Category: Design Build

Foundation Protection Solutions. Step 1: Ditch the Sprays

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 […]

What’s the deal with pressure equalization versus open-cladding?

You would think that after a half century the physics of wall design would be obvious, straightforward and non-controversial. Apparently not. Folks latch onto concepts that are partially true…true in a limited sense…without appreciation of the range of applicability. As Dirty Harry Callahan would say…a wall has got to know its limitations. There has been […]

How to Choose the Best Housewrap

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 […]

Water-Resistive Barriers: When and Why Does Vapor Permeance Matter?

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, […]

Airtightness: On the Path to High Performance

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 […]

The Pros Know: Dr. Straube chooses an airtight, vapor permeable barrier for his coach house

If there’s anything that will convince people of a building product’s worthiness, it’s when the pros use it in their own homes – where they’re free to make unilateral decisions, based on their own expertise and preferences. So you can imagine our excitement when Dr. John Straube chose our air- and water-resistive barrier for his new […]

More than meets the eye: what’s happening behind your stucco and manufactured stone

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 […]

A stunningly comfortable first impression

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 Art of Proper Moisture Protection

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 […]

Air Barrier Testing Considerations in Your Design

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 […]

Building Design Shouldn’t Trump Moisture Issues

Even the most prestigious architects can get it wrong. In 2007, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sued renowned architect, Frank Gehry, for design and construction defects in the $300 million dollar Stata Center on the MIT campus. Three years later, the lawsuit was resolved amicably, but the revelations regarding the failures are still instructive for […]

Air and Moisture Control in Buildings

Air and moisture control in buildings is a fundamental function for any commercial project involving conditioned space. Unfortunately moisture problems are common in many buildings and people often consider them inevitable. Moisture accumulation is the scourge of buildings throughout the United States, from tropical Hawaii to arctic Alaska and from the hot, humid Gulf Coast to the hot, dry Sonoran Desert. Between […]