emergency_leak_repairs

What to Expect in Emergency Leak Repairs

Commercial building maintenance will inevitably encounter emergency leak repairs in the structure’s building envelope. While commercial building flood damages account for more than $13 billion annually, as reported by CNBC, there’s another way that water infiltration can enter and damage your building: in the building envelope. Whether damage to the building envelope occurs over time or swiftly, in some cases an emergency repair might be essential. Knowing when it is time to replace commercial windows and doors and when temporary repairs will suffice is crucial for building owners to the total cost of ownership. 

What Are Emergency Leak Repairs and Their Typical Causes?

Unfortunately, no one is safe when it comes to building and maintenance repairs. Situations like commercial roof flashing system failure or cracks in concrete that will sabotage the building’s envelope will develop in a matter of time. Emergency leak repairs keep everything functioning temporarily, and if done correctly, they will fix the issue. Emergency repairs happen when the weather, age, physical damage, and broken windows or doors wear down the building and the protective layers and coatings. Erosion and decay occur naturally, but everyday use and poor weather conditions can accelerate these problems. In addition to these issues, faulty HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, and unchecked damages on the roof and windows can lead to untimely repairs. It can be unpredictable at times, so getting ahead of the issues is best.  

Steps Common in Emergency Leak Repairs

A few common steps can be helpful when tackling these repairs. Typically, the repairs process involves materials like commercial concrete sealers and sealants, as well as documentation and testing. Here are some examples: 

  • Temporary Sealant: When the structure is complete, permanent sealants are used, but age and weather can wear these down. After identifying the issue, one of the first steps for emergency leak repairs would be to use a temporary sealant to prevent further damage. 
  • Temporary Caulking: Much like the sealant, caulking also keeps unwanted issues out of the building envelope and assists with resealing. 
  • Water Testing: Water testing helps confirm that nothing can penetrate the barrier between the elements and the property. 
  • Photo Documentation: Outsourcing to contractors can be nervewracking for small to midsize businesses. If working with a limited budget, you want to ensure that the work is done properly and in a timely manner. Photo documentation will help assure proprietors their asset is protected to the fullest. 

How to Help Prevent Failure of the Building Envelope

Preventing the failure of the commercial building envelope begins with preventative maintenance. Whether building maintenance is performed in-house or outsourced, the right information, knowledge of materials, training for the upkeep of the building and the materials it is made of will be the difference between emergency leak repairs and a replacement or remodel. Utilizing resources for commercial glass repair, replacement and maintenance and hiring contractors will help keep the integrity of the building intact. The skills and professional quality ensure the repair is made correctly the first time and will save money on repairs in the long term if the job is not completed properly. 

Streamline Emergency Leak Repairs With the Right Partner

The best avenue to bolster building maintenance and streamline emergency leak repairs is to hire the right contractor for the job. Contractors with the skill and experience to make the repairs and document their work will keep the building envelope intact and hold them accountable for their job performance. Harm to the building’s envelope is inevitable between natural wear and tear and unpredictable, unforeseen circumstances such as damage to the building or inclement weather. Contact the EdsWaterproofing today for a job done right the first time

commercial_glass_repair

The Guide to Commercial Glass Repair, Replacement and Maintenance

Of all the issues commercial building managers have to keep up with, high-rise window replacement and maintenance is perhaps one of the most vital yet overlooked. The biggest reason many building managers decide not to invest in high-performing glass products or choose to put off vital repair and maintenance work simply comes down to cost. Oftentimes, the best quality products are budgeted out of a project simply for the sake of saving money on the initial cost of installation and building maintenance. However, the price tag for quality glass installation should be compared to the long-term costs of building construction and maintenance. In almost all cases, investing in the highest possible quality right from the start will more than pay for itself in less maintenance and repair expenses and overall energy savings. Commercial glass replacement can be pricey but dealing with massive cleanups and replacement costs can cost a great deal more.

Commercial glass maintenance is about more than just keeping windows and doors looking nice. Choosing the right quality glass and glass treatments can greatly reduce energy expenses and lighting costs and help building management to better control waste and maintain sustainability all year round.  According to Glass Magazine, “HVAC systems account for about 40 percent of total energy use in commercial buildings, according to the Department of Energy. Meanwhile, lighting systems capture about 16 percent of electricity costs.” This can greatly expand the expenses associated with keeping large high-rise buildings and offices light and temperature controlled. However, building owners can offset these costs by opting for high-performance glass and glazing products, utilizing smart window placement,  applying commercial glass tinting, and being energy-minded with the rest of their glass-related maintenance and upkeep.

What Is Commercial Glass Repair?

If a window in a home gets damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced, the homeowner simply calls a contractor or window installation expert to take care of things. The job itself is fairly easy and the worst that may be needed is a ladder to reach second-story windows or any decorative windows in an attic or crawlspace area. The process is fairly straightforward. However, this is far from the case when dealing with commercial glass repairs in large buildings, high-rises, and skyscrapers.  

For these sorts of glass repair and maintenance services, only highly trained and specially licensed workers are allowed to handle the glass and ascend to such great heights to deal with these sorts of glass repair and commercial window maintenance needs. In a nutshell, commercial glass repair focuses on addressing issues with cracks, chips, seals, and leaks that occur on glass panes typically found on commercial buildings and commercial high-rises.  These services often focus on larger buildings such as apartments and condos, office buildings, commercial centers, skyscrapers, and other large buildings with many glass windows and panels. It takes a highly specialized high-rise glass repair team to safely handle this sort of work.

Working with a fully trained and reputable contractor or glass company is essential when it comes to commercial glass care and maintenance. From specialized cleaning services to waterproofing membranes, to tints and glazing, many specialized services exist that can present a unique challenge when it comes to the care and upkeep of these glass panels. At these kinds of heights, with so many glass windows and panels, and so much care and attention needed, cutting corners and trying to cut costs by skimping on quality services is never a good idea. It is critical to work with skilled and experienced experts any time any work needs to be done on these sorts of glass panels, glass doors for commercial buildings, and other glass structures. 

What Causes Damage to Commercial Glass?

As is the case with any pane of glass, similar factors can lead to the commercial glass being damaged to the point it needs to be repaired or replaced. The difference is in the details and the specific ways these factors damage and impact the glass. Some of the things that can damage commercial glass include:

  • Environmental elements
    High-rises and larger buildings are known for one major characteristic- they go far up into the sky. That high up, the normal elements that would impact glass have an even bigger and more devastating impact. Wind, rain, sun, and temperatures are more extreme at these heights and can more easily damage glass panes and windows.
  • Natural forces and acts of God
    At these higher altitudes, glass panes and windows can be impacted more by environmental factors. Storms are more intense and wind pressure greater so the chance of glass breaking is higher. Additionally, there are other ‘acts of god’ that can damage commercial glass. These include things like hurricanes, hail storms, and the like.
  • Poor commercial glass window washing
    It is important to keep windows clean, and not just for aesthetic reasons. Dirt can weigh down the windows if it is allowed to accumulate and can create points of added pressure. These points on the glass can be more prone to cracking and breaking. Dirt and debris on the windows can also scratch the surface and create additional weak spots over time.
  • Accidents and mishaps during upkeep

Sometimes certain situations arise that really could not be fully prepared for or avoided. Maintenance workers could accidentally bump the glass while working and cause it to crack or shatter. Someone inside the building could fall into the glass and damage glass windows. Or a freak mishap with a bird crashing into the glass could cause damage to the glass.

  • Minor damage that spreads
    The final factor to consider when talking about how damage occurs comes down to laziness and poor commercial glass maintenance. When cracks, ships, or other issues are noted, it is important to address them right away. Small cracks will quickly grow and chips can create weak areas that will only worsen the longer they are ignored.

When to Repair Glass Versus Replace Commercial Glass

If your glass windows or a glass door for commercial buildings has suffered minor damages, the question that has to be answered is how are you going to deal with it. Obviously, the damage needs to be dealt with, but is it better to repair damaged windows or just outright replace them? This can be difficult to determine at times but generally, the following considerations can help building owners decide what the right course of action is:

When to Repair
It generally is ok to simply repair commercial glass if the minor damages impact small or non-essential parts of the window structure. Leaking caulking and seals, a stubborn window that is hard to open, air and water infiltration, small scratches in tint and glaze coatings, and similar issues can all generally be repaired with relative ease. This does not mean you can put off commercial glass maintenance and repair indefinitely. Caulk and sealant issues can allow for water intrusion and can affect the stability of the window. Scratches and issues with window coatings can make the panes more susceptible to further damage. And it is a major health and safety risk to have anyone in a high-rise office with windows that are meant to be opened that cannot be opened easily. In case of minor damages and issues such as these, the cost of repairing the windows may turn out to be lower than replacing them outright.

When to Replace
On the flip side of the repair or replace debate is a situation where the window or glass in a commercial high-rise has been so damaged or compromised to such an extent that it is too dangerous to leave it in place. Major damage can include large cracks and chips in the glass, deep scratches in the coatings or window surface, windows and glass panes that appear loose, and of course, major breakage or signs of imminent failure of the glass. Keeping up with necessary high-rise window replacement work is vital to preserving the structural integrity of the glass. Any sort of major glass damage or window failure needs to be immediately reported, people need to avoid the area, and professionals need to be called in to remove the damaged glass and replace it as soon as possible. The risks of severe injury far outweigh the costs involved with overall building façade maintenance.

Considerations in Making Commercial Glass Work

When your building requires commercial window maintenance and glass repairs it is important to carefully consider several important aspects of this high-rise and high-risk task. It is no easy feat to get to windows 100 stories in the air and it is an even greater challenge to work on glass windows or replace huge glass panes at those altitudes.

Right from the start, there is an obvious concern over the safety of the workers doing the repairs. They are working at high altitudes, off the ground, moving around cranes and lifts and other pieces of equipment, and working with huge panes of glass. Getting everything up to the right level is a challenge in and of itself. Then they have to repair or replace the window and move new glass panes into place and follow detailed and precise protocols. All the while, they are dealing with high winds, low temperatures, and other hazards. Working with a skilled and professional high-rise glass repair team is vital, not just to ensure a successful repair job, but also to ensure the safety of everyone in the general vicinity.

On the flip side of things is the fact that ignoring the damage to a window or glass door for a commercial building can end up costing a business a great deal financially. A recent report highlighted by Buildings.com estimates that 39% of commercial heating energy use and 28% of commercial cooling energy use are impacted by windows in the building. The same study showed that more than 34% of all commercial space energy consumption waste is attributable to windows. Fortunately, improvements in window design have made it easier to maximize the protection and performance of window and glazing systems. New types of glass and improved window designs can also help guard against issues with heat transfer through the windows. This is why keeping up with commercial glass window washing, routine inspections, and testing, and regular maintenance and upkeep is important for building owners. 

