Behind the masonry and metal
March 15, 2012 by Gary Henry
The new apartment building in downtown Lawrence, 901 New Hampshire, gets its start in Spring 2011. Note the beginnings of the air & water barrier installation as seams between the Densglass panels are sealed with PROSOCO R-GUARD® Joint & Seam Filler, and covered with red R-GUARD FastFlash® liquid flashing.
Two years ago, 901 New Hampshire, Lawrence, Kan., was a vacant lot.
North elevation of 901 New Hampshire.
Now, a seven-story apartment complex, filled with customers for the bistros, jewlery stores and other specialty shops in this bustling college town, rises from a site formerly devoted to weeds and trash.
The design is “traditional – transitional,” said Project Architect Lauren Davis, Treanor Architects, Lawrence. It combines traditional limestone and clay brick with more contemporary building materials such as the dark metal panels beginning on the building’s third story.
Behind the masonry and the metal, an even newer material is at work. A custom PROSOCO R-GUARD® Air and Water-Resistive Barrier helps keep 901 energy-efficient and mold free.
The primary air barrier, tan R-GUARD MVP (Maximum Vapor Permeabiity) will cover the whole structural wall assembly. Pathways for air and water to leak in and out of the building envelope are sealed off permanently.
Rough openings are sealed permanently and water-tight with Joint & Seam Filler, covered by FastFlash® which will in turn be covered by the primary air barrier.
This photo shows a fabric-wrap air barrier on another Lawrence building, this one built in 2005. Note how completely the wrap has detached, probably due to wind. Even if re-attached before the cladding goes up before, it's doubtful it will do its job of stopping air and water leaks through the building envelope, as it isn't structural or durable - two important checkpoints for air and water barriers. Researchers developed fluid-applied barriers like R-GUARD to remedy these shortcomings.
Even when fabric wraps stay attached, wind can worry openings around fasteners as shown here. This creates entries and exits for air and water through the building envelope. One isn't a big deal, but where there's one, there's always more. That may have somethng to do with Department of Energy estimates that air leakage in commercial buildings accounts for up to 40 percent of energy costs.
Air and water leaks through the building envelope that can damage buildings and budgets both are stopped before they ever start with the durable, continuous, structural and vapor-permeable PROSOCO R-GUARD® Air & Water barrier. Restoration & Waterproofing Contractors, Topeka, installed the air and water barrier on the east-facing apartment complex.