7 Examples of Envelope Failures and Forensics

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Sealant Inspection

To crack the case of cracking masonry or identify the slippery culprit of pooling water at a window sill, you’ll need to do some sleuthing.

Begin with sealant inspection. Measure to see if they crack as the building expands and contracts. Cracking represents entry points for water and air and could compromise the vapor retarder and insulation barriers.

“The number one failure is water penetration, typically due to lack of maintenance,” says James Cohen, principal at engineering firm Arup. “There are multiple barriers to stop water – literally thousands of feet of sealants at windows, joints, doors, and roofs. The likelihood that they are all correct is very low.”

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