Waterproofing Commercial Buildings through Air Sealing

July 26, 2010

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Water penetration can compromise the longevity of the building if exterior commercial waterproofing is not properly installed. Weather changes that bring rain, wind, or snow can funnel enough moisture to undermine the building’s structure and compromise the indoor environment through time. Exterior walls that are moisture-logged can grow molds and rot the inner foundations, with detrimental effects.

It takes an effective exterior commercial waterproofing system utilizing air sealing barriers as one of its component to prevent the negative effects of water intrusion. Energy consumption is lower with proper air sealing, because it prevents water vapor from entering the building and lowering indoor temperatures.

Air sealing should encompass all exterior areas of the building. Exterior walls are sealed at their bottom plates using a caulk or gasket, with caulk sealing also done to inner corners of the walls. Joists, subfloors and door thresholds are also sealed with caulk, gasket or spray foam.

The rough openings in the exterior of doors and windows can also be air-sealed using backer rods or latex-based spray foams. Air sealing is also done for the electrical and plumbing components of the building. Caulking or spray foaming should seal wires, boxes, sheathings. When doing waterproofing system maintenance, any of these fixtures should have to be fixed first, before air sealing can be done.

Any other entry points where water vapor can possibly come in, such as lighting fixtures, cable wire holes, and the like, should also be sealed. Together with a good drainage plane, an effective vapor retarder and insulation system, the whole building can have an excellent air barrier setup for effective waterproofing.

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