this unseen damage will continue to get worse.
More than 80 per cent of premature building deterioration is the result of moisture damage resulting from the dissolution of materials, reduction in effectiveness of insulation, and more. For this reason, building industry professionals know the importance of moisture control methods.
Running behind schedule has an impact on more than your bottom line: it exposes building materials to harsh environmental conditions for longer than they are engineered to withstand. UV damage is a real issue with real consequences – yet it’s an issue that often gets overlooked
When Matt Risinger was in Germany for the BAU 2019 trade fair, we invited The Build Show for an exclusive tour of our nearby high-tech Dörken production plant for a close look at how DELTA® air and moisture barriers come together. In 1995, Dörken brought its technological advancements to North America, though the state-of-the-art facility […]
Building for sustainability, safety, and comfort requires the combined effort of engineers, architects, sub-contractors, and builders who understand how to design and specify an energy-efficient building envelope. This begins with the design concept and carries through to pricing, design review, construction, and building envelope commissioning. The preferred method for significant reduction in energy use and […]
Today, net-zero energy initiatives are taking the building industry by storm. These are homes designed and built to generate as much energy as they consume, once all renewable energy systems are fully installed—with the goal of reducing the energy needed to maintain them. According to a standard set by the NZEC, net-zero energy structures are […]
Air Tightness and Building Performance High performing buildings are durable, comfortable, healthy and low-energy users. An essential component of the high performance building is minimized air leakage. Commercial air tightness testing is a quality control tool providing data for the mechanical engineer’s load and energy calculations so he/she can design the appropriate mechanical system. As […]
Engineers are now coming to the conclusion that air-tightness is more important than window design in the conception of an energy-saving house. According to the website for the Air Barrier Association of America, airtightness is gauged by measuring the building envelope’s effectiveness. But what exactly does air-tightness mean? Its technical meaning, unlike some terms […]
Air barriers are no longer just a passing consideration. They are not only federally mandated, but also demanded by code-conscious and sustainability-oriented building owners and occupants who are in the know. For good reason, too. A high-performing air barrier means greater comfort at a lesser cost. Based on simulations, the National Institute of Standards and […]
Stucco and manufactured stone have been used in the building industry for ages. These claddings are well known, and well used for their leading properties in fire resistance, durability, and aesthetics. In fact, according to the Census Bureau’s recent Survey of Construction, 25% of homes built in the US in 2017 used stucco cladding; second […]
Today, many builders are increasingly leaning towards green construction. According to Canadian study World Green Building Trends 2018, 35% of Canadian firms who participated in the study report that more than 60% of their projects are green, and by 2021 the number of firms to achieve this is expected to rise to 48%. What’s interesting is […]
When it comes to maintaining a building’s integrity and longevity, protecting the building from factors that contribute to moisture-related issues is key. How do moisture-related issues materialize to begin with? According to research, wind-driven rain on a building’s façade is considered one of the largest sources of moisture2 and, most commonly, moisture is the number […]
Basements are known to have particular problems: they are often found to be damp, humid, and even occasionally flooded. Once moisture has intruded, it can be difficult to treat the problem. Moreover, these conditions make basements vulnerable to mold. Even common solutions, such as using a dehumidifier, can increase foundation issues and prolong the problem […]
Inevitably, thermal bridging is an adversary in the quest for energy-efficient buildings. Continuous insulation bolstered by a moisture barrier is a powerful weapon in the battle. Rising energy costs and a definite move toward green building accentuate the need to corral the problem of thermal bridging. Thermal bridging typically occurs in 3 ways One material […]
You’ve heard it time and again. When properly installed, fluid-applied air barrier systems can be a good choice for building enclosures. What you may not have heard about is how to ensure proper installation. Unlike sheet membranes, fluid applied membranes require a lot of attention to installation detail to deliver the performance that is desired. […]
In the past 20 years, Boston’s population has grown faster than the construction industry has been able to keep up. Finding a place to live is not easy, and affording ownership costs is even harder, with a cost of living that is almost 40% above the U.S. average. Available rental units are likewise rare – […]
Clark University, located in Worcester, MA, is a widely respected research institution, particularly for its excellent science program. To reflect the cutting-edge research that is happening inside its buildings every day, the university is committed to investing in its campus exteriors, in hopes of attracting top students and faculty. That’s why, after three decades, it […]
The multi-award-winning Audain Art Museum is quintessentially Canadian – from the eclectic art housed inside to the unassuming yet masterfully planned and executed hockey-stick-shaped building itself. Yet, despite all the beauty on display for visitors, it’s the unseen elements that make this building truly amazing. The 56,000 sq. ft. private museum sits nestled amidst the […]
The Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) principles aren’t exactly new. But that doesn’t take away from their importance. In fact, if you head over to the PHIUS website, you will see that “buildings designed and built to the PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Standard consume 86% less energy for heating and 46% less energy for cooling […]
One of the philosophies we subscribe to here is wrapped up in the idea of doing something because we should, not just because we have to. Do we work hard to ensure our products meet code? Of course. But do we stop there? Of course not. The latest example of both our commitment to the […]
All buildings require air barrier systems. There are three very important reasons to control the airflow inside of a building: 1) Moisture Control. No one wants water damage due to water vapor condensation, or mold growth encouraged by wet walls. 2) Energy efficiency. An air barrier can reduce cold drafts or humidity fluctuations, and keep […]
Heat flow affects a building’s durability, efficiency, and comfort levels. Condensation that builds up or does not dissipate can lead to mold, health problems, and structural decay. Leaks and heat loss have an impact on human comfort and health and contribute to energy waste as the building has to use more energy to regulate its […]
