Construction Specifier E-book on Protecting Against Water Intrusion

Construction Specifier's e-book on protecting against water intrusion is a must read for industry professionals.

With Hurricane Michael having just left the Florida Panhandle a wet mess — pummeling the built environment and everything in its path with wind and rain — it seems timely to mention a valuable e-book that Construction Specifier has published on water intrusion.

The primer — Protecting Against Water Intrusion— is part of the publication’s “Best of Series” and features four sections. The first outlines the seven “Ps” for successful rainscreen design and execution. Those “Ps” would be: product selection; penetration in the air vapor barrier; perimeters; parapets; pre-installation preparation and testing; positive drainage and of course… performance.

In the next section — “Put Penetrations to the Test” – two architects discuss the effect of cladding attachments on air and water barriers. They note that building enclosure design involves balancing the demands of air and water protection with the thermal requirements.

Chapala One luxury condominiums in Santa Barbara, CA needed a reliable waterproof enclosure to eliminate water intrusion on both vertical and horizontal surfaces.

They conclude that available guidelines for detailing and testing the installed AWB with the cladding attachments can be scarce, and installation practices are not consistent from project to project. They argue for a need to develop installation methods that will provide durable and resilient solutions, as well as consensus on test standards to validate the air and water tightness.

The third section — “There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Building” — offers practical considerations for combining face-and concealed-barrier walls. It presents design concepts for incorporating face-barrier elements into primarily concealed air and water barrier systems, as well as noting some of the construction challenges characteristic of these combination façade systems.

Liberty High School in Renton, Washington installed a high-build vapor barrier to minimize the risk of water damage.

The title of the final white paper — “The Perils of Moisture” – echoes a truism that comes as no surprise to professionals in the built environment: moisture intrusion can be nasty and costly. The piece provides a thorough overview of how air barriers can prevent moisture intrusion. Authored by Karine Galla, a product manager at Sto Corp. who has over 16 years of experience in the EIFS, stucco and AMB business, the article advocates for an impermeable air barrier system, applied continuously throughout the exterior of a building structure.


Baha Mar: A Sto Showcase In The Bahamas

The Baha Mar Resort & Casino in the Bahamas is a signature Sto project showcasing the versatility and resiliency of the company's exterior insulation systems and finishes -- products that which were used extensively and exclusively throughout the 1,000 acre mega-project.

The Baha Mar Resort & Casino on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas opened last year with great fanfare and has been a showcase for Sto products used in its construction. Located on Cable Beach, outside the city of Nassau, the new resort was heralded as the largest hospitality project ever built in the Caribbean.

The property covers over 1,000 acres including half a mile of prime beach frontage. The sprawling tropical megacomplex which cost a reported $3.4 billion to build, includes three world-renowned luxury hotel brands: Grand Hyatt, SLS and Rosewood (2,300 rooms in all). It also boasts a conference center and casino (150 tables and 1,500 machines), a spa, racquet club and 18-hole signature golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. There will ultimately be a total of 11 pools, 42 restaurants and bars, and 60,000 square feet of retail with luxury purveyors such as Tiffany’s, Bulgari and Rolex. Oh, and let us not forget the 250 palm trees.

The world-class destination resort is an imposing and impressive landmark on this small Caribbean island. It encompasses three million square feet of construction, 6,000 tons of structural steel, 500,000 sq. ft. of glass, and an abundance of StoTherm exterior insulation (more than 16,000 bags of basecoat alone) and Sto finish products including Stolit® Milano.

The project initially called for stucco exteriors, but when Baha Mar consultants visited the nearby Atlantis resort on Paradise Island and saw the aesthetic caliber and versatility of the exterior insulation finish system (EIFS) used there, as well as the weather- and moisture-resistant properties of EIFS, the specs for Baha Mar were recalibrated. The competition between building material suppliers vying for the job was fierce, but in the end Sto prevailed.

The general contractor CSCEC (China State Construction and Engineering Company) and the project owners were impressed with the personal involvement of Sto’s management team and the company’s tailored solutions. According to Jorge Angel, the Bahamian contractor and applicator who worked on the project for over 5 years, “Sto was chosen due to the quality, versatility and range of their EIFS product line, but also due to their strong presence and reputation worldwide, as well as the caliber of their personalized, hands-on customer service.”

“Having Sto as our allies on this project was the key to our success. They were a tremendous resource” said Angel. His company, KHS&S-iLand (a joint venture between KHS&S contractors in Tampa, Florida and iLand Applicators in the Bahamas), had a huge challenge taking on such a large project on a small Caribbean island. They were working with Chinese, Colombian and American management crews talking in three different languages and all working for the largest construction company in the world (the Beijing-based CSCEC).

