Attention to Detail: Architectural & Transition Details

April 23rd, 2013 - Posted by Richard Shaffer under Technical

As discussed previously, the function of the wall system (part of the building envelope) is to provide protection from the elements such as wind, heat, cold, and rain (moisture). The design of a wall system should stop the penetration of these elements into the interior space of the building and prevent the weathering and deterioration of structural components in the building.
The first place to look when dealing with moisture issues are the architectural or transition details. These details bring various components of the building’s facade together such as overhangs, copings, window openings, and sills which are vital to preventing water infiltration into the interior of the structure. Unfortunately, this is where the majority of moisture issues occur – transitioning from one building component to another.
The proper detail and transition system between dissimilar materials are necessary to have an effective wall system which protects the interior structural components from weathering and deterioration. Some of these interfaces/systems include: flashings, sealants, expansion joint systems, control joints, and cants. The project specifications should incorporate these transition details and materials along with the manufacturer’s recommendations and industry’s standards for each.
Failure to properly install transition systems, lack of attention to the details or improper application of sealants will all lead to water intrusion. Details and transition systems represent 90% of water intrusion issues; however, they only account for about 1% of the entire envelope area. These should be tested according to industry standards (i.e. ASTM, AAMA) to ensure they were properly installed and are functioning as designed.
The primary purpose of waterproofing is preventing water intrusion into the interior of the building; to ensure that water is shed or removed from the building in an efficient and quick method. Should water intrusion occur in the building envelope, then the source (i.e. transition detail, material or system failure) must be determined and a proper solution with the appropriate repairs established.
About the Author

Richard Shaffer, has twelve years’ experience in the construction industry with four years’ experience specializing in forensic investigations and remediation of residential, commercial and high-rise buildings. For more information, visit or call the main office in Gainesville, Florida at (352) 505-6771.

This post was submitted by Richard Shaffer.

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