What Factors does the Building Envelope Play in Building Restoration?
The building envelope plays an indispensable, some would say the most important, role in the structural wellbeing of any building.
The building envelope is made up of the outside walls, roof, windows ,and foundation of a structure, forming the barrier that keeps outdoor elements on the outside, where they belong. This includes air, water, noise, and weather like rain, wind, and heat.
A failing or damaged building envelope will cause problems within a building quickly. When outdoor temperatures and elements are able to permeate the building envelope, properties will suffer water and moisture damage, energy efficiency issues due to lost heat, and a loss in the durability of building materials.
When restoring a damaged building, contractors should pay special attention to the quality of the entire building envelope. They must consider aspects like flashing and caulking, vapour barriers and other moisture control mechanisms, insulation, ventilation, and drainage systems. A thorough inspection and report should highlight specific areas of concern, and areas that could become problematic in the future.
Hiring contractors who specialize in building envelope restoration is a good idea. Expert building envelope contractors may use thermal imaging to look for heat loss and other factors that may not appear to the naked eye. These specialist contractors can handle building restoration, repair, and rebuilding, inside and outside, stemming from building envelope problems that only experience can teach a contractor about.
Signs that a building envelope is failing, requiring restoration, include leaks, stained surfaces due to water ingress, poor indoor air quality, rot, mould, higher than normal energy bills, or heat loss.
Keeping a building envelope in good shape saves property owners from hefty repair costs down the line. A small building envelope fix is faster and easier to afford than replacing an entire structure and protects the long term health of structures.