New Barrier on the Block? Making the Case for Coatings on CMU

From D+D Online, January 2012

by Joe Maty

Could conventional paint and coatings products, applied at quite conventional film thicknesses, function effectively as air-barrier materials?...
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Tagged categories: Air barriers; Building Envelope; Concrete coatings and treatments; Concrete masonry units (CMU); Kevin Knight; National Concrete Masonry Association

Comment from Michael Pace, (1/4/2012, 12:30 PM)

Many materials, aside from painted masonry, may be able to resist the passage of air and therefore be classed as an "air barrier". This includes most common board products like drywall, glass mat sheathing, plywood...However, the goal really is to provide an "Air Barrier System" that complies with ASTM E2357 - 11 Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies. This involves building acutal walls with penetrations, openings and incorporating some forces to produce deflection (cracking) and stresses in the adhesion... The system would then include the air barrier material, transition membranes, sealants, seals, and associated details.

Comment from Gerald Curtis, (1/4/2012, 1:10 PM)

The following caption to the first photo at the top of this article shows an even more serious problem, that of the failure of the EPDM membrane to extend below the gap between the top of the CMUs and the wood blocking to which the Coping Cap is affixed. Gap in the system: A roof-wall junction showing coping (metal flashing), EPDM roofing and paint on the exterior of CMU block. Located between the EPDM roofing and the painted CMU is a section of uncoated block that is not sealed by a contiguous air-barrier assembly that connects the coating on the wall to the roofing membrane. Here the possibility of water entry in the event of loss of the Coping Cap is unacceptably high. -- Gerald B. Curtis, RRC, RRO

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