Types of Commercial Glass

With new advances and improved technology, glass can be made in more ways than ever before, a critical consideration for high-rise glass installation. Regular glass like what is used in homes and normal office buildings is not the same as what is found on skyscrapers and commercial buildings. Some of the common commercial glass specifications available include:

  • Heat gain and loss control
  • Visual treatments
  • Shading and sun control    
  • Thermal comfort and regulation
  • Condensation control
  • Ultraviolet control
  • Acoustic noise suppression
  • Color effects
  • Commercial waterproofing
  • Energy requirements
  • And more

Common types of glass used in various kinds of commercial buildings include:

  • Gas-filled
  • Single pane
  • Double pane
  • Tinted
  • Tempered
  • Crack-resistant
  • Impact-resistant 
  • Reflective
  • Bulletproof

Window glass in skyscrapers and high-rises is designed with commercial window maintenance in mind and is usually made of shatter and break-proof glass that is designed to be less damaging if the glass falls from great heights due to window failure. Likewise, considering other features such as insulation properties, reflectiveness, color, and commercial glass tinting, and more should also carefully be accounted for. Commercial waterproofing and sealants are also worth taking note of. Matching the performance characteristics of the building and its location, as well as where in the building itself the glass is located, are also important considerations to keep in mind for commercial glass repairs and maintenance.

Tips to Improve Commercial Glass Maintenance

Keeping up with necessary commercial glass maintenance and the repair of glass structures in high-rise buildings are never-ending. According to a veteran window cleaner interviewed in the New York Times, “a standard 50-floor skyscraper would take 30 to 40 days to clean in its entirety. The Empire State Building, by contrast, with its 102 floors, takes six men about four months to clean — and once they’re done, the window cleaners have to start all over again.” With this level of frequency, glass cleaning, repair, and maintenance need to be as routine as any other interior cleaning and inspection schedule. The following tips can help building managers stay on top of commercial glass maintenance and ensure overall window cleaning safety:

Regularly wash and inspect glass for signs of damage. 

Regular commercial glass window washing is good for general window care and maintenance. The more often the glass gets cleaned the more opportunities there are to do inspections and catch minor issues and concerns before they become major problems.

Schedule a qualified inspection at least biannually or seasonally, depending on climate.

Surface level inspections by window washers and maintenance crews are good but a professional inspection needs to be done regularly as well. Water and air intrusion tests, safety checks, and code enforcement inspections are vital maintenance services as well.

Address any cracks as soon as possible.

Small cracks and chips can quickly become a big issue. Weakened glass is more prone to further breakage and can pose a major safety concern for those in and around the building. Small cracks can be repaired but major cracks require commercial glass replacement.

Ensure scratches are closely monitored.
While they are not as serious and urgent as a crack or chip, scratches on the window surface also need to be noted and monitored. In places of high winds or extremely low temperatures, scratches can open up the glass to further damage and eventual breakage.

Know the types of glass used in your buildings.

Every type of glass has slightly different parameters for what it can and cannot tolerate and support. Knowing what glass is used in the various areas of a high-rise building makes it easier to do maintenance checks and to ensure repairs and upgrades are done correctly.

Know when to repair versus replace panes. 

A quick repair job may get a damaged window stable when dealing with minor issues like commercial glass tinting damage or minor scratches. Other times an immediate replacement is needed to protect the integrity of the building and those in the area.

Test glass for signs of air and water penetration.

Along with visual inspections for signs of wear and tear or damage, professional inspections need to include air and water intrusion tests. These can help easily pinpoint issues with commercial windows and glass door for commercial buildings.

Ensure your team and service provider is using the right type of sealants. 

While maintenance and cleaning of windows are critical for high-rises, it is equally important to ensure the correct materials and products are used. Improper weather-proofing materials and harmful cleaning products can weaken and damage the glass rather than protect it.

Maintain scaffolding and platform equipment for commercial window maintenance.

With extreme high-rises and larger buildings, the need to be in the air on the face of the building is near-constant. Maintaining scaffolding and equipment means inspections and maintenance work can be done more quickly and issues can be addressed more effectively.

Realize the need to maintain the full exterior to keep the glass in the best shape.

Commercial window maintenance also involved elements of the building’s exterior beyond the glass itself. Maintaining the actual physical structure the windows are set in and all related support structures can also help ensure windows and glass panes remain intact.

The Benefits of Proper Glass Maintenance

Proper glass maintenance and commercial glass replacement can bring with it a wide range of benefits, the most obvious being a safe working environment. We have also already touched on how commercial glass maintenance and repair can help conserve energy and create a more structurally sound environment. However, there are other benefits worth considering for hi-rise exterior maintenance and upkeep.

Protects the Glass
Dirt, dust, smog, and debris will naturally accumulate on windows over time. Cleaning glass windows help ensure sufficient light passes through them so the interior space can benefit from natural lighting. This can help maintain higher comfort levels for those inside and will also ensure the living and working conditions of the inhabitants of the building don’t suffer.

Health Benefits
Sunlight is important for physical as well as mental health. Vitamin D comes from the sun, which promotes optimal physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that working in dark, isolated spaces negatively impact worker motivation and performance. By keeping commercial building’s windows clean and letting in natural light, this is avoided.

Prolong Building Longevity
A tall building experiences more impact from wind and debris than lower buildings. The size of the building itself can also stress windows over time due to the pressure and weight the glass experiences. This exposure will weaken glass panes over time and cause cracking and breaking if not maintained. That’s why abandoned buildings lose their windows. 

Reflect Light Not Absorb
The more grime that builds on the surface of a commercial building, the worse it becomes for everyone. Not only does the building become an ugly eyesore in the neighborhood, but it can also affect the surrounding buildings that rely on light reflecting off that building to keep them out of its shadow. Glass will reflect light, dirt, and grime will absorb light.

Considering these and many other benefits of commercial glass repair and upkeep, it becomes all the more apparent why building management teams must stay on top of high-rise window replacement, and high-rise window cleaning and general upkeep.

Lower Building Total Cost of Ownership With a Complete Building Exterior Maintenance Program From the Right Partner.

The features of commercial glass, as well as what basic type of glass used, can vary greatly depending on several factors unique to each building. A skilled and experienced high-rise glass repair team will be able to match your unique commercial window needs to the best maintenance and repair services available.

 Areas that are prone to high winds or high rain need glass with greater resistance to impact damage as well as specialized coatings to help keep things water and airtight. As you get higher above ground, it becomes more critical to use specialized commercial glass to ensure safe and effective building operations. Choosing the right quality glass and glass treatments can greatly reduce energy expenses and lighting costs and help building management better manage expenses with better commercial glass replacement and repair options.

Questions and concerns about what kind of glass to use, what additional treatments or products should be utilized, how often inspections and repair work should be performed, and whether upgrades should be done regularly or only when windows are damaged or need replacing are just some of the issues building manager teams need to consider. It can be confusing to make sense of it all and to make the right choices every single time commercial glass repairs or maintenance are needed. Working with a team of professionals, who have experience dealing with high-rise commercial buildings and commercial glass services can provide reliable guidance when it is needed the most. Request a consultation with Edswaterproofing to et a commercial glass maintenance and upkeep plan, implemented by a certified high-rise glass repair team today.

commercial_roof_flashing

Commercial Roof Flashing System Failure Causes and Reasons Not to Ignore It

Commercial roof flashing can prevent water leaks and damages from occurring on a building and leading to more complex and costly issues. Repairing or observing roof flashing has a lot smaller price tag than paying for an entirely new roof. Looking at the difference price-wise between the two,  “The cost of roof flashing repairs is also subject to the total cost of the roofing repair as a whole, and if the whole roof requires replacement due to flashing system failure, technically the flashing repair becomes an $8,000+ cost for a flat roof or around $7,000 for shingled roofs. It’s all subject to the type of roof on the commercial building and how extensive the commercial roof flashing system failure is, explains Forbes. Keeping tabs on the roof flashing system can be difficult to remember, but handling the outcome of not keeping a close eye on the flashings is even worse. Not noticing the damages and failures in roof flashings can lead to water leaks, water damages, and potentially the need for a new building structure.

What Are Commercial Roof Flashings?

Flashing is a material installed to direct rainwater and other precipitation away from the roof and into the gutter to prevent water from causing issues. Some roof areas have a higher chance of causing a leak, especially where the water collects and sits, like valleys where two roof slopes meet. Due to the potentially extreme damage water can cause, flashings get installed at every point where the roof joins another structure—including chimneys, dormers, skylights, and vents. Commercial roof flashing can protect the roof from forming a leak, leading to needing a new structure on a house if left untreated. 

Installing commercial roof flashing can be quite time-consuming due to the many different steps required. Usually, experts install flashing during the construction of a building and complete it before the siding goes up, so the flashing will usually not be noticeable. Additionally, that means for a repair job to be done on the flashing, the siding must get removed to reach the actual flashing. Proper flashing installation requires a professional, and before starting, they will see if the wall receiving flashing has a corner on the roof face. This will alter the installation process due to different pieces being made to fit the edges of the corner. Depending on what aspect the flashing will be against, for example, a plumbing vent, chimney, or if there is a wall corner or not, can alter the installation process and the materials used.

Materials Used For Flashings

Using the wrong material for commercial roof flashing can lead to failure and water leaks through the roof. Usually, determining which material to use for flashing comes down to a material that will not degrade from contact with another incompatible material and flashing material for roof flashing that is impermeable to water. 

  • Plastic and Rubber: This is often primarily used as caulking. Plastic and rubber are excellent water-repellents when applied as flashing.
  • PVC and TPO: Both PVC and TPO are popular types of roofing systems, and the same material can be used as incredibly effective and durable flashing.
  • Roofing Felt: Asphalt-saturated roofing felt can be used as flashing but is not as durable.
  • Aluminum: It’s durable, easy to form, and somewhat inexpensive. When left in contact with an alkaline material like concrete, or treated lumber, aluminum flashing will corrode.
  • Galvanized Steel: Not as durable as other options, but it is very inexpensive.
  • Copper and Lead-Coated Copper: More difficult to bend and form than aluminum but much more durable. Copper flashing is common with the installation of solar panel piping, wiring, and sensor connections.
  • Lead: Super-flexible and durable, lead is a popular choice in the roofing industry. There are some potential health risks, but the use of lead flashing continues, and when properly installed, can last up to 200 years.

Done properly, installing flashing can provide protection (and a sense of relief) against water damage and other serious issues. Rather than wondering what is roof flashing, educate yourself on flashing and the serious risks of ignoring flashing issues. That knowledge could save a lot of money and a building from needing a new structure.

What Are the Types of Roof Flashings?

