Key Concepts for the Water Control Layer
In order to ensure that your water control layer functions as intended, there are a few important concepts to understand:
Waterproof versus water resistant — A water control layer might employ materials that are:
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Waterproof — Closed-pore materials that will not allow any water to pass through them. Waterproof materials (such as metal, rubber, most plastics, and glass) are commonly used in the areas in which complete water exclusion is crucial and/or where control is likely to be required frequently or constantly. When employing waterproof materials, it is crucial to think about the implications of water being trapped on the “wrong” side of the material and being unable to dry out.
Water resistant — Porous materials that can deflect and/or absorb water are often used in a water control strategy for areas of a building that receive intermittent wetting. These porous materials can be used as a primary element of a water control layer where climatic conditions and design details allow (that is, where periods of wetting are followed by sufficient periods of drying).
Porous materials can also be treated with permeable or impermeable paints and stains to enhance their performance as a water control layer (as is often the case with wood cladding).