However, it requires careful thought and consideration to properly design and install an effective water control layer because this layer is typically composed of a number of different materials in different parts of the building enclosure:
It is important to acknowledge that there will be many penetrations in the water control layer (chimneys and vents; window and door openings; plumbing, wiring,) and that addressing water control at penetrations is a crucial part of the water control layer.
When building assemblies are exposed to excessive amounts of water, a number of serious issues can arise: can cause noxious effects on occupants and rot and decay in building materials. In the worst-case scenarios, these can lead to significant health effects and the failure of structural systems.
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Degradation of thermal performance — Insulation materials that are saturated with water no longer perform their function effectively, resulting in poor efficiency and reduced comfort.
Freeze/thaw damage — In cold climates, water absorbed into building materials will expand when it freezes, causing cosmetic and structural damage to masonry, plaster, wood, and other porous materials. This type of damage often results in greater failure of materials to repel water, creating a cycle of increasing damage.
Expansion/contraction damage — In any climate, water absorbed into building materials can cause swelling (and then shrinkage as drying occurs). This type of damage often results in further failure of materials to repel water, as well as cosmetic damage.
Oxidation and chemical decay — The presence of water can cause oxidation decay of some metal materials. Water can also carry dissolved salts in masonry and plaster materials, causing efflorescence that can be merely cosmetic or structurally damaging.
Water damage in all of these forms is the leading cause of building failure, and this puts a premium on ensuring that you design and install a proper water control layer for your building.