Archive for July, 2012

PROSOCO’s new R-GUARD Installation Guidelines improves on traditional manuals with its color graphics in 3 dimensions and photos of actual applications. Click on the image for the online manual.

I love those “why does it have to be that way?” moments.

You know the ones I’m talking about ~ the revolutionary moments. Sometimes they’re huge, like the Wright Brothers pioneering air travel.

“If man was meant to fly, we’d have been given wings.” Oh yeah? Why does it have to be that way? Sometimes we get so used to accepting the way things are that we forget to ask that useful, practical question.

What brings this to mind is our new installation guidelines manual for our air and water barrier products. We’ve seen those typical manuals — you know, the ones with the complicated pen and ink diagrams.

It’s 102 degrees on the jobsite. You’re sweating like Niagara Falls. Here’s your typical manufacturer’s installation guideline detail for shelf angle air and water barrier installation. You see how the air barrier goes on, right? Ok, now go to it!

But we realized that for a sweaty installer on a hot job site, complicated line drawings might not be so good. And it might not be that great for time-challenged building envelope consultants, laboring to translate complex guidelines into specifications that reflect design intent.

Complicated guidelines? Why does it have to be that way? That does not aid constructability. As the Wikipedia definition states, Constructability is in part a reflection of the quality of the design documents, that is, if the design documents are difficult to understand and interpret, the project will be difficult to build.

So we approached our own installation guidelines with the idea of making them clear and simple for everyone. That includes having photos of the application so you can see what the application is supposed to look like. We also included a simple step-by step narrative with each detail.

Here’s the PROSOCO Installation Guideline Manual version of the preceding line-drawing detail. Click on the image to enlarge, and you’ll see it’s a bit easier to tell what’s going on than it is with that line drawing.

In hindsight, it seems obvious that typical details could be more helpful. But it really wasn’t until we asked the question “Why does it have to be that way?” And the answer was, like it always is — “it doesn’t have to be that way.”

So we made those guidelines simpler, easier and more practical. Here’s the official press release:

New manual makes air barrier installation guidelines clear and easy

In a departure from similar manuals, PROSOCO’s new installation guidelines manual uses step-by-step color photographs, graphics and narrative to simply and clearly show installation procedures for R-GUARD air and waterproof/water-resistive barriers.

“Most installation guideline manuals show only black and white line drawings of construction details,” said Paul Grahovac, PROSOCO R-GUARD product group manager. “It can be hard to translate all those lines into a clear idea of how products are installed at the job site.

“Photos, graphics and simple instructions make these the industry’s simplest, clearest installation guidelines – by far,” he said.
The 43-page, 8½ x 11 booklet illustrates 20 of the most common conditions encountered in construction, and how to apply the appropriate R-GUARD products to them.

Each page and facing page offers large, color schematics, clearly and cleanly labeled. There’s a brief description of how to apply the products and a series of photographs showing step by step how the products go on.

Download a free electronic edition of PROSOCO R-GUARD Installation Guidelines at www.prosoco.com. For your free print copy, call Technical Customer Care toll-free at 800-255-4255, or e-mail customercare@prosoco.com.

# # #

Read Full Post »

Sun and clouds battle above New Orleans, as Xavier University’s St. Katharine Drexel Chapel, designed by Cesar Pelli, nears completion. photo courtesy Xavier University of Louisiana

I’m working on this great story about Xavier University’s new St. Katharine Drexel Chapel, designed by the imminent architect Cesar Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven, conn.

The local architect overseeing construction, Waggoner-Ball Architects, New Orleans, specified our PROSOCO R-GUARD FastFlash air and waterproof barrier system to go over the chapel’s CMU back-up — after their original choice couldn’t stand up to real-world conditions.

I’ll start at the beginning, natch.

Architect Dave Coons, Pelli Clarke Pelli, asked our local rep Bob Holmes, R.K. Holmes Co., Maypearl, Texas, to consult on weatherproofing the chapel’s granite base.

Our local rep Bob Holmes originally got involved on this project to recommend a water-repellent for the chapel’s granite base, to help prevent problems like this metallic staining.

Bob recommended Weather Seal Natural Stone Treatment to protect the stone against New Orleans’ rainy climate.

But rain was already inflicting headaches on the project in late summer/early fall 2011.

The CMU back-up needed its specified air and water-resistive barrier system installed before the beautiful cream-colored limestone cladding could go up. Unfortunately, almost daily rains kept the CMU back-up damp. Because the specified air and water-resistive barrier system — like nearly all of them — can only be applied to dry surfaces, the project incurred mounting costs as rain delays piled up.

“I normally don’t jump in this late in the project,” Bob said, “but I noticed a test-panel at the job site with a dry weather-only air barrier system. So I told Dave if he really gets behind, I’ve got a product that works in wet weather.

“About a month later, he called. The good news was that they didn’t have to remove any of the original air and water-resistive barrier system, since they never had a chance to apply any.”

Despite the damp CMU, waterproofing contractor APEX of Louisiana, Harahan, applied the FastFlash system. They filled the joints and seams in the CMU back-up with the appropriately named “Joint & Seam Filler,” and flashed the rough openings with FastFlash — both gun and spread applications.

Then they applied the primary air and waterproof barrier Cat 5 component of the FastFlash system over the whole thing. Cat 5 is so-named because it is tested to remain waterproof even in Category 5 hurricane conditions.