“Choosing Sto was the best decision we made,” recalls Angel; “the company’s experience and large presence in the Caribbean and Latin American markets was the right combination we needed. Every time we had an issue, the Sto team proved quick to adjust, responding at the highest level from beginning to end.” Angel also noted that in addition to the exemplary Sto service provided, the Sto exterior continuous insulation system and finishes have withstood the test of time and adverse weather including the harsh tropical heat and two horrific hurricanes (Matthew and Irma).

The StoTherm® ci and StoGuard® waterproof air barrier system have done what they were designed to do — provide protection against moisture intrusion and promote improved energy efficiency. Baha Mar has withstood 100 mph winds; its cladding, decorative architectural features, and multi-colored finishes have fared well in the tropical climes.

The StoTherm systems and finishes have proven to offer so many advantages and benefits – resiliency, efficiency and beauty –that they will be used again in the restoration of the adjacent 700-room Melia hotel – a companion property to the Baha Mar that will tower above a tourist-pleasing eco-water park.


STO Introduces Ultra-Compact TurboStick Mini

Sto's popular Turbostick is now available in an ultra-lightweight, ultra-compact mini-version.

Sto Corp. has recently introduced Sto TurboStick® Mini, an ultra-lightweight, ultra-compact adhesive delivery system with terrific advantages over traditional cement-based adhesives. The Mini version of TurboStick now gives applicators a choice of two convenient sizes – either cartridge or cylinder — when applying Sto’s ready-to-use, single component adhesive for installing insulation boards in exterior wall claddings like StoTherm ci and ci XPS.

Unlike more traditional cementitious adhesives, Sto TurboStick doesn’t require mixing or extended drying time. It goes on easier, cures in just two hours, and generally outperforms other adhesive systems. It is also lightweight – so no heavy lifting is required to hoist it onto scaffolding; applicators simply screw in the hose and squeeze the trigger.

The Sto TurboStick Mini is easy to use and offers the fastest application of any adhesive, cutting the cure time from a full day to just a single hour. The Sto TurboStick Mini cartridge weighs just 26.3 oz. and covers 110 – 130 square feet of wall surface.

In addition to saving time, using Sto TurboStick can also save money. By cutting the cure time from a full day to two hours, and taking less time to stage materials, projects can finish faster, saving on labor costs. And with the Mini version providing additional convenience and efficiency, Turbostick offers the fastest application time of any PU-foam adhesive. Click here for StoTurbostick brochure 2018


New Improved StoGuard® Simplfies Application

New improved StoGuard® simplfies application for fluid-applied air and moisture barrier systems.

StoGuard has always been a preferred fluid-applied air and moisture barrier system for applicators. It can be used with any cladding and forms a fully-adhered seamless air and moisture barrier on an exterior wall. It ensures protection against moisture intrusion and unwanted air movement and offers a better way to meet today’s code requirements.

The new, improved StoGuard combines the benefits of Sto’s RapidGuard and RapidFill/RapidSeal, merging two products into one, streamlining this popular legacy product line and making for a simpler application process.

As building codes continue to become more complex, applicators need air moisture barrier systems such as StoGuard® that are quick and easy to install while still providing excellent performance and durability over the lifetime of the building. A water-based air and moisture barrier system, StoGuard is ideal for all types of construction, containing liquid membranes that can be applied either by roller or airless sprayer. This increases the speed of application on the wall while simplifying integration with other wall assembly components.

Common building wrap systems rely on lapping, taping, and cutting of materials to create a moisture barrier. Even when properly applied, these systems are prone to tearing and loss of adhesion, which can lead to costly callbacks or even long-term system failure. Since StoGuard systems are fully adhered to the substrate — creating a seamless, monolithic barrier — they are more effective, longer-lasting, and can be installed in a fraction of the time required to properly install a building wrap. All of these features make for a high-performance product that can save both time and money. For more information, download the StoGuard System Sales Sheet.


The Cavity Wall Conundrum

Complex, modern building designs require balancing the need to keep the building dry, airtight, thermally efficient, and code compliant. Photo © Vladimir Sazonov Shutterstock.com

A new e-book called the “Evolution of Building Enclosures”, published by Construction Specifier, offers a four-part series, including an article on what the magazine calls “the cavity wall conundrum”. Authored by Todd Skopic, a building science manager, the article provides an in-depth, technical look at the use of open-joint rain screens coupled with unconventional wall orientations. While these configurations can be appealing, they also pose a potentially dangerous combination; abating water ingress is an important issue to address, but these systems must be compliant with building codes, including those that test for combustibility.