To properly avoid roof leaks, damaged or improperly installed roof flashing must be accounted for and thoroughly examined. There are various flashes used and they will vary on the material used and when to use them. The roof flashing types include:

  • Ridge Flashing: This flashing is applied at the “peak” of a dually sloped roof.
  • Bargeboard: This is the flashing along sloped roof edges.
  • Wall Abutment: This is where roof edges meet walls.
  • Corner Flashing: This flashing is used where walls meet, and it runs from roof to floor.
  • Inverted Corner Flashing: This flashing is used when the corner of a structure meets a wall. Instead of wrapping around the corner like “corner flashing,” flashing is applied in an “inverted corner” from roof to floor.
  • Eaves Flashing: This flashing runs along the length of flat edges of a roofing system.
  • Drip Cill Flashing: This is the flashing that runs along the lower perimeter or at the foundation.
  • Valley Flashing: The point where two downward slopes meet is where valley flashing is applied.
  • Step Fashing: Commonly used in place of wall abutments or chimney and skylight flashing (on slopes), step flashing is the downward overlapping alternate layering of roofing and flashing material.
  • Metal Edge Flashing: Also known as “drip edge flashing,” installed around the perimeter of a roofing system to direct the flow of water off of it without entering the structure. 
  • Saddle Flashing: This flashing is used where joists meet walls or other support structures, wrapping around connection points to form a water-tight seal.
  • Vent Pipe/Exhaust Flashing: This flashing provides a water-tight seal at the point where the vent or exhaust pipe protrudes through a roof.
  • Cap Flashing: This flashing is usually composed of metal and shields the membrane base’s upper edges, flashing along the top of a wall or column.

Causes of Roof Flashing System Failures

When flashing failure occurs, the root cause is either  loose  or wrinkled flashing. Failures of this nature can occur due to extreme fluctuations in temperature, poor installation, and if the roofing plans were unavailable. If the flashing shows obvious signs of damage or deterioration, this can cause issues with the inner roofing structure and make it more prone to water leaks. Depending on where the leak leads to, a moisture buildup can occur and potentially affect the roof’s wooden structure to rot. If a leak goes unnoticed, this can weaken or compromise the entire roof structure of the building and potentially need replacing. 

Extreme Temperature Changes

A dramatic change in the temperature can cause the roofing to expand and contract. Due to this, the flashing may pull away from the roof, making it ineffective. This problem usually occurs around vertical dormers, parapet walls, story walls, and other vertical roofing surfaces.

Poor Installation

The most common cause of roof flashing failure is improper installation. Installing components such as gutters, flashing, and roofing should always be done by a professional. Hiring a professional, experienced contractor can save the time and money otherwise spent to replace the flashing from poor installation. 

Unavailable Roofing Plans

The flashing can also fail because the original specifications of the roof were not available during the replacement or repair. This can result in the wrong material, technique, or type of flashing used. A reliable roofer should be able to provide you with plans to help avoid flashing issues.

Settling Foundation

When commercial roof flashing has been attached to the foundation of a building, failure almost always occurs. With foundation issues in a building, the cracks and problems do not always show up automatically. The most common places to notice cracks in the foundation are within the door frames and near the roof. Cracks can happen when the house’s foundation and structure finally settle into place. Additionally, the flashing may become loose once settling occurs. If the building has a fireplace or chimney, the signs will be most noticeable in those areas. 

If a leak goes unnoticed or worse, untreated, this can affect the entire building by impacting the drywall inside the building. Moisture can seep in, saturate the building, and cause waterlogging. Serious health hazards could develop, including the formation and spread of mold and fungi. Additionally, due to the drywall losing durability and the added weight of the leak, the drywall will potentially collapse. To avoid replacing the entire building structure or just the roof, fix issues as soon as they arise. 

What to Do About Commercial Roof Flashing Failures

To ensure the commercial roof flashing is up to standard and working as designed, regular inspections and maintenance can help spot the signs of needed repair. Some companies can perform inspections on the roof to check further to see if signs of damage have started. To fix a flashing failure, first look for the signs that the flashing is not working or needs replacing. Check the flashing for damages or bending, corrosion or rusting, loose or missing nails, dried out or missing sealant, or loose flashing.  If any of those problems are present, it might be time to replace the flashing to prevent water leaks and protect the structural integrity of the building. 

Loose Flashing

Flashing will commonly have issues attaching to the foundation of a structure, resulting inthe flashing becoming loose quickly. Loose flashing can occur due to faulty installation or, more so, from problems with the foundation. Having a contractor look at the flashing can bring issues with the foundation to light, such as cracks or stress fractures. 

Wrinkled Flashing

If the flashing shows apparent signs of wrinkles, this usually is from the weather. If the area receives extreme temperatures, this can cause warping from constant contraction and expansion of the roofing materials. High temperatures and excessive heat cause the roofing to expand, and lower temps a bitter cold cause contraction. When wrinkling occurs, the flashing will shorten in length and expose areas of the roof that should have coverage. Once the exposure occurs, the water will have full access to the roofing system and quickly affect the building. 

Some may not have the opportunity to check the roof or roof flashings as often as they should. Rather than having to climb on the roof and look at the flashings, there are a few ways to tell if flashing failure occurs. Here are a few other signs to watch for that can signal the issue with flashing:

  • Rust: flashing can corrode over time and cause rusting to become visible. When the flashing shows rust, it will no longer protect the roof against water penetration and require cleaning, sealing, or even replacing.
  • Holes: Even the smallest hole could cause water to look beneath the buildings’ shingles and start to cause issues. Also, be on the lookout for small animals causing holes in the roofing. Holes will require new sealant before causing major problems.
  • Cracks, dents, and bends: Such damages can cause breaks on the galvanized coating on steel, which can cause rusting to begin if not appropriately treated.
  • Missing parts: Parts can come loose and come off the roof due to high winds or extreme weather conditions. Immediately repair or replace any missing pieces of flashing.
  • Leaks inside the building: Signs of water leaks or damages inside the house make it more apparent the flashing has issues. The first places to check would be the fireplace, windows, attic, and skylight for signs of leaks. 
  • Damaged shingles or siding: If there was an installation error with the flashing and water does not shed the roof through the gutter, the shingles may also show signs of water damage such as bending and darkening, especially closer to the flashing.
  • Mold or stains on fascia boards: Mold is a potentially dire health risk for anyone living in or visiting the building. Improperly installed drip edge flashing can lead to mold and water stains developing on fascia boards.

Improve Roof Flashing System Longevity by Partnering With The JOBS Group.

Flashing can protect a building from water damage and other significant issues through proper installation and care. Commercial roof flashing can provide peace of mind against water damages or the need for a new structure on a building. Proper installation and upkeep of roof flashings are vital to maintaining the waterproofing properties for longevity. Staying on top of the proper maintenance and inspection of buildings and flashing needs can be difficult to prioritize. Rather than falling woefully behind on essential tasks while trying to manage your building, choose a partner that can help. Contact EDSWaterproofing today to save your roof flashing and building. 

types of concrete sealers

A Guide to the Types of Commercial Concrete Sealers & Their Role in Concrete Upkeep

Many different building materials are visible in commercial buildings and structures, and all of them need some sort of waterproofing membrane or sealant to protect them from the elements. Of all the building materials available today, concrete is still among the most common, particularly when considering exterior facades and visible components of most commercial structures these days. Concrete, of course, is a porous material that is easy to use on taller skyscrapers and buildings. The lighter weight of concrete, compared to other materials, is due to that porous composition that lets it breathe freely and absorbs water and air. Commercial concrete sealers can make a world of difference in preserving the aesthetics and durability of the façade and exterior components and many interior aspects.  Understanding the various types of concrete sealers available and their role in concrete repair and maintenance is a critical part of commercial building management and maintenance. 

Waterproofing and Sealing Basics

A lot goes into applying waterproofing sealants to commercial buildings and dealing with resealing concrete, however, including hazard awareness, safety concerns, injury prevention, and integral concerns. According to the official OSHA website, “the hazards experienced in the sealant, waterproofing, and restoration industry are common to the construction industry in general. These include health hazards, such as asphalt fumes, lead, silica, and solvents; and safety hazards, such as falls from elevation, awkward and heavy lifting, flammables, and power tools. An important step in addressing these hazards is to conduct task-specific hazard analyses to identify what hazards to expect and to then plan for their control.” Sealing is essential for protecting porous surfaces from damage and maximizing the lifespans of building facades. Commercial building waterproofing envelopes can protect against:

  • Water damage
  • Temperature damage
  • Chemical damage
  • Stains and discolorations
  • Abrasions and chips
  • UV and sun damage
  • Cracks and separations
  • Shock and vibration damages
  • Foot traffic wear and tear

However, choosing the wrong sealant can cause problems with the appearance and integrity of the building. It can also lead to wasted time, money, and resources if the sealant needs to be  removed or reapplied more often than what would otherwise be required.  Correcting commercial concrete sealer mistakes is a costly and labor-intensive process, so choosing the proper waterproofing sealant and correctly installing the envelope is of the utmost importance for a successful and long-lasting seal. Failure to do so can lead to a myriad of commercial building water damages.

Safety And Hazard Control When Applying Different Types of Concrete Sealers 

This essential aspect of commercial building maintenance and upkeep requires specialized training and a unique skill set. It is always best to leave waterproofing and leak investigation work to the pros. They can ensure a proper application, thanks to extensive training with the various products, chemicals, equipment, and gear needed to do the job. 

Working with commercial concrete seal experts makes it easier to ensure they follow all proper guidelines, regulations, and protocols while working. As highlighted by the Sealant, Weatherproofing, & Restoration Institute, “Where feasible, workplace hazards are prevented by effective design of the job site or job. Where it is not feasible to eliminate such hazards, they must be controlled to prevent unsafe and unhealthy exposure. Once a potential hazard is recognized, the elimination or control must be done promptly.” These procedures often cover essential measures that can include: 

  • Using manufacturing skills, equipment, and techniques when needed to address issues. 
  • Maintaining the facility and regularly using equipment to keep things up and running. 
  • Using managerial controls to reduce exposure frequency and combat natural forces.  
  • Training supervisors to perform site inspections and safety checks.  
  • Establishing safety and medical stations on-site to ensure staff safety at all times.
  • Addressing any safety hazards as soon as they are known.
  • Implementing water leak detection checks and protocols throughout the building. 
  • Providing proper training for all team members on equipment and machinery.
  • Maintaining strong lines of communication and making it easy to share data, reports, and updates.

Training makes up a significant component of management. Keeping up effective safety protocols for waterproofing and maintenance teams requires constant observation and inspections. Likewise, careful monitoring of critical aspects of building renovation and upkeep is also needed. Proper training must address the responsibilities of both management and employees at the site. Employees should be able to recognize  hazards and have the ability to observe something or someone and know that there is a problem or concern that requires attention.

The Basics of Commercial Concrete Sealing

Concrete sealing involves the application of a specially developed compound to the surface of the concrete or other stone materials that will shield it from the damaging effects of the weather and environment. Choosing from the many types of concrete sealers and coatings can sometimes be overwhelming, but it gets easier when basic classifications break it down. 

Topical film-forming sealers create a layer of waterproofing on top of the material and dry to form a protecting coating or shell of sorts. A penetrating concrete sealer soaks into the concrete to waterproof it and allows for a more natural look and feel to the stone while still making it water-resistant.

