To me, this is an amazing story.
Forensic investigators and repair contractors Ron Tatley and Stacy Grund, Tatley-Grund, Seattle, make a good living repairing buildings damaged by water intrusion, and have since the 1990s. Their investigations show one thing over and over again.
Despite all the codes and industry-recommended products and procedures, water gets into building envelopes and wreaks havoc. A big reason, they found, is that the air and water barriers on damaged buildings are NOT continuous, seamless, durable and vapor-permeable.
They let inside and outside air, and water from outside leak freely through the walls. On its way through, the air-carried water vapor may condense if it hits a cold enough surface. Wall components get wet. If they can’t dry out again, you get damage, like in that top photo of the vapor-impermeable peel and stick. Water also gets in when wind-driven rain leaks through. Wind-driven rain can get in any place that air can leak.
The short version is that Stacy and Ron got tired of fixing all this water damage with the same kinds of materials that cause the damage to begin with. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything else.
So they hired scientist and product developer Tom Schneider. His job — to invent the ultimate air and water barrier.
Here’s the “wish list” Stacy and Ron gave Tom his first day on the job — though it was really more like a “must have” list:
The air and water barrier must be:
1. Fluid-applied, for ease of installation on complicated details.
2. Bondable to damp surfaces. No one has time to wait while construction sites dry out after rain.
3. 100% solids to avoid shrinkage and accommodate building movement.
4. Super-easy to apply. No one has time for a lot of complicated folding, lapping, hanging and other steps.
5. Immediately waterproof. Can’t let an afternoon rain shower wash it away.
6. Opaque when you reach target thickness, so it’s easy tell if you’ve applied enough.
7. Able to withstand weather-exposure up to six months, in case of construction delays after application.
8. Vapor-permeable. If walls do get wet, they have to be able to dry out again.
9. Easily repaired, because job sites can be rough places.
10. Paint-compatible. No one has time to wait for special blends that work on a particular sealant.
11. Adhesive without a primer. They have to stick hard to the substrate.
12. Able to self-seal around fasteners since you poke a bunch of holes in the air and water barrier when you install the siding.
13. VOC-compliant. No solvents that can cause regulatory or health problems.
Incredibly, Tom did it.
He created what we now call the PROSOCO R-GUARD FastFlash air and waterproof barrier system.
It meets every one of the 13 checkpoints Ron and Stacy handed him that first day. They lab- and field-tested the FastFlash system until they were 100 percent sure it could do what it had to do — in conditions up to and in excess of a simulated category 5 hurricane.
Since then, FastFlash has been used on some of the world’s greenest buildings, and any place designers and owners can’t tolerate water intrusion into buildings.
Now, PROSOCO’s videographer, John Young, has created this outstanding series of short videos. Each video, just a minute or two long, has Tom, Ron and/or Stacy commenting on one of the 13 “wishes” on the list. You hear from the inventors themselves what they were thinking, and see the footage of their vision in action.
Wishes can come true. The FastFlash air and waterproof barrier system, and this video proves it.
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