This photo shows Cat 5 primary air & waterproof barrier on the CMU backup at St. Katherine Drexel Chapel. Though damp when Cat 5 was roller-applied, the CMU still dried out because Cat 5 is vapor permeable.

All three products are vapor-permeable, which is one reason they can go on damp surfaces. Even under the FastFlash air and waterproof barrier system, the damp CMU can dry out.

The continuing afternoon rain showers weren’t a problem either, since the FastFlash products are all instantly waterproof. In fact, the contact with moisture makes them cure even faster.

After all the rain delay, once the FastFlash system got the green light, it took two guys about two weeks to install the FastFlash products over the whole building — about 20,000 square feet, Bob said.

That’s one reason we call it FastFlash, he added.

And the metallic staining on the granite base? Bob recommended PROSOCO’s Enviro Klean Restoration Cleaner.

# # #

Artist’s rendering of St. Katherine Drexel Chapel, courtesy Xavier University of Louisiana

Read Full Post »

Our new architectural sales specialist Joelle Lattimer visited Seattle June 27-29 to meet with our FastFlash Air & Waterproof Barrier partners there, and get briefed on the under-construction ultra-green Bullitt Center. Here’s her report.

Sleepless in Seattle, but energized!
by Joelle Lattimer, P.E.

Architectural Sales Specialist Joelle Lattimer smiles for the camera in front of the bluescreen backdrop inside the “saucer” atop Seattle’s Space Needle. Note the jacket, though it’s the end of June.

I was excited to be afforded the opportunity by PROSOCO recently to meet some of the beautiful minds at Tatley-Grund. Tatley-Grund was first introduced to me through numerous conversations, and it was great to finally put some faces to the renowned construction repair company that pioneered PROSOCO’s FastFlash air and waterproof barrier products — products being used on Seattle’s Bullitt Center, designed to be one of the greenest buildings ever.

Christian Larocco, project manager for general contractor Schuchart Corporation talks about the Bullitt Center with PROSOCO President David W. Boyer (foreground), Stacey Grund, Tatley-Grund (center) and Tom Schneider, Building Envelope Innovations (right). photo by Joelle Lattimer.

They also developed the Design Verification Test Chamber which tests wall assembly mock-ups for air and water leakage under real-life conditions, up to and including a simulated category 5 hurricane. If there are weaknesses in the assembly, the testing finds them — before construction starts, which is definitely when you want to find them.

Ron Tatley, Tatley-Grund, monitors a wall-assembly undergoing testing in the Design Verification Test Chamber. PROSOCO photo

The trip to Seattle was a perfect blessing after the hot weather in Kansas, but I quickly recognized that the cool, wet environment in Seattle is a remarkable building block for any performance-based “real-life” assessment of air and water barriers. The weather variance and “colder” temperatures were apparent on my last day, as I wore a sweater and an insulated North Face jacket at the end of June.

Mr. Stacey Grund, of Tatley-Grund, presented me with a speed course in moisture-related constructability issues and awe-inspiring engineering repair details during a tour of construction projects in the Seattle area.

My favorite project, and one I’ll continue to follow is the Bullitt Center, where crews were installing a phthalate-free version of PROSOCO R-Guard Cat 5 primary air and waterproof barrier to help the building achieve designation as a “living building” — certification achieved by only three buildings, so far.

Artist’s rendering of the Bullitt Center — owners hope it will earn designation as a “living building,” achieved by only three others in the world. graphic courtesy of Miller Hull Partnership.

Fluid-applied Cat 5 is proven to keep water out of structural walls and CMU backup, even under Category 5 hurricane conditions (hence its name), even before the cladding goes up. At the same time, it’s vapor-permeable, so if the walls get wet inside from some other means, like a roof leak, they have the potential to dry out again.

Fluid-applied Cat 5 Air & Waterproof Barrier covers Glasroc sheathing at the Bullitt Center. photo by Joelle Lattimer

Along with being durable and breathable, the monolithically adhered primary air and waterproof barrier is also continuous and integral to the structure. While water vapor can evaporate out, the air and the liquid water that cause high energy costs and damage can’t leak through Cat 5-treated walls.

Tatley-Grund’s experience with repairing water-damaged, energy-inefficient buildings led them to create products like Cat 5 that don’t damage buildings the way many traditional air and water barrier products do, by trapping moisture or letting air leak through walls. Their “been there, done that” experience makes Tatley-Grund a valuable resource for the architects and waterproofing specialists with whom they are in daily contact.

This photo shows water damage to wood sheathing from moisture trapped behind a vapor-impermable peel and stick membrane. This is typical of the kind of damage traditional air and water barrier products often cause, and a good reason for rethinking current air and water barrier products and procedures. photo courtesy BEI.

These construction specialists are effectively communicating waterproof and energy-efficient design concepts to design professionals, owners, occupants, and the public — concepts which are the future of our industry. It was emphasized to me when we passed a billboard displaying “1-800-Water Damage” just how prevalent water damage in buildings has become, and how important it is to prevent.

This sign for another company that deals with water-related issues emphasizes just how prevalent water damage is, in our built environment, and speaks to our pressing need to prevent it.

I came away encouraged to know that owners, design professionals, engineers, construction teams and subcontractors are determined to improve building performance of their projects by adopting emerging technology like Cat 5, and “real world” testing to ensure buildings meet/exceed energy-efficiencies and sustainability goals.

# # #

Seattle’s iconic Space Needle looms above the Seattle Center Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Click on the photo for more about this amazing exhibit. photo by Joelle Lattimer on her down-time.

Read Full Post »