Concrete pavement requires a great deal of time and money, but several key benefits arise after a seal coat has been applied:

  • Blocks water intrusion.
  • Prolongs the longevity and durability of the material.
  • Provides an extra layer of protection against wind, rain, sun, and other elements.
  • Creates a barrier against oil, chemicals, aging, etc.
  • IMakes snow melt faster and water dry faster so it won’t soak into the material.
  • Keeps the cost and frequency of basic repairs and maintenance down.
  • Improves curb appeal and keeps the exterior looking clean and neat.

When to Apply a Sealant Coat to Concrete

In most cases, the sealant should go on the building as soon as the new concrete will support the weight of the installer and any scaffold ting and apparatuses needed. Sometimes the concrete must be fully cured before application; that is determined and accounted for during the planning stage.. Curing most concrete usually takes up to 30 days. 

Regardless of timing, applying sealant is a can’t-skip step because the building envelope is a critical part of the exterior structure. Virtually all pavements benefit from being seal-coated, and industry experts recommend applying the initial waterproofing application within the first year of construction. The process should be repeated every two to four years, or however often is needed based on a specific factor, as part of a general maintenance plan. On business properties, professionals should apply commercial concrete sealers for the best results through small touch-ups on an as-needed basis. 

What Does the Process of Concrete Sealant Application Look Like?

How a sealer gets applied to the building can profoundly affect the final outcome and performance. Therefore, it is important to choose the proper sealant and application method combined with environmental factors and other conditions Using the right tools makes it easier to achieve the best coverage rate and get the coating just right to seal the building without it being too thick and bulky or failing to get the layer thick enough or evenly applied. While there are some general rules for sealant services and applications,  all trained and experienced applicators refer to specific guidelines and handling protocols for each product. The most important rule to remember is that less is more, regardless of the method used to apply the many types of concrete sealers.

Spray

  • Used with thinner coatings and more liquid or watery products.
  • Commonly used for a product that soaks into the material.
  • Often applied in multiple layers to allow for deeper penetration.
  • Dries fairly quickly and can be applied in layers easily.
  • It can be difficult to cover larger areas evenly since sprays dry so fast.

Roll

  • Used with thicker coatings that have a paint- or glue-like consistency.
  • Commonly used with coatings that cover the exterior and dry hard.
  • Layers can easily be applied to larger areas with a brush or rollers.
  • Much slower to dry due to the thicker, wetter consistency.
  • It may be a little cumbersome to work with for smaller applications.

Given the competitive market and high demand for waterproofing services, commercial building managers must fully understand the available options. As highlighted by Waterproof Magazine: “Currently, liquid-applied membranes account for 67.2% of total vertically-applied product last year, and are the fastest-growing segment. Advances in material chemistry, including polyurethanes, spray-applied air barriers, and rubber polymers ensure liquid-applied coatings will continue to be the fastest-growing segment of the commercial waterproofing market. Sheet membrane applications will see less growth. Global Marketing Insights estimates they will average 6.2% growth annually through 2022.” Both methods of application can be effective, and one is not necessarily better than the other outright. It depends on the type of sealer being applied, where it is being used, the type of material being treated, and many other specific factors.  

Topical Sealants Protect Building Surfaces From Wear and Tear

There are several types of topical sealants for building waterproofing, each with its own set of pros and cons. It is important to keep in mind that topical sealants often require some sort of pre-treatment, sanding or other preparation of the material before application to ensure the coating adheres fully.

Acrylic

Readily available and among the most common types of topical waterproofing seals used on commercial buildings, acrylic sealers can also help enhance the beauty of concrete and brick facades. They protect against water infiltration, heat and cold, mold and mildew, and general wear and tear. Acrylic sealant is also among the most cost-effective choices. 

Pros 

  • Available in satin, low-gloss, high-gloss, and tinted finishes
  • Easy to get and apply to a variety of surfaces
  • Affordable and easy to budget for resealing concrete

Cons

  • Less durable than other sealants available
  • Needs to be reapplied more frequently
  • Certain finishes can discolor the façade materials

Epoxy

This type of waterproof treatment is a good choice when a longer life span is needed. Like other affordable sealants, epoxy is easy to apply with spray or roll applications. Suitability largely depends on the exact product used and the size of the coverage area.

Pros

  • Seals well and blocks out moisture and water
  • Reflective and helps to reduce weathering from the sun
  • Dries clear to preserve the color of the materials

Cons

  • Can be used only on fully cured concrete
  • Often takes longer to dry than other products
  • Risk of fumes and odors greater during the curing process

Polyurethane

Polyurethane produces a durable coating that is resistant to wear. It also offers UV resistance, gloss, and color enhancement. Polyurethane waterproofing materials provide long-term protection that looks great and can help shield building materials from wear and tear and breakdown due to exposure to the elements.

Pros

  • Long life span if maintained properly
  • Ideal for larger areas of coverage and application
  • Can easily be used on an array of materials and finishes

Cons

  • Multiple layers of the application are usually needed
  • Must be maintained and replaced regularly
  • Cold and wet environments can affect curing and sealing

Subtypes:

Aromatic polyurethane
The least expensive of all polyurethane coatings, this formulation is best used as a primer or intermediate coat and should be paired with other types of sealants.

Aliphatic polyurethane
Commonly used on commercial buildings, aliphatic polyurethane offers a stronger and more durable coating that is UV stable and temperature resistant.

Polyurea

The most expensive of options in this category, polyurea, is not used as often as other topical sealants for waterproofing and building maintenance. Cost notwithstanding, polyurea offers excellent UV resistance and weathering characteristics. 

Pros

  • High tolerance for heat and UV impact
  • Gives a high gloss finish with applied in multiple layers
  • Resistant to scratches and chemical abrasions  

Cons

  • Is one of the more costly waterproofing coatings
  • Usually needs multiple layers when applied to building facades
  • Super-fast cure time doesn’t leave time to fix mistakes with the application

Polyaspartic

Less expensive than polyurea but still more costly in general than other topical sealants, polyaspartic is still a viable choice worth considering. Polyaspartic sealants provide a highly protective film layer that offers the durability and flexibility needed to withstand weather and environmental factors.  

Pros

  • Easy to apply and cures without much difficulty in good weather
  • Super durable envelope blocks out water and the elements
  • Long life span means less reapplying and less maintenance 

Cons

  • More expensive than the majority of other sealants
  • Cures fast, so need a quick and error-free application
  • Not as resistant to chemical exposure

Penetrating Sealants to Reduce Risk of Corrosion and Concrete Spalling

These kinds of sealants are popular for commercial buildings because they typically don’t require much surface preparation. No sanding or chemical treatments are needed ahead of time. The surface needs to be clean of any debris or chemical applications and dry when the commercial concrete sealers application process begins.

Silicates

These waterproofing sealants work to bind with the materials in the concrete itself and fuse with the material. This helps with concrete strengthening thanks to the crystalline formation silicates take when they cure and harden. This additional strength reinforces the actual concrete itself while also making it more water-resistant. 

Pros

  • Adds to the strength and stability of the façade materials
  • High heat and humidity protection once fully cured
  • Easily soaks into the porous material and dries quickly 

Cons

  • Multiple layers and applications are needed to get full coverage
  • Needs special care with application to ensure uniform coverage
  • Requires specialized setup and multiple applicators to cover larger areas

Silanes

Silanes are frequently used for sealing in parking garages, bridge decks, building facades, and other concrete structures. Silanes penetrate the material and forms durable and stiff sheets within the surface to form a waterproof layer of protection that holds up to long-term exposure to weather and the elements. 

Pros

  • Wonderful at repelling water, moisture, salts, dirt, and other impurities
  • Anti-corrosive properties are great for city applications 
  • Dries hard and glossy to improve its reflective nature

Cons-

  • Can be difficult to apply in some situations and larger quantities
  • Is a bit on the pricey side compared to others
  • Requires more than one layer and often needs regular re-application

Siloxanes
Siloxanes typically can be found on facades made of concrete, brick, stucco, and similar materials. It is a unique formulation that penetrates the material and forms a thin protective layer over the outer surface itself. Siloxanes are excellent water-repellent substances. 

Pros

  • Slows the growth of mold, mildew, and algae on buildings 
  • Durables and holds up well to elements and exposure
  • Great for highly porous materials that need deeply penetrating coverage

Cons

  • Can be difficult to apply in some situations
  • Is expensive to use on larger buildings as multiple applications are needed 
  • Not as good on smoother materials like cinder blocks and stone slabs

Siliconates

Like other penetrating concrete sealers, these sealants do not alter the appearance or texture of whatever material they are applied to. Their formulation allows for adequate absorption into the materials while providing an outer coating of protection as well. They also can often be applied in just one or two passes. 

Pros

  • Slows the growth of mold and mildew and prevent algae formation
  • Dries clear and hard and doesn’t discolor the surface of the building
  • Easy formulation applies quickly and can be used in many settings 

Cons

  • Hot and dry environments can affect the application and absorption
  • Not good for application in windy conditions
  • Difficult to apply and requires specialized application and handling 

Fluorinates
These sealants are also popular for waterproofing in commercial settings because they do not change the underlying materials’  color, texture, or general appearance. They also provide excellent coverage rates and are considered to be some of the best when it comes to overall topical protection. 

Pros

  • Works well as a primer coat to prep surfaces for other sealants
  • Easy to mix and apply with fast curing time
  • Durable layer holds up well and works with a range of material types 

Cons-

  • Several applications are generally needed full penetration and coverage
  • Care must be taken when using with other sealants
  • Is a bit more susceptible to temperature extremes than other coatings

Regardless of the type of waterproof coating you choose and how it is applied, the most important thing is that the buildings be sealed and protected against water intuition and other damages. Waterproofing and building envelope system maintenance and inspection must be part of the regular building management and repair schedule. 

A commercial building management service provider can help ensure the envelope seal is maintained to protect the building at all times. Many benefits come from proper commercial waterproofing; here are three of the most impactful:

  1. Provides Structural Integrity.
    Waterproofing protects the building’s exterior and helps keep the foundation, walls, support, roofing system, and all vital structural areas from weakening, thus keeping the entire building sturdy and secure.
  2. Enhances Indoor Air Quality.
    When water seeps into the interior materials of the building, such as the walls and ceilings, it creates a breeding ground for microorganisms like mold and mildew that can lead to serious health problems for the occupants.
  3. Ensures Compliance with Building Codes.
    Minor water damage can easily be dealt with and repaired. Still,  suppose issues extend for some time, and the severity of the damage becomes too great. In that case,  the building can become structurally unsafe, which will bring about code violations and related penalties and fees.

