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 […]
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.
Confusion between air barriers and vapor barriers is common. We’ve simplified the differences between the types of barriers to clarify some misconceptions.
Tall buildings require a robust air barrier design strategy to withstand higher air pressures from wind, stack effect, and mechanical systems.
The Build Show’s Matt Risinger shares some of his stucco failures, and how you can avoid the same fate with his proven step-by-step stucco installation method.
Only proper capillary breaks on footings, created with the use of a membrane, can stop groundwater from damaging basement foundations.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
In this post, I want to show you some of the important details for installing DELTA®-VENT SA. I will walk through all the steps of installing the house wrap and then focus on what it takes to flash a window, using the DELTA® line of products from Dörken Systems Inc. Dörken is a German company […]
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 […]
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 […]
How to fix a leaky basement without digging a hole, adding an exterior drain, or re-landscaping One of the most difficult issues to deal with as a landlord or a homeowner is a leaking foundation or basement wall. You go through a whole bunch of stages, much like grief counseling. First is denial that it […]
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, […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Wet basements aren’t only bad for homeowners, they’re bad for business. From occupant discomfort and health risks due to mould and mildew to expensive material damage, foundation moisture has become one of the biggest headaches in homebuilding. When moisture makes an unwanted appearance in a foundation, people automatically look to their contractors to correct 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 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 […]
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, […]
Air and moisture membranes are as much a part of modern building construction as doors and windows. These membranes are wrapped around the building within the wall structure, and they’re meant to help prevent mold, mildew, and other unwanted conditions that can damage the structure and lead to health problems for those who use it. […]
BBB Stadium Inc. is claiming that the Winnipeg IGA Stadium is leaky, moldy, and not properly suited for year-round use. The stadium, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club and the University of Manitoba. Despite the stadium’s location in a high-snowfall city, the concession areas are without heat, the water and electric […]
Air and moisture control in homes, says the US Department of Energy, begins with a discussion of what used to be called “vapor barriers,” but are now referred to as “vapor diffusion retarders.” Vapor diffusion retarders can aid in controlling moisture within “basements, ceilings, crawlspaces, floors, slab-on-grade foundations and walls,” and accomplish this by cutting […]
Open joint cladding buildings can be strikingly beautiful, but they require suitable stabilization against damaging UV rays in order to reliably protect the building against moisture damage. If the water-resistive barrier is not durable in extreme weather or stable when exposed to prolonged periods of UV light, the system will fail. How UV Rays Affect […]
Cold Joints Should Not Be Ignored Cold joints can cause serious foundation problems if not dealt with properly. A cold joint occurs where two separate pours of concrete meet; one pour is cured and one pour is not. The hardening of the two are inconsistent, leaving a potential gap between the two layers. A serious […]
(Photography by Adrien Williams) Tucked away in the woods just outside Montreal sits a modern, stunning cabin overlooking Grenier Lake. Large windows take in the expansive forest and surrounding views. Local architect Paul Bernier understands this environment, and chose materials to complement it. Clad in cedar panels, and topped with a garden roof, the cabin […]
Building tenants are understandably concerned over the quality of the interior space that they occupy. The comfort and integrity of the building will be enhanced if a high performance air barrier is incorporated in the building envelope. A good air barrier provides a separation between the conditioned interior space of the building and the uncontrolled […]
The pyramid is one of the earliest forms of structure for human occupation, spanning the ages of the megalithic tombs of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia all the way to today where visitors can see an aesthetically gorgeous confluence of design, form, and function. The Denver Botanic Gardens’ new Science Pyramid is now open to the public. Though […]
The dream of constructing a tunnel 1.4 miles beneath Switzerland’s Gotthard mountain range arose shortly after World War II. Now, that dream has become a reality. On June 29, 2016 the inauguration of the Gotthard Base Tunnel invoked thoughts of Hannibal crossing the Swiss Alps 2,200 years ago. Of course, this route runs under, not over, the […]
Without proper ventilation and drainage, moisture can accumulate between the water-resistive barrier and siding of a building. A rainscreen separates the cladding from the building, allowing drainage and moisture evaporation. Ventilated rainscreens are a support system in the building envelope that separates the cladding from the building, allowing for proper ventilation and drainage. It does […]
So much is at stake in the process of designing and building a new home. Decisions during the design process will affect the fate of the home itself; that of the homeowners; and, on a certain level, that of the larger systems around us, such as the housing market, and global ecology. Maybe this sounds […]