Commercial Caulking |Calgary

About Commercial Building Envelope Systems

When constructing a new building, the building envelope is crucial to how long it can remain standing. In this article, learn about what building envelopes are, what needs to be done to ensure a good building envelope, and what factors need to be considered when constructing the building. 

Commercial building envelope systems

A commercial building envelope is the exterior of a building that repels the external elements and offers protection to the structure from damage. It keeps the interior of the building safe while showcasing an aesthetic look on the outside. In most cases, it is the most critical part of constructing a new building but is usually overlooked by many contractors. 

To do sustainable construction, there needs to be a solid building envelope in place. To pass the test of being a sound structure, it should meet or surpass expectations of the following criteria:

  • Reducing thermal transfer
  • Insulation
  • Water resistance
  • Climate control
  • Fire resistance
  • Ventilation
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Environmental conditions are always likely to change and affect how a building’s outer surface is exposed to it. To allow the building to continue providing shelter from these elements for a long time, these factors need to be considered, and a meticulous building design should be put together. 

Water leakage control, for instance, is the most important factor in the construction of commercial buildings around us. To prevent any damages from this, there are two methods that contractors will use in building envelope systems:

  1. Dual-stage
  2. Single-stage

Use a professional service like Sure Seal to ensure that your buildings are adequately maintained and repaired will save you many problems and money over time. Contact us via our website form or give us a call at (403) 265-8677 for further inquiries about our services.

Sure Seal moisture protection products helps property owners get the best defense against moisture infiltration. There is all type of building protection involved, from vapor barriers to waterproofing, helping protect the investments for years to come.

The products are meant to fit in different commercial roofing systems, and is meant to protect the property. For instance, the design solutions for these commercial building envelopes helps the building ‘breathe’. The Sure Seal team, for one, takes into account things like building power outages that can otherwise disrupt normal activity. The focus is to have the best energy performance. 

Components of the building envelope

There are a few main categories that contractors need to focus on when setting up. The components of a building envelope include:

  1. Walls
  2. Roofing Systems
  3. Fenestration 
  4. Below Grade Waterproofing

Walls

The wall system in place must structurally sound to provide enough support to keep standing upright and safe. For this purpose, load-bearing walls such as a masonry wall need to be constructed to keep moisture out and prevent any water leaks. This exterior wall is usually built using concrete or bricks as they are known to keep external elements out. 

However, if not laid right, it can lead to cracks forming in the walls over time, which is dangerous for the building’s architectural integrity. To help with this, control joints need to be placed in locations where a masonry wall is most likely to crack in the future. These joints can be placed in between intersections and wall openings.

Roofing Systems

Roofs are generally the section of a building that are most exposed to the daily external elements and climate conditions. Over time, they can get damaged and slowly deteriorate if not maintained well. The roof is the seal that holds the entire building envelope together, and so a well-designed and well-installed roofing system must be in place when construction is complete. 

To help with this, products such as caulking are used to protect from hazardous conditions and prevent damage. It is recommended to get this caulking or sealant, the metal cladding, and the roof checked every couple of years or after harsh weather conditions to identify if a replacement or repair is necessary. 

Fenestration

Fenestration systems make up the sections of a building that are openings that penetrate the external surfaces of a building – This can include a skylight, window, and door. Fenestration is responsible for controlling daylight transmission, natural ventilation, and in some way the thermal environment and moisture barriers

These areas can be entry points for moisture, so sealant applications or glazing windows should prevent this from happening. As with roofs, the sealant can weaken against climate changes over time and so will need to be reapplied every few years.

Below Grade Waterproofing

To ensure a solid foundation, measures must be taken to prevent water and vapour leakage around a building’s structure. Most modern buildings have underground facilities used as parking spaces, storage spaces, or tunnels for service conduits. 

Building envelope waterproofing systems involves applying membranes to the foundation walls that make up the underground and ground-level sections. Repairs to these parking structures and other underground structures are regularly necessary.

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Why are building envelope solutions necessary?

Having building envelope solutions in place will ensure that the building will remain structurally intact over years to come. Each part of the exterior of the building will be subject to differing challenges:

  • Walls will have to deal with the constant rain and heavy winds bouncing off it
  • Roofs will be consistently affected by the heat, rain, snow, and hail that occurs throughout the year
  • The foundation support will be surrounded by wet or damp earth made only worse with storms and other climate changes.

The building enclosure’s design and construction must work together to stop the flow of water, vapour, heat, and air to keep the building intact. However, it is important to take measures such as applying a membrane, for when water inevitably intrudes at some point by allowing it to dry out on its own. Four essential functions are needed to do this. These functions of the building envelope include:

  1. Structure support
  2. Controlling moisture
  3. Controlling airflow
  4. Thermal control

Structure Support

In the construction industry, ensuring that all the factors of building sciences are adopted when constructing the building is vital in determining its longevity. All the components that make up the building envelope will need to support the overall structure. External walls are necessary for bearing their weight, the weight of the roof, and any other additional floors. The load-bearing walls are then required to support the external walls and transfer the weight to the foundational support.

Controlling Moisture

Moisture can be a dangerous factor that affects the integrity of a building’s structure. It can affect the roofing, flooring, foundation structures, and walls. Each of these areas will regulate the transfer of moisture around the structure not to cause costly damages. Having this in place is necessary for all buildings, but it is especially important in icy and very humid climate areas. 

Controlling Airflow

Buildings are constructed for humans to survive inside them. Therefore, it is essential that the building’s interior has good air quality, controls appliance energy efficiency, prevents condensation and air leakage, and provides protection from the infiltration of external conditions. Building envelopes need to control the way air flows through the building, how it flows around the exterior of it, and have a liquid-filled air barrier in place without causing too much damage. 

Thermal Control

The temperature inside a building will determine how comfortable it will be to live inside it. Adjusting the temperature will be subjective based on where the building is being constructed. It will need to be regulated accordingly based on whether it is hot or cold most of the time. 

Heat generally tends to rise, so there needs to be enough insulation and resistance to prevent too much heat from escaping, resulting in energy savings. Buildings will also need to follow the energy code compliance to operate.