Considerations When Choosing Between a Surface Sealant Versus Penetrating Sealant

Building waterproofing services include many aspects of façade maintenance and envelope upkeep. In addition to understanding the different sealants, their formulations, and the application methods, building managers  who are weighing whether to use a surface concrete sealant or a penetrating concrete sealer must also consider these critical points: 

  • Surface age.
    Some sealants work best when applied to freshly cured or relatively new concrete and materials. Add penetrative formulations as soon as possible because the build-up of oils, dirt, chemicals and other pollutants can affect how easily and deeply the sealant can penetrate. The longer the material is exposed to the elements, in general, the less effective penetrating seals will become. In older building applications, topical coatings are usually more effective and are a better investment in the long run.
  • Repair versus new construction.
    Sometimes it might be necessary to use more than one type of sealant due to the nature of the material and how it has been installed. The same sealant can be used throughout the building, even for patchwork and minor repairs. . However, building additions and areas of large-scale renovation might need something different due to the material type, age and location. Building managers will need to carefully record and track when workers are resealing concrete or adding new sections.
  • Building codes and engineer specifications.
    Sometimes specific codes and requirements can impact the kind of sealants needed, especially for new constructions or additions that can fall under updated codes and regulations. The original building may be grandfathered into specific guidelines, while new additions may need different protection. It is best to consult with the builders and engineers because some sealants are more suitable than others for protecting certain materials. Following recommendations from the engineers and builders can help take some of the guesswork out of choosing a waterproofing sealant.
  • Type of concrete and its density.
    Building managers and maintenance teams will also want to consider  the type of concrete that is used, how dense it is, and how it is used in the building’s construction. Some concrete is more porous and would benefit from a penetrating seal while others may be smooth, dense and can easily handle a topical application. The location of the material and what sort of things it will be exposed to daily can also play into the final decision of waterproofing application choice.
  • Local environmental conditions.
    Environmental exposure can have a significant impact on the building, especially on the waterproof envelope. What environmental factors will the building face on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis? Things such as sun exposure, high and low-temperature extremes, storm cycles and severity, typical seasonal weather impacts, chemical and pollution exposure, and other impacts such as salt, smoke, and so forth. All of these can impact the building exterior and affect the sealants used.
  • Budget and resource restrictions
  • The final consideration for choosing the best waterproofing sealant comes down to business presences and limitations. If the ideal or first choice sealer is not an option due to budget concerns, the second best will do because some waterproofing is better than none. However, expenses can extend beyond the initial application. Opting for a cheaper coating may mean more applications and more work down the road, impacting budgets and finances. Commercial waterproofing is an investment for both short- and long-term needs.

Extend Your Concrete Assets’ Longevity by Choosing The JOBS Group for Commercial Concrete Sealers Services.

Heavy rainfalls, floods, snow, and high humidity can cause concrete to soak in water. The addition of continual auto and foot traffic can also wear down structures and compromises integrity over time. All of this can lead to structural and aesthetic problems without routine applications and without resealing concrete regularly. Water seepage over time can lead to the degradation of the concrete and can weaken it. Oxidation will also occur over time as the concrete is exposed to the elements all day every day, leading to discoloration and a brittle texture that can easily crack and chip. 

Whether you are considering penetrating concrete sealers or topical concrete coatings for your commercial hi-rise building, JOBS has the resources you need. Waterproofing is necessary for commercial buildings or any other edifices when there is a need or desire to prevent water from entering the structure and damaging it. These seals also protect against unsightly mold and algae growth, and protect against discoloration and damages caused by dirt, chemicals, UV rays, and other factors. Many surfaces of commercial buildings need waterproofing seals, with roofs, walls, foundations, facades, and other integral areas. Creating a waterproof envelope around the building is a critical aspect of maintaining the structural integrity of the building. 

To protect your property with reliable waterproofing, envelope creation, and envelope restoration, contact us today to discover commercial concrete sealers that are right for your building maintenance needs. We can help you unravel the mystery of the many types of concrete sealers and help you find the one that is right for you. Request a consultation with EdsWaterproofing Building Services now to get started. 

exterior_insulation_and_finish_system__eifs

Understanding Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) and Stucco Repair for Commercial Buildings

Minimizing energy use is a top priority for building owners, maintenance staff, and building occupants. Improper energy use can have many origins, including failure to shut off appliances, running lighting systems during vacancy hours, and excessive use of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning or refrigeration (HVAC/R) systems. Part of this comes down to the quality of the exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS). While building occupants can make meaningful improvements in interior energy use, the biggest drivers of energy use in these buildings come from the HVAC/R systems. This is simply due to the increased energy use needed to keep the interior comfortable and effectively shielded from the heat loss or gain of the outside world. 

In the U.S., the age of the building is directly related to its energy-efficiency needs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency’s “2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Report, more than half of all buildings in the U.S. were built between 1960 and 1999. Among these buildings, the main culprits of energy consumption include space heating (83%) and cooling (78%). More troubling, out of all potential energy efficiency improvements, only LED lighting had increased in use since 2012. While this data is already three-years-old, it’s still the most recent year for which the study was commissioned. As a result, it’s a safe assumption that improving building energy efficiency comes down to recognizing the issues in existing buildings and improving their ability to reduce energy use. That also implies it’s time to rethink the building exterior and how addressing exterior insulation and finish system problems could lessen the total heat gain or loss of these buildings.

For that reason, this guide will explore all aspects of exterior insulation and finish systems, including:

  • Their differences from what most think of in terms of insulation.
  • What exterior insulation really means.
  • The benefits of exterior insulation and finish systems.
  • The top performance considerations when choosing or repairing such systems.

What Is Commercial Building Insulation and What Is an Exterior Insulation and Finish System

Commercial building insulation is all about creating a barrier between the building’s interior and exterior to reduce heat gain or loss. As further explained by the U.S. Department of Energy, “Most common insulation materials work by slowing conductive heat flow and convective heat flow. Radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat gain. To be effective, the reflective surface must be in contact with an air space.

“Regardless of the mechanism, heat flows from warmer to cooler areas until there is no longer a temperature difference. In your home, this means that in winter, heat flows directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, basements, and especially to the outdoors. Heat flow can also move indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors—wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the cooling season, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior.”

Still, the exterior itself becomes part of the insulating materials. This is where the questions of what is exterior insulation and finish system and how is it different get confusing. The exterior insulation and finish system refers to a class of non-load bearing materials that adhere to the exterior of the building, provide insulation and keep moisture out of the building. Unlike standard commercial insulation, it’s a more modern approach to leveraging lighter materials that maximize resistance to the elements. Yet, the goal of any type of insulation remains the same—improve occupant comfort, maintain integrity of building materials, and avoid water infiltration. 

Now, it’s also important to realize that stucco and exterior insulation and finish system are two different aspects of a modern building exterior. Stucco may possess qualities similar to EIFS panels and materials, but stucco is also subject to spalling, cracking, or other degradation. EIFS may contain both premanufactured panels or be applied in a manner similar to traditional stucco. However, the ingredients going into the applied cementitious mix are slightly different in exterior insulation and finish system. Still, stucco can be part of an effective EIFS. Therefore, knowing the different types of building insulations used and their nuances can make a difference in knowing when to replace or repair such materials and how to maximize the longevity of your building exterior.

The Types of Commercial Building Insulation

The best type of commercial building insulation to use depends on the needs of the building, defined by the engineer responsible for the design and repair of the building. In general, there are a few different types of commercial building insulation to consider, including:

  • Radiant barriers are generally waterproofed to reflect heat by using a shiny surface facing the direction where the heat comes from, such as exterior shiny metal surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays.
  • Batt insulation is among the most common types of heat barriers used in construction in which irregularly shaped materials are pushed into wall spaces to trap air between fibers and prevent heat loss. 
  • Blown-in insulation is a non-water resistant, loose-fill insulation consisting of fiberglass-like material placed within the walls of a building.
  • Spray foam insulation is similar to blown-in insulation, but it’s also an excellent choice for adding insulation to difficult-to-reach places and cracks in existing structures that need repairs.

Regardless of which system is chosen, their biggest function comes down to their use in conjunction with the exterior surface materials that waterproof the structure and add to a wall’s insulating capacity. This is where the true nature of exterior insulation and finish systems becomes most evident. In terms of EIFS, the most types of systems available include:

  • A one-coat system with a metal lath or mesh panel that serves to strengthen and hold the finishing materials while they dry to a firm, solid cladding. This may include a singular lath and a single coat of cementitious materials, such as a one-coat stucco paste, that’s applied to provide a waterproof structure and heat-resistant barrier to the exterior of the building, which is likely to come with more exterior insulation and finish systems problems than a more advanced, polymer-included mix.
  • Polymer-based systems rely on polymers, such as polystyrene or poly, that adheres the substrate, such as stucco, to a fiberglass mesh embedded in the material. The idea is to use the polymer as glue to hold both the interior insulation and exterior insulation together in a way that extends durability without sacrificing the quality of heat resistance afforded by the materials. 
  • Water-managed exterior insulation and finish systems contain a drainage cavity to ensure all moisture exits the wall without causing damage to the structure. This is of particular importance in climates with high annual precipitation rates or those subjected to frequent types of water exposure beyond the rain, such as ocean spray in coastal areas or snow buildup and melting in colder areas.

Benefits of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems

The benefits of modern exterior insulation and finish systems are world-renowned. According to the EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA), “chief among these are superior energy efficiency and virtually unlimited design flexibility.” However, that barely scratches the surface of their real value-added benefits including:

  • Reduced air infiltration. Using a modern EIFS can help reduce air infiltration by up to 55%. 
  • Reduced water infiltration. Since a quality EIFS system and repairs leverage waterproof additives and coating to maximize their integrity, they also have an improved water resistance measure. 
  • Improved building energy efficiency. Combining both air and water resistance lends itself to improved energy efficiency through reduced heat gain or loss. Also known as the “R-value” of a building, the right type of EIFS can dramatically improve the value of a building and reduce the total cost of ownership, especially with relation to energy use.
  • Adherence to new building codes. Part of the benefit of using an EIFS to achieve a higher R-value includes increased adherence to applicable building codes specified within the ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010. This effectively means that these buildings have successfully improved integrity without resulting in a higher cost or risk to building occupants, lessening the total cost of ownership along the way. 
  • Possible reduced capacity needs of heating and air conditioning systems. Improving the energy efficiency of a building through fewer exterior insulation and finish systems problems also possesses a few indirect benefits. Since the building is less likely to experience heat gain or loss, the total heating or cooling capacity of the HVAC system may be lessened. As a result, the cost of purchasing, installing, and maintaining the HVAC systems in use decreases, further adding value to the building. 
  • Increased durability. A quality EIFS is widely flexible across colors and materials, making it an ideal solution for customized building exteriors. Additionally, the added strength and durability of the materials result in fewer aesthetic maintenance needs (in other words, they require less repainting). This occurs as the layers beneath the exposed exterior are the same color as the exterior, resulting in the appearance of the same color even when slight damage occurs. However, this further reinforces the need for expert inspections and guidance in identifying and making repairs too. 
  • Resistance to dirt, mildew, and mold. The materials used in EIFS are also resistant to dirt, mildew, and mold, deriving from their impermeability to the elements. 
  • Impact resistance. The durability of an EIFS comes with another added benefit, impact resistance. Impact resistance may seem trivial, but over time, insects, birds, and regular care, including window washing or exterior activities, may result in multiple impacts that could cause damage. By following the specifications for each EFIS at the time of construction or repair, building owners and managers can rest assured that their exterior will be in top-notch shape for decades to come. 
  • Resistance to cracking and premature damage. As previously noted, traditional stucco exteriors are prone to crack. This can be lessened through routine applications of sealants and using fiberglass-reinforced cementitious materials for the stucco. However, a comprehensive EIFS that leverages polymers possesses added tensile strength that resists cracking and premature damage. This goes back to all the benefits listed above. 
  • Fire resistance. All buildings must pass rigorous fire resistance tests according to building codes, and this is especially true among multistory buildings. Leveraging an EIFS adds another layer of fire resistance that can help to prevent ignition of building materials when subjected to potential risks, such as hot embers coming from nearby wildfires or even the magnifying effect caused by the sun’s reflection off windows. Together, an EIFS creates a more indestructible, fire-resistant structure that can pass all building inspections and add value to the building throughout its usable life.

