Aesthetics, stability go hand-in-hand with continuous exterior insulation systems

This building on 207 W 75th Street in Chicago, features continuous insulation (ci) to create a porcelain tile facade to replicate its smooth finish and mimick the grout lines with rendered trowel marks.

The protective finish

Using an engineered building enclosure system for the exterior wall can also take advantage of the wide variety of coatings available to the architect, whether the cladding is made of metal, resin-cast shapes, or other materials. With today’s advancements, these coatings can deliver stunning visual impact while improving the durability of the exterior wall.

For instance, certain finishes applied over the surface of the exterior cladding can dramatically improve the performance of the facade.

Hydrophobic finishes repel water, keeping walls cleaner longer, and providing greater protection against algae and mildew without sacrificing design possibilities, while super-hydrophobic finishes have self-cleaning capabilities with superior algae and mildew resistance. The value proposition of such finishes should be considered in coastal or rainy areas where rain cleans the wall cladding and reduces maintenance costs.

Perhaps an architect seeks to achieve the look of a metallic panel without specifying metal for the cladding. Acrylic-based coatings can attain the look of metal in many colors and over smooth or textured surfaces. The coating’s properties generate luminous depth and discernible visual impact, mimicking the properties of a metal panel but at a fraction
of the cost.

The case for sustainability

Achieving sustainability goals has become an integral part of any construction project. Engineered building enclosure systems utilizing ci exterior provide several key advantages when it comes to sustainability.

Lighter-weight cladding (e.g. resin-cast brick versus traditional brick) allows lower deflection criteria and offers weight relief. This means the building requires fewer structural components, decreasing the amount of concrete or steel required in a building. This can also translate into cost savings and reduced embodied carbon for the building.

Construction projects also reduce their carbon footprint when they opt to ship lighter-weight cladding. Consider the savings of shipping traditional cubes of bricks compared to boxes of resin-cast brick or pails of acrylic finish for exterior wall surfaces. It takes an equivalent of 15 trucks of traditional bricks to carry the same square footage as one truck of resin-cast bricks.

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