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Sustainable Sealants: The Challenges of Predicting Service Life

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Aug 09, 2012 01:01 AM
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by Paula Melton last modified Aug 08, 2012

Author name:  Peter Yost Blog Category:  GreenSpec Insights Caulk joint sealants can be a major deciding factor in how long your building envelope lasts. Is there a better way to predict how long they last? Mounted on the roof at NIST, this "weathering engine" tests sealant durability. Photo Credit: National Institute of Standards and Technology Durability, or service life, is critical to the overall performance of liquid caulk joint sealants in the water and air barriers in our buildings. If we can figure out how long sealants actually last then we can come up with a prudent inspection schedule—and have a good idea of how they’ll fail and how to replace them. The good news about sealants is that they are generally exposed to view—unlike flashing tapes, which are generally buried and inaccessible. (More on tapes in a future post.) Fairly assessing durability or service life We are always hoping for that one magic test that fairly, accurately, and realistically portrays one or more performance attributes of our building materials. The trouble is that, while field tests can be more realistic, they tend to introduce many uncontrolled or non-measurable conditions. And the trouble with laboratory tests is that they set, control, and measure many conditions, making them often far from what actually goes on in the field. It turns out that we have plenty of useful standardized laboratory tests for both liquid sealants and tapes that we use in our weather and air barriers. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we haven’t had useful tests for the field service life prediction of those same sealants and tapes—until recently. read more






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