Considerations in the Performance of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems

With all the information on the benefits of the right approach to exterior finishing, it sounds like a one-and-done solution. However, there are a few considerations building owners need to take when assessing the need for such systems. These include the following:

  • Thermal performance (heat resistance of the EIFS).
  • Moisture protection ((the ability to prevent water infiltration).
  • Finish durability (how often repairs may be necessary).
  • Expansion joints for EIFS applied over wood structures.
  • Using flashings to divert water away from the EIFS, especially where the roof or decks touch the EIFS. 
  • Type of base coat used in new construction and repairs. 
  • Type of finish coat applied and its required frequency for reapplication.
  • Potential integrity problems arising from damage due to ropes, cables, or other exterior activity, including window washing.

Exterior Insulation Versus Stucco

Understanding the differences between an exterior insulation and finish system and stucco can be confusing. Yes, all stucco is part of an exterior insulation system. However, an EIFS is an acrylic product that is used beneath the stucco to create a moisture barrier and improve the integrity of the building. Meanwhile, traditional stucco siding is a cementitious mix containing Portland cement, sand, limestone and water. Traditional stucco is heavier and requires more care than a modern EIFS that leverages polymers for improved tensile strength and is easier to repair as well. 

Get on the Right Track With Expert Guidance

Choosing the right exterior finish for your building must not be a last-minute process. The right finish can successfully draw in more building tenants and customers. As explained by BUILD magazine, a quality exterior adds a sense of professionalism to your business, improves safety and security, safeguards against complaints, prevents degradation, and lessens your total cost of ownership. With so much at risk in a world marred by liability concerns, building owners and managers need to ensure their exterior is not left to the elements. Instead, they need to work with an expert in building exterior construction, maintenance, and design to ensure the exterior insulation and finish system is of the best quality and adds value to your business.

corrosion_inhibitors

The Role of Corrosion Inhibitors and Applications for Concrete Repair

The need to extend building longevity is universal, and society has created vast skylines and massive concrete structures that are seemingly impermeable and able to withstand whatever forces Mother Nature can dish out. But there’s a reality to the biggest concrete assets; concrete—even when it seems perfect—is subject to risk through the introduction of ions and contaminants that move through the micropores in the material and lead to corrosion of reinforcing steel rebar. The right strategy for extending concrete longevity must begin with preventing the degradation of the metals contained within it that add to its tensile strength. That is where corrosion inhibitors become vital to building management, and as reported by Kathy Riggs Larsen of Materials Performance, “To control and remediate rebar corrosion in new and existing concrete structures, multiple methods are available. These range from changing the concrete’s cement chemistry to using corrosion inhibiting techniques such as pozzolanic cement, surface sealers, corrosion inhibitor admixtures, cathodic protection, and surface-applied corrosion inhibitors.” But to understand how the different approaches to corrosion inhibitors work, it’s first important to understand how corrosion occurs and its real impact on the future and integrity of your concrete structures.

How Does Concrete Corrosion Occur?

Concrete corrosion refers to the degradation of reinforcing steel within a structure. As the importance of corrosion inhibition has increased, more companies have prioritized this area during the design phase of building assets. However, corrosion is inevitable. It is accelerated by harsh environments, including those with extreme temperatures or high salt levels. Furthermore, concrete corrosion is comparable to cancer, gradually spreading throughout a concrete structure and often invisible until cracks form on the surface.

It affects buildings and structures around the globe, and it usually begins with an improper pH balance on reinforcing steel rods. Now, concrete usually forms a film on the surface of steel rods that prevents corrosion, but with time, degradation of the concrete may lead to the exposure of additional materials, including water, chlorides, and other salts that result in the degradation of this passive film.

Carbonation is another catalyst of corrosion. Carbonation results when carbon dioxide dissolves within concrete pore fluids. This reaction is inevitable, created by the natural presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The reaction forms carbonic acid that then reacts with materials in the cement paste to create calcium carbonate. 

While this may not necessarily seem like a major issue, it effectively lowers the total pH of the concrete. And since the passive film on the steel rebar depends on a highly alkaline environment to maintain its integrity, the rebar becomes more susceptible to the effects of moisture and ions in the environment. As a result, the rebar begins to react to other contaminants, like oxygen, salts and water, producing damaging results. 

It’s at this point when degradation begins to affect the reinforcing steel. It’s the presence of oxygen and moisture that result in rusting, which is where the true cause of concrete degradation begins to grow.

Rusting steel rebar expands due to the chemical changes within it. The expansion is up to six times greater than the original volume occupied by the intact rebar. As a result, this forces an expansion within the concrete that will slowly crack and open the door to additional means of entry for water, salts and oxygen. The problem becomes self-propagating, weakening the concrete infrastructure and leading to spalling. Furthermore, this is a process that takes years to occur, and by the time it becomes evident, the problem is vast and much more severe than many realize.

What Is a Corrosion Inhibitor?

Left unchecked, corrosion of steel within concrete reinforcing structures will lead to massive costs for your company and may require complete replacement. However, the use of corrosion control, leveraging inhibitors for corrosion, early in the design and throughout the maintenance program of your building is the best way to extend the life of your concrete assets. A typical approach to repairing concrete that has cracked is to remove the damaged sections, replace the rebar and patch where needed. This helps to reduce the advancing of oxygen, water or salts into the concrete. Therefore, it is best to use a corrosion inhibitor in tandem with a waterproof seal to prevent exposure of rebar to the elements. 

There are also products manufactured specifically to reduce the risk of chloride ions from coming into contact with reinforcing steel and even modifying the concrete mixture to increase its impermeability. Essentially, waterproofed concrete means little risk for entry of corrosive agents. However, highly corrosive environments, like the salt-laced winds along coastlines, require a specialized approach to preventing degradation.

This includes materials applied directly to rebar to increase the strength of the passive film on the metal, leveraging chemical agents to mix with concrete that will help to strengthen that film and even increase the electrical resistance of the metallic surface of rebar. Obviously, early protection at the time of design and construction is preferred. However, repairing damaged concrete and sealing cracks with corrosion-inhibiting materials is necessary when spalling or other signs of degradation appear.

A few examples of companies that manufacture concrete corrosion inhibitors are Cortec, Degussa, Sika, and Masterbuilders. However, there are always differences in product specifications and formulation. Thus, it’s important to have a quality engineer evaluate the unique structures and concrete requirements prior to selecting a product. This ensures that the chosen inhibitor will serve its purpose the best and avoid future repairs or failure. 

Another way to approach corrosion prevention is through electrochemical means, using both anodic and cathodic materials. These electrochemical means are usually found in concrete applications that are subject to continuous exposure to different liquids, such as the holding tanks in sewage or water treatment plants. 

Such applications require a means for managing the flow of electrons associated with certain ions, like those of salts, and rendering them inert. Other options for adding the electrochemical protection include an impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) that can effectively stop spalling and prevent further damage to rebar. 

Both still require a power supply, even if temporary, and cables to supply power to the anodes/cathodes. As a result, it creates an added expense and complicates the process of preventing corrosion. Of course, this is a permanent solution that requires the proper selection of both anodes and cathodes, as well as in-depth specifications for current strength, to cause ions to move away from rebar and effectively prevents future oxidation (rusting) of the steel. However, this is perhaps the costliest approach to corrosion prevention other than total replacement due to the added equipment it entails. 

Thus, working with a chemical-based inhibitor for concrete that leverages an applied material or chemical additive within a concrete mix is usually preferred. For reference, here are some of the most common admixtures used that may be referenced in engineer repair specifications:

  • Amine carboxylate
  • Amine-ester organic emulsion
  • Calcium nitrite
  • Organic alkenyl dicarboxylic acid salt

There are also materials that can be applied directly to the surface of the concrete to provide corrosion resistance to rebar. Ironically, this method takes advantage of slightly porous concrete to provide a way for such materials to penetrate concrete and restore the integrity of the passive film on the surface of rebar. In a sense, these corrosion prevention materials take on a dual-purpose with waterproofing as well.

What to Consider When Choosing a Concrete Inhibitor or Sealer

Waterproofing membranes are perhaps the overlooked side of concrete repair and damage prevention strategies. While focusing on corrosion inhibitors is great, the waterproofing membrane that’s applied to the surface of the concrete is the first line of defense against the penetration of corrosion-inducing materials. Furthermore, the waterproof seal on the surface of concrete actually serves a purpose in inhibitors for concrete too. As explained by Adhesives & Sealants Industry (ASI), “Concrete sealers come with a variety of different features. The most basic function is to protect against the ingress of moisture, carbonation, and other potentially damaging elements. Others add stain resistance or corrosion inhibition.

Inhibiting corrosion is especially needed in applications where there is exposure to sea air with elevated humidity and chloride levels or in northern climates where there is a need for deicers. 

As cities, counties, and states that experience harsh winters are switching to liquid deicing brines instead of granular ones, more chlorides are entering concrete surfaces at a faster rate than ever. This trend is accelerating damage due to freeze-thaw cycles and the corrosion of reinforcing steel, leading to the heightened need for sealers with corrosion inhibitors.” 

To ensure your team chooses the right sealant or other admixture for preventing corrosion, it’s important to take a few considerations into account. These include:

  • Liquid vs. powdered corrosion inhibitors. Depending on the scale and specifications of the repair, a liquid or powdered corrosion inhibitor may be appropriate. Of course, both materials are usually mixed with concrete or grouting materials to fill cracks and damage. Regardless, the key is to ensure your team can store and transport the materials properly based on their liquid or powdered state. 
  • Substrate integrity and extensivity of water penetration. Another critical consideration is the extent of damage to the substrate. If excessive water penetration has occurred, a corrosion inhibitor may need to be sprayed directly onto the replaced rebar prior and allowed to set prior to completing the repair. 
  • Setting time and weather conditions necessary for application. Like all types of concrete repairs, the setting time and weather conditions will affect the efficacy of corrosion inhibitors, so planning is critical for ensuring the products work as expected. 
  • Effective against carbonation and chlorides. Given that carbonation and chloride are two of the primary causes of corrosion, it’s important to choose your inhibitors for corrosion based on the conditions that the concrete is subjected to. This may include corrosion inhibitors against both or one type of corrosion agent.
  • Ease of application and reapplication expectations. It’s always important to think about the future repairs and whether corrosion inhibitors will require reapplication. This is especially true when looking at corrosion inhibitors applied directly to the exposed surface of concrete, taking all above considerations into account along the way.  
  • Other specifications of the repair as determined by the engineer. Even if everything looks great, the most important consideration when selecting an inhibitor is how well it aligns with engineer specifications for the repair. Fortunately, the engineer will usually specify the specific chemical and physical components of each inhibitor to eliminate all uncertainty. 

