Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Autumn!

by Doug Berger 

The fall season is a favorite, with its brightly colored leaves and crisp air.  Apples are ripe for picking and caramel apples and popcorn go great around that Autumn bonfire.  What happens when the leaves fall, though? You pull out the winter coats and gloves and hunker down to try and stay warm and dry for the rest of the season. But, what about your home?

Your home’s coat is referred to by the International Building Code as the exterior wall envelope.  Just like the envelope you mail your holiday cards in; the building envelope is supposed to seal up the interior of your home.  Its job is to provide a weather resistant barrier and prevent the accumulation of water within the walls with a water resistive barrier.  The weather resistant barrier usually consists of things like siding, sheathing, flashing, caulking and housewrap.  On roofs you have coverings like shingles and metal panels, as well as underlayments and gutters and other systems designed to shed water.  When the correct materials are properly installed for these applications they serve as moisture and air barriers, helping to keep your home warm, dry and comfortable. 

Everyone knows that a home is a major investment, and without proper care, the investment loses value. Water and air leakage through the building envelope will affect how the home feels - causing drafts that make a home cold and uncomfortable.  Additionally, water can contribute to mold growth and material rot. A properly installed building envelope allow water to flow off the inside part of the walls, while allowing the right amount of air to flow between layers to keep them dry.

How can a manufacturer, or a home owner, know these barriers are going to work, and work well?

For starters, there are test programs to evaluate the performance of siding, shingles, underlayments, housewraps and other building envelope products.  A manufacturer can have a testing lab test and certify their product.  Common tests include testing for strength, permeability, pliability and tear strength. NTA is one of the few testing laboratories that offers manufacturers a single-stop solution for all testing, certification, inspection and follow up services.  This ‘one stop shop’ saves time and money!

A home owner has other options. A blower door (or building envelope) test can help determine where drafts are coming from.  This can help determine if you need to take any action in regards to any of the protective barriers on your home. NTA is a RESNET service provider, capable of performing building envelope testing.  Not only that, but they can help you decide what your best options are, should you find you need to give your home an extra layer of warmth this year!

For more information on exterior building envelopes, how they work and how NTA can help ensure your home or product is protected, contact us today!

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