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Posts Tagged ‘Moisture control’

This morning’s sermon at UniversityBaptistChurch was based on the children’s story ‘Stone Soup”.  The tale is a great metaphor for the gifts of the spirit, and Michael Cheuk did a wonderful job of blending a kid friendly sermon with an object lesson about how congregations work and utilize the gifts and talents of their members.

 The same metaphor applies to the construction industry.  Structures don’t get built without the efforts of architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, product representatives, and the list goes on.  The industry is dependent on each and every individual that is part of the process.

 CSI is the only professional organization that includes all of the participants in the industry in a professionally diverse membership.  Each of us benefits from the experience of other members.  Questions which arise regarding constructability are often best addressed to contractors with experience in similar projects.  Inquiries regarding proper installation of specific products are usually best answered by manufacturer’s representatives.  Technical questions about functionality of systems should be addressed to an engineer, and the list goes on.

 This is the value proposition of CSI.  Like the stone soup which gained its flavor from the different vegetables which were added, CSI’s value proposition lies in the diversity of its membership base.  Those that take the time to attend chapter meetings improve their performance in their chosen fields.

 This can be extended to those participate in the CSI Certification Program.  Holders of CSI certifications have demonstrated the knowledge necessary to better perform their jobs.

 Membership is easy to come by.  Simply ask a current member, or contact the Institute.  You will be welcomed.

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In making major purchases, the popular tendency is to solicit multiple bids in an effort to obtain the lowest price.  That lowest price, however, comes at a price.  I have to say that seeking the lowest price isn’t always the most economical in the long term.  In fact, the opposite is often true.  The life cycle cost of any purchase should be considered.

 Several years back, a major local subdivision opened up to cater to mid to upper middle class families.  In the interest of appearing to deliver a lot of square feet for the dollar, several decisions were made, including installation of the least expensive windows the builders could find.  Within five years, many of the homeowners were replacing their windows.

 Now, what is economical?   On the surface, saving about twenty five percent on the windows at the time of construction enabled the builders to sell at low dollars per square foot.  Presumably this savings was passed on to the consumer.  The actual cost of this is an initial savings of 25% to install a cheap window plus the cost of a quality replacement window, plus the labor to remove and replace the windows when they fail.  So if the cost of the initial windows was .75X, the real cost within a few years becomes .75X plus X plus 2L (labor to remove and replace the windows) plus W (the cost of wasted energy) or 1.75X + 2L + W.

 This is but one example.  When making a major purchase, consider the long term cost of ownership before making a decision.  Premature replacement is far from sustainable.

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Late this past week, I had a lengthy conversation with a client about how her windows should be flashed.  Specifically, she was looking for my thoughts on pan flashing below the windows, as the flashing pan below the window is the last bastion of defense against water getting into the house around the windows.

 I usually begin a conversation on flashing with the following statement:  “There is only one basic rule when it comes to flashing – Water runs downhill.  If this fact is respected, your home will stay dry”.

 Flashing is the most important element of an enclosure system.  It is the single element that makes a rain screen system work, whether that system consists of siding, brick veneer, EIFS, or any number of other types of systems.  If the enclosure system isn’t properly flashed, the framing behind it will ultimately rot out and there will be mold problems in the house.  Left unnoticed (this is usually a concealed condition), the very structure of the house will be impaired.

 A properly installed flashing system should not add to the cost of a house.  You will find, in fact, that most codes require it.  Simple attention to doing it correctly and providing a means for drainage caught by the flashing to be diverted from the structure will save headaches and the costs associated with correcting them for the life of the structure.

 As time goes on, I will post more specific writings on this topic.  Green construction depends on getting the moisture control right, and flashing is the most important component of moisture control.

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