Advantages of Corrosion Inhibitors in Concrete Repair

The advantages of using corrosion inhibitors for concrete repair are very easy to understand and include:

  • Less spalling and fewer repairs. As rebar remains strong, the concrete is less likely to become subject to damage, resulting in lower total maintenance costs, provided the proper waterproofing barrier and surface corrosion inhibitors for concrete are used. This effectively prevents the further degradation of steel and concrete structures too.
  • Ability to target multiple causes of degradation. While some buildings may be subject to more of a specific type of corrosion-causing material, there are some that will always be present, such as carbonation. As a result, a core advantage of using an inhibitor is targeting multiple causes of degradation and corrosion in the same repair. Furthermore, the corrosion inhibitor admixtures can also offer increased adhesion between substrates to increase the impermeability of the concrete and prevent future corrosion.

Extend the Longevity of Your Concrete Assets by Partnering With an Expert in Concrete Repair and Maintenance

While seemingly the strongest building material, concrete is actually a protective covering for the real strength of a building—its rebar reinforcements. Without that reinforcement, concrete will inevitably fail and even worse, the rebar itself can cause untold damage to your concrete structures if left unchecked. As a result, it’s important to extend the longevity of your building assets by choosing a top-quality partner for handling concrete repairs, corrosion prevention programs, and all other maintenance needs.

Connect with EDSWaterProofing to request a consultation to remedy damaged concrete and prevent corrosion of reinforcing steel today.

waterproofing membranes

What Are Waterproofing Membranes, the Types, and Applications?

When a building shows signs of water damage, waterproofing membranes can provide an easy and cost-effective fix. Waterproofing has different variables and steps to ensure the best integrity and longevity for your building and the people inside. Unfortunately, failures within the waterproofing membrane can have a disastrous effect on the integrity of your building’s structure, lead to health risks for building occupants, and increase total cost of ownership. Meanwhile,  having knowledge of the types of membranes, application methods, and how to choose a service provider can make the process even easier. Let’s take an in-depth look at these key things to know about waterproofing membranes, including:

  • The fundamentals of waterproofing membranes, the value in the modern building.
  • The value of waterproofing membranes in maintaining your assets. 
  • The differences between various membrane materials, including chemical vs physical, sheet membranes.
  • How to approach selecting a membrane material and a few best practices for ensuring its proper application.

I. What Are Waterproofing Membranes

A waterproofing membrane is a layer of water-tight material that lies on a surface to prevent water leaks or damages. The process usually consists of liquid-applied or pre-formed sheet membranes. According to Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York, “The global waterproofing membrane market size is set to gain momentum from the increasing investments by renowned companies in the development of eco-friendly products for green buildings, as conventional membranes can cause harm to the environment by releasing toxic chemicals. The report further states that the market stood at USD 27.17 billion in 2020. It is projected to grow from USD 28.05 billion in 2021 to USD 42.85 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period.” 

II. Why Is It Important?

The objective of waterproofing is to secure a building from all kinds of water damages and prevent further repair work on the structure. Excess water exposure can enlarge the foundation cracks and joints, leading to issues with leakage, deterioration, and spalling that will require repairs. Before water damage leads to bigger issues in a building, waterproofing can provide:

  • Safety: Damage due to a lack of waterproofing can be so severe that it impacts the integrity of the building, resulting in an unsafe environment.
  • A way to strengthen the structure: Waterproofing membranes prolong the lifespan of a building by limiting any moisture that may intrude and cause rust, rotting, corrosion, structural defects, or other damage to property and contents.
  • A healthier environment: Waterproofing can help provide a space that is well-maintained and protected from different elements. The buildup on the walls and ceilings can cause fungus and mold growth, leading to allergies and health issues. 
  • A way to reduce maintenance costs and increase property value: Quality waterproofing — done right the first time — will safeguard property from water damage and limit the need for costly repairs or maintenance services. 

Fixing water damage before it becomes a greater issue is extremely important. As further explained in relation to the movements of air within materials, Energy Saver said “air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower pressure areas by the easiest path available — generally through any available hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents happens quickly, and carefully and permanently air sealing any unintended paths for air movement in and out of the house is a very effective moisture control strategy.” Waterproofing can fill the paths for such air movements and stop water vapor from causing more harm to the building structure. This is particularly vital in terms of keeping building occupants safe from airborne pathogens.

As the CDC explains: “Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery. The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.  We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.”

Considering that many of these materials are basic construction materials, any water entry, even in vapor form (such as humidity), could lead to an added risk of mold growth. In the case of commercial buildings, such factors essentially open your business to the liability of illnesses associated with these pathogens. Furthermore, the CDC notes how there is evidence to suggest that deterioration of work and living environments due to mold spore exposure can lead to memory loss, lethargy, and more. And in commercial buildings, this amounts to less productive workers and even worsening customer experiences. It’s for these reasons that a proper waterproofing envelope protects against water in any phase, whether liquid, solid (ice) or gas (humidity), is critical.

III. The Difference Between the Membranes & Key Aspects to Selecting a Waterproofing Membrane Type.

Different buildings will require different types of waterproofing membranes to ensure no water damage will continue. Waterproofing membranes can help protect any building;  basement or roof membranes can help prevent water damage from happening. This long-term decision can save building structures from potentially costly consequences such as joint problems and cracking. Moreover, the type of membrane may either be chemical and liquid upon application or be made up of multiple layers of prefabricated sheet membranes. 

As further noted by Raja Haria via LinkedIn: “Liquid Applied Waterproofing is a process of waterproofing application using special liquid. It’s used for roofs like flat roofs, pitched roofs, domed roofs and walls also. A liquid applied membrane involves Fully bonded monolithic coating application. This coating, once cured, forms a rubber-like elastomeric waterproofing membrane. Liquid applied membranes are flexible enough to take any shape they are laid to, also they have properties like strength, tear resistance, weathering resistance, UV stability & elasticity to bridge the cracks developed underneath the surface.” 

Of course, that only begins to scratch the surface of the true scale and variety within waterproofing membrane options.

The different types of waterproofing membranes consist of the following primary materials.

1. Self-Adhesive Modified Bituminous Membrane

Self-adhesive modified bituminous membranes are composed of asphalt, polymers, and tackifiers, and may contain mineral stabilizers. The product may be reinforced with fiberglass, polyester, or a combination of the two. Products designed for exposure to the elements typically will be surfaced with mineral granules, coatings, films, or other opaque surfacing.

2. Polymer-Modified Bitumen Membrane

The most widespread materials for the creation of the waterproofing layer are the polymer-bitumen roll-fed sheet membranes. These materials could also be used as an underlay for pitched roofs and as a vapor barrier.

3. EPDM Membrane

It is a preformed elastomeric waterproofing membrane made of high-quality EPDM rubber. It exhibits high tensile strength, elongation, tear strength, and resistance to weathering, heat aging, ozone, UV rays, acids, alkalis, and oxygenated solvents. 

4. Thermoplastic Membrane

Thermoplastic roof membranes are distinct from other commercial roofing systems. It is a blend of polypropylene, ethylene-propylene and is often reinforced with polyester. Sheets of TPO can contain UV absorbers, colorants, flame retardants, or other add-ins to achieve the required physical properties. 

5. Bituminous Membrane (Asphalt)

Hot melt liquid bituminous rubber blend structural waterproofing systems with an interlaid reinforcement can be used in roof and podium deck applications to provide a seamless waterproofing membrane for high green roofs and podiums, and are sometimes specified for winter applications where low temperatures are common. 

6. Polyurethane Membrane

These products come with a fiber-enhanced, water-based polyurethane membrane that has been designed for a range of waterproofing applications where the membrane is to be covered with tiles, screeds, concrete beds, and more. These membranes offer excellent adhesion properties for use on building substrates, including concrete, masonry, renders, cement sheeting, wet area sheet surfaces, and plasterboard surfaces.

7. Chemical Grouting to Seal Cement Structures

Hydrophilic chemical grouts have flexibility and resilience after full cure. This will allow movement to occur in the structure without damaging the seal. Hydrophobic resins are rigid after curing and do not recover from compression. If the structure moves, there is a good chance the cell structure will be damaged and leaks will reappear. Hydrophobic chemical grout is low viscosity and permeates loose and non-consolidated soils readily.

IV. Application Process for Waterproofing Membranes

Regardless of the scale, size, location, or type of building, waterproofing membranes provide an essential component to protect the structural integrity of a building. The longer a leak is allowed to progress unchecked, the more extensive the underlying deterioration can become. Stopping a minor leak is far easier than rehabilitating the damage resulting from a major one.

Thorough Inspection of the Materials Used and Prior Membranes

Noting how the building responds to weather events and temperature fluctuations can affect the building materials used. Inspect the prior membrane used and see how the weather affected it or what problems continued to happen. Then, form a game plan to determine which type of membrane to use.

Cleaning of the Area

Preparation requirements vary by the type of material used and the application methods. Make sure the surface and materials are well-prepared and ready for membrane application. Cleaning provides for good adhesion to the substrate. Also, the manufacturer’s guidelines include instructions for cleaning the substrate to remove dirt, debris, and other surface contaminants. 

Application of the Chosen Material 

Waterproofing membranes generally consist of liquid applied or preformed sheets. Liquid-applied membranes must have the correct thickness or installation errors will occur. For sheet membranes, joints between sheets are critical and must have a perfect application to avoid leakage.

Complications to Watch for During the Application Process

If any complications pop up during the waterproofing process, the membrane will not work properly and therefore will not solve the leakage. A few examples of installation errors to look for:

  • Poor workmanship can result in improper application or the wrong waterproofing membrane being used. confusing
  • Excessive thickness may result in re-emulsification and splitting while the membrane cures. 
  • Uneven film thickness during the application process, thicker coats restrict movement and thinner coats can result in tears under minimal movement.
  • Coating materials must be abrasive, resistant, and accommodate the building movement. Any thin spots, weak points, or high spots can result in excessive wear, forming ruptures and blisters.
  •  If the waterproofing is applied prior to the completion of the structural elements, it may prompt negative effects such as deflections or other imperfections in the waterproofing.

Destructive Testing to Ensure Its Integrity 

Destructive testing can confirm a successful installation and determine if water leaks will continue to cause issues. This is the literal process of attempting to remove the material, apply water to it, and rigorously ensure the seal is working properly. 

