When selecting products for a new project, architects, engineers, specifiers, and building owners consider many criteria, from aesthetics to strength to cost. Green buildings require an additional level of scrutiny to determine products’ environmental impacts in several categories, including operational and embodied energy, carbon footprint, and emissions.
Failures of claddings like adhered masonry veneer–also known as manufactured stone–often stem from poor flashings, misapplied air and water-resistive barriers (WRBs), and limited drainage. Resulting problems related to moisture intrusion into the wall assembly’s dry zone are moist wall interiors, wet insulation, and rot in sheathing and framing.
Efflorescence is one of the first signs of moisture problems for cementitious materials, especially masonry. A by-product of moisture combining with free salts, this phenomenon is not only just a cosmetic problem—left unchecked during freeze-thaw conditions, it can cause brick to weaken, spall, or crumble in some cases.
The exterior walls of ‘historic’ buildings are typically constructed of multi-wythe masonry, which controls rainwater by absorption and evaporation. This type of assembly does not have internal drainage and often lacks flashings at critical locations (e.g. window heads).
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