Aspects of a Building Envelope
So what is it that makes a building envelope truly sealed against the outside elements? It is not necessarily a complex list, but each element is key to keeping your building exterior protected from moisture and damage.
Window and Door Detailing
Proper detailing around windows and doors is key to keeping your building from water damage. Every small space must be sealed and painted sufficiently.
Modern construction uses self-adhesive membranes in order to seal a building tightly. A self-adhesive membrane is the waterproofing layer for the foundation, where the dangers of water damage are obvious. The snug fit and impermeability of self-adhesive membranes make them indispensable to a complete and effective building envelope.
You've probably heard of caulk because it's used around showers, bathtubs, and in places where a seam needs to be sealed inside a building. But construction caulking is used to seal the seams of a building where nothing else can fill and seal.
Flashing materials are often lead, aluminium, copper, stainless or galvanized steel, zinc alloy, or other metals. Flashing is inserted where water is sure to drip through, and the surface of the metal is aimed so the water is propelled away from the building.
Cladding is another way to provide a skin for the building, by putting one material on top of another in order to create an impenetrable layer. Plus, water is again channelled away from the building.
Rain Screen and Face Seal Wall Systems
Face seal wall systems are a fairly simple concept. The entire wall is sealed, top to bottom, using caulking where necessary to create a complete seal. On the other hand, rain screen wall systems resist water from the outside, but also include an air gap between the exterior wall and the structure of the house. Many say rain screen systems are better because they allow for the movement of air where a face seal system keeps moisture in as well as out. But both systems can successfully be used to keep your building safe and dry.