Routine Maintenance & Inspection to Keep It in Tip-Top Shape

Keeping up with maintenance can prevent damages from happening again and once again verify that the installation was done correctly. In other words, maintenance and inspection are critical. And checking for signs of installation failure can save the building from costly future repairs. No crack, stain, or visual cue should go without proper inspection to make sure water damage has not come back. 

V. After Application and The Role of Inspection in Maintaining the Membrane

After waterproofing takes place, certain steps can prevent recurring water damage and will not require further work. Closely monitoring the building and inspecting the membrane can ensure the water leak has stopped. 

Constantly monitoring the membranes and looking for future signs of leakage can prevent the need for replacements. Pay close attention to signs that may indicate deterioration of the waterproofing membrane, such as staining and cracks; most problems have visual cues when water damage happens. 

VI. How to Select a Waterproofing Service Provider 

Effective waterproofing requires an action plan designed to preserve the structural integrity of a building while being cost-effective at the same time. Finding the right professional with the proper expertise will help ensure the job gets done right the first time. Here are some things to consider when selecting a waterproofing contractor:

Company History

A reputable waterproofing service should have an established, verifiable history of satisfied clients. This can help prospective customers learn the expertise level of the company while also checking references or reviews. When checking references, ask about the company’s services, their level of professionalism, the quality of the work, and the availability of follow-up support once the job was complete.

Awards & Certificates

This can show companies that excel in the industry and showcase the talent and ability to provide quality customer service. This can also go back to the company history and show the service goes above and beyond the bare minimum. 

Licensed and Bonded

Make sure the company has proper licensing for the area and has the correct liability insurance. Many of the warranties on the products used by waterproofing companies may cancel out if not installed by a certified professional waterproofing contractor.

Written Contracts

Contracts can protect the customer and the contractor. Every contract should provide details of the proposed work, an estimate for the time it will take to perform the job, and the estimated cost. Before the job begins, ensure any guarantees and warranties have been documented in writing.

Prioritizes Safety 

The contractor should take the proper steps to ensure the safety of their team, the customer and the property itself. The equipment and machines needed for waterproofing require skill to operate and come with a level of risk. Choosing a waterproofing team that prioritizes safety should always be of great importance, and doing so can prevent delays, mistakes, and unnecessary costs.

Offers Inspection Services

A professional contractor should have the option of conducting an inspection whenever water damage becomes apparent. A skilled waterproofing company should have the knowledge to pinpoint the source of the water and take the appropriate action to resolve the issue. Having the proper skill set is essential to ensuring that the issue can be resolved whether from the interior or exterior of the building.

Understands the Various Waterproofing Materials

Some of the more common signs of water damage in a building are more obvious. These include peeling paint, damp spots on basement walls, and rust on tools or appliances. However, some less obvious signs may be harder to identify such as cracks in walls, an unusual odor, or the presence of a chalky white substance on the walls. Choose a contractor that knows how to carefully inspect the entire area in order to address potential problems and know the proper solution.

Guarantees: Will Repair the Membrane If It Fails Prematurely

Ensure the contractor will come back if additional membrane service is needed. This will save the customer from having to pay a second time when the first service should have worked. Having this claim in writing can make sure the contractor will hold up their end of the bargain if the time comes. 

The Big Picture: Waterproofing Is Vital to Your Business and Building Integrity

To save a commercial building from water leaks and damages while ensuring maximum integrity, waterproofing can provide the best answer. According to RJ Lometa of Vents Magazine, “Lack of waterproofing measures leads to increased risks in building integrity! Today, many urban construction projects are adversely affected because of this. Often building structural failures are an off-shoot of weak waterproofing measures.” The presentation and integrity of a building hold just as much value as the people in it.

Ensure the Best Waterproofing Service Provided

Keeping up with the maintenance of a building can add stress to any manager or employee. Waterproofing helps building managers stay a step ahead of the mess. To prevent future damage and improve the integrity of your building’s waterproof envelope, contact EDS

cement grout

What is Cement, Concrete & Chemical Grouting and its Role in Building Waterproofing?

After finding cracks and leaks within a building, taking the proper steps to save the structure and costs is critical. When companies begin to look into waterproofing services to ensure the concrete strength of the building, questions may arise like what is chemical grouting? What does pressure chemical grouting have to do with the process? Knowing the background of waterproofing and what the service pertains to will help you choose the best company for the job. Understanding the differences between cement, concrete, and chemical grouting, and knowing the importance of grouting and what to expect in building waterproofing services, can provide insight that will help you save the structure of any building. 

What Is Cement, Concrete, and Chemical Grouting?

When a structure requires concrete restoration, grouting can be used to repair concrete cracks, fill seams and gaps in tiles, gaps for sealing and waterproofing, and for soil stabilization. Cement grouting with pressure is injected to fill voids or fractures in the soil, rock unit, or concrete structure. Looking at the chemical grouting specifications, the chemical grouting transforms granular soils into sandstone-like masses by filling the voids with low viscosity, non-particulate grout. An example TunnelingOnline uses to describe when to use chemical or cement grout, “For example, Portland and ultrafine cement grouts are predominantly used to stabilize soil and/or control water in civil projects, including earthen dams, levees, mines, tunnels, subways, vertical shafts, below-ground structures or waste encapsulation. These types of large-scale projects will often require significant volumes of grout to be injected. Chemical grouts will often complement the cement-type grouts and in some cases will be the predominant grout used for a particular situation.” 

Why Grouting Is Important to Maintaining the Whole Building Envelope

Once the building envelope has obtained moisture, waterproofing must become a priority for building owners and managers. Having a preventative approach can save money in the long run to avoid a full-scale removal and replacement. It is important to take important steps to mitigate the problems early. For example, every five to eight years, have the building’s waterproofing service redone. 

Grouting offers several advantages:

  • Grouting does not induce vibration, which can be controlled to avoid structural damage.
  • Grouting can help control seepage, groundwater flow, and hazardous waste materials.
  • Pointing out areas for repair and periodic check-ups, which can help with budget planning.
  • Grouting and keeping up with inspections positions owners to plan capital expenditures effectively. 
  • Grouting can resolve the issues of cracks and stains, rather than just painting over the real problem. 

According to GrandviewResearch, “The building structures application segment is expected to expand at the fastest growth rate of 8.4%, in terms of revenue, over the forecast period. The growth is attributed due to its high application in building to improve the shelf life and protection at varying temperatures.” This segment indicates the importance of prioritizing the structure of the building and using waterproofing now rather than later as the market becomes more expensive. 

Common Causes of Grouting Failure

Waterproofing can save the structure of a building and preserve its value, but what happens when poor waterproofing service occurs? Taking the time to do a water leak investigation can help identify where the critical issues lie. Any issues in waterproofing may happen due to:

  • Issues from higher levels: In multi-level buildings, the higher floors may be more susceptible to waterproofing issues. For example, the top floors can experience problems with puddles forming on the roof from rainwater. Flat roofs especially frequently collect excessive rain that can lead to leaks and eventually damage to the structure of the building. On higher floors, poor workmanship with plumbing can also lead to waterproofing failures.
  • Poor waterproofing work: Incorrect installation or poor workmanship of waterproofing can cause issues. Places that are trickier, such as balconies and windows, require professional waterproofing services. Additionally, wrong product specifications can result in insufficient substrate preparation, meaning the preparation before the waterproofing membrane was incorrect.
  • Lack of maintenance: Continuing to check waterproofing areas on a regular basis will help identify any problems early, avoiding significant issues like concrete cancer. Tiny leaks, cracks, and stains should be a priority for immediate remedial steps.. Maintaining seals on windows, doors, wall systems, balconies, and roofs can provide time to formulate a proactive approach that decreases the risk of a developing issue. 
  •  Incorrect waterproofing membrane: Make sure to choose a waterproofing system that includes a sheet membrane with all the ancillaries. Also, consider the flexibility of the membrane to allow building movements and to resist UV rays, chemicals, harsh salt air, and in some situations root penetration.

Poor waterproofing can fail, leading to cracks, mold issues, and structural defects that can have a high price tag to fix. Additionally, poor waterproofing can cause safety issues, significantly reduce the property value, and lead to unfitness for occupation. Partnering with a waterproofing and sealant services provider that ensures optimal solutions can remedy the problem. 

What to Expect in Grouting Maintenance

To obtain a great remedial waterproofing outcome from grouting, find a professional you can trust. Taking important steps to having frequent updates on the structure of the building can save costs down the road. Here are a few steps to take to ensure the proper maintenance that will reduce the risk of bigger issues:

  • Perform an annual or biannual walkthrough to examine the overall condition of the exterior wall system.
  • Remove or replace sealants that appear to be torn, deteriorated, or inelastic.
  • Remove plant growth that can contribute to moisture penetration or deterioration of any brickwork.
  • Install remedial anchors and ties in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
  • Repoint with prehydrated mortar, mixed drier than conventional masonry work.
  • When repairing mortar joints, surface grout hairline cracks and repoint damaged or deteriorating mortar joints.

Paying attention to the maintenance of the building, never dismissing cracks, and taking notice of any visual discrepancies like water damage can preserve the building. Maintenance and performing minor repairs can help avoid replacement and the need for drastic projects.

How to Pick the Right Waterproofing Service

To prevent a water problem and resolve issues associated with a faulty structure, a good waterproofing company can help. According to VentsMagazine, “Water damages can lead to massive problems in the building’s appearance and structure. It will affect the building surface and also lead to security and health issues for the members inhabiting the building.” Upon deciding to waterproof, the next important factor is finding a partner you can trust A few tips to help pick the best company for building maintenance services can include:

  • Ensure the company has the proper paperwork and permits for the job, such as insurance, bonding, or licenses. Bonding will ensure the costs of any risks or accidents will be covered.
  • Find a company that specializes in waterproofing structures.  
  • Ensure the company has the necessary infrastructure to complete the job. This will help ensure quality and reliability.
  • Hire an experienced company, one that has a documented history of success.
  • Due diligence should extend to reading online reviews of the company. This can help you eliminate companies that have a less-than-stellar reputation.

Properly protecting a building from different kinds of water damages, such as leaks, moisture, and rain, can help retain its structural integrity and value. Without waterproofing, the foundation of the structure may suffer and force cracks and joints to become bigger. Stay up to date regarding local building codes and reviews of companies, especially for high-rise buildings, and preserve the time spent on designing, planning, and building the structure.

Guarantee Building Integrity With Expertise in Building Waterproofing. 

Having more concrete background knowledge on waterproofing and the aspects of the service can help you make an informed decision when choosing the best company to trust. Waterproofing failure can have a drastic impact on a building’s safety and value but it does not have to. Following the tips above and keeping a close eye on the maintenance of the building can lead to fewer long-term damages. To keep water leaks and other potentially costly issues from happening, enlist the professional waterproofing and sealing services offered by the EDS & JOBS Group.