Balancing the need to keep the building dry, airtight, thermally efficient, and code compliant can create what Skopic calls a cavity wall conundrum. As more architectural firms push the limits of building design, ensuring a safe and efficient building envelope is becoming more complex. The growing practice of combining open-joint rain screens with unconventional wall orientations, such as a backward-sloping configuration, offers a prime example.

In such structures, design teams want to prevent water ingress, but they also need to follow the latest building codes. Staying compliant with certain ones, such as the energy code, complicates matters by introducing certain materials that increase potential safety risks.

Managing water with building enclosures involves the three Ds: deflection, drainage, and drying. Open-joint rain screen systems offer an increasingly popular means to achieve the three Ds and behind every open-joint rain screen, is an air and moisture barrier to defend against water ingress. All of these solutions are subject to and must comply with an abundance of codes and regulations.

The 2012 International Building Code (IBC) requires buildings in Climate Zones 4 to 7 to have a continuous air barrier, which in most cases also takes the form of a water-resistive barrier. The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), is also driving the use of continuous insulation (ci), which in some cases is combustible. It needs to comply with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 285 – a standard fire-test method for evaluating the fire propagation characteristics of exterior, non-loadbearing wall assemblies containing combustible components.

In other words, today’s design teams are trying to design building envelopes that are watertight, airtight, thermally efficient to meet code requirements, and to be NFPA 285-compliant. Solving this ‘cavity wall conundrum’ is possible, but it requires some familiarity with the competing design challenges and different industry standards.

This in-depth, technical article discusses rain screen design, and the standards for managing air and water, in context of the codes for continuous insulation (ci), air barriers, and water-resistive barriers, as well as life safety issues related to combustibility. For instance, how do cladding attachments impact a system? What is the the value of a continuous insulation system with adhesive-backed sheet membrane that isn’t penetrated? What are the differences between sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) when used as insulation in cavity wall assemblies, vis a vis thermoplastic extruded polystyrene (XPS) which is a thermoplastic foam rigid insulation board? And how do these compare with mineral wool or fire-enhanced polyisocyanurate (polyiso) mineral wool in performance and code compliance? And what are all the codes?

Solving the Conundrum

Building designers are increasingly aware of the competing requirements and standards involved in modern cavity wall design. They should know continuous air barriers and insulation systems, along with NFPA 285 code and other compliance issues, which must be balanced with the goal of keeping water out of a building. Achieving this balance will help designers create the safest, most effective building envelope possible and thus solve the cavity wall conundrum. And on the building materials front, manufacturers need to test all their products to ensure they meet the extensive industry standards and testing.

The other chapters in the new e-book cover the benefits of specifying complete masonry veneer wall systems, defining and testing construction tape and flashing durability, and moisture in new concrete roof decks.


Advanced Insulated Wall Systems that Exceed Expectations and Code

StoTherm ci XPS is a continuous insulation system, which provides air, thermal and moisture control without the connection and compatibility challenges that characterize other systems, while also offering multiple design and finish options.

Today’s architects, specification professionals, and owners are typically looking for an insulated wall design that not only meets but exceeds the nation’s increasingly demanding code requirements. Enter the StoTherm® ci XPS continuous insulation system, which provides air, thermal and moisture control without the connection and compatibility challenges that characterize other systems, while also offering multiple design and finish options.

As the building industry adopts more stringent energy codes (Title 24, IBC, IECC, ASHRAE 90.1), the need for external insulated finish systems (EIFS) is increasing. The StoTherm ci system is highly energy efficient, minimizing heating and cooling costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The components prevent thermal bridging, thus lowering the risk of heat leakage and the attendant energy loss.

Other features that make the StoTherm ci XPS system a superior alternative to other systems include:

  • Durability and impact resistance (77% higher density and 250% higher compressive resistance than EPS)
  • Low Water Absorption (due to its closed cell structure)
  • R-Value of R5/inch (the higher the R-value, the greater the resistance to heat flow)

The system is also installation friendly; one installer and a single skilled trade person can make quick work of it. The low allowable deflection value makes for lightweight construction, which reduces overall project cost and weight per square foot.  These factors make for material and labor costs that are highly competitive, if not more economical than most other options.

A wide range of decorative and protective wall finishes (StoCreativ® Brick, granite, limestone) along with unlimited color choices make StoTherm ci XPS one of the most versatile and innovative products on the market today.