Air barrier systems in buildings are marketed as systems because many different types of materials must combine to make an airtight plane that controls airflow. The critical areas for any airtight plane are a building’s material transitions, penetrations, and joints. 5 important criteria to use when judging or comparing air barrier systems: 1) Continuity. Air […]
Designers should be thinking about air barrier system testing in the design phase to ensure that the barrier can be installed correctly. Contractors need to follow installation procedures and guidelines to make sure that the system works as intended. However, because air barriers are crucial, whole-building systems, air tightness testing is normally required to prove […]
Comparing the Three Systems for Rain Penetration Control: Storage, Drained Rainscreen, and Perfect Barrier
Rain control is the most important function of an enclosure, since it directly correlates to a building’s longevity. The number one factor for effective rain penetration control is good building design. Most rainwater can be deflected off of a building through use of architectural features or landscaping. However, rainwater management features are still vital in […]
The thermal resistance insulation R-values measure the thermal control of insulation. R-values can be misleading because they do not account for the effect of thermal bridging or how the product works when it is installed in an enclosure. Therefore, the term effective R-value can be used to state the R-value when thermal bridging is included […]
In High Performance Building Enclosures, Dr. John Straube outlines the ‘ideal’ wall for the purpose of helping designers conceptualize how a building enclosure’s components should work together as a system. The sequence of layers represents a conceptual, climate-neutral approach with a scientific placement of the control layers that shows designers clearly how they interact and […]
Architects are busy. Not only do they have to design buildings, envision their performance, and specify products that help them meet their design goals, they also have to keep up with building industry developments. Architects must also take classes, workshops, and seminars in order to maintain their professional license. Even a layperson can see that […]
Commercial landlords have a lot of responsibilities. They have to make sure their buildings have no plumbing or electrical issues, that they are properly winterized, and an array of other responsibilities ranging from the loud and serious to the small and subtle. However, if a landlord does not pay attention to the air quality of […]
Regardless of which rain penetration systems are used, windows and doors must be drained. Most failures to control rainwater occur at windows. Some windows come with drainage pans or tracks which are part of their design. These alone are not enough to stop rainwater penetration. Most leaks occur between the window frame and the window […]
When it comes to wear and tear on buildings, people are often surprised by from where the highest costs come. According to the Whole Building Design Guide, as much as 80 percent of premature building wear expenses are related to moisture in some way. That’s why it’s important to install moisture control methods and to […]
Most people think of technical guides as just information about products. However, the new air barrier systems technical guide, from Dörken, is full of educational information about air barrier systems that can be used by anyone. It is a valuable educational tool for people in the industry, including architects, contractors, and specifiers. The guide starts […]
People tend to associate drafts with discomfort. If there’s a cold draft, it means either working with heavy clothes on or turning up the heat. The opposite is true in warm weather, when either the air conditioning needs to be turned up or individuals need to wear cooler clothing. What people often ignore, though, is […]
With all of the different risks and dangers that come with building commercial structures, moisture problems often get overlooked until it’s too late. While it’s possible to fix problems with the moisture barrier once construction is completed, it’s always better to prevent these problems from happening in the first place. Moisture Barrier Problems in Commercial […]
We all want leak-free, energy-efficient buildings. But contemporary builders face challenges that are unique to the technology of our era. In earlier eras, buildings were made of stone and held together with a bonding material. They were resistant to the damaging effects of moisture and a high capacity to store moisture. In more recent times, […]
The buzz about going green is a trend that requires attention. Embracing the changes in commercial and industrial buildings that are being demanded for energy efficient design and construction is key to making building owners and tenants satisfied. Since commercial buildings consume seventeen percent of the nation’s energy, valued at more than $100 billion according to EnergyStar.gov, business and industry […]
As many people are aware, energy-saving designs in construction have been made increasingly mandatory. With these changes in mind, the use of air barriers, vapor barriers, water-resistive barriers, (fluid applied and sheet/membrane) can aid in the proper performance of buildings and help to reduce maintenance efforts later down the line. Air Moisture Barrier Considerations 1. Such design […]
Ever wondered how ancient structures such as the pyramids, the Roman Coliseum, Stonehenge, and more stood the test of time, while many of our modern structures fail due to rot? Simple. Ancient builders used plain stone for their structures. Who cared if the stones got wet, or battered with wind or hail? Today, our structures […]
Many businesses might not be in the habit of sharing the benefits of a competitor’s product. Occasionally, however, they offer information of which one should consider. We’ve been lauding the benefits of using self-adhered air barriers as opposed to mechanically-attached house wraps for some time now. We’d like to refer you to an infographic posted by Grace Construction Products, […]
First appearing in 1975, an updated Ashrae 90.1 energy standard for all but low-rise residential buildings comes out every 3 years. Taking into account current technology and life cycle cost, Ashrae 90.1 establishes minimum energy efficiency requirements for building design and operation including building envelopes (as of 2007). Ashrae 90.1 Currently, the Ashrae 90.1 uses the 8 […]
With more people than ever concerned about implementing green building practices in commercial construction, making sure there are no air leaks in buildings (air leakage) is an important factor in construction planning. Here are some ways to make sure a building is tighter and more energy efficient. When Air Leakage in Buildings Is Most Likely to […]
Improper planning and other factors can lead to major damage in floors. What many people don’t realize is that a high-quality and durable floor doesn’t start with the flooring material itself, but instead with the foundation. Using techniques to seal moisture out of the foundation is the first step to building up a home or […]