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The role of Cavity Flashings in preventing water ingress in buildings | Blog | Remedial Building Services | Remedial Building Services

Based on statistics, 80 percent of building defect [...]

WATER LEAKS ARE NOT ALWAYS FROM FAULTY MEMBRANE

Over the years we have talked extensively about water leaks and the issues they cause. We have detailed the role of a good membrane, of having good waterproofing and even the need to ensure you maintain your drains and down pipes. But one thing we have neglected is the role of cavity flashings.
 
Flashings are used across industrial, commercial, multi-dwelling apartment buildings and single-dwelling homes and are a requirement for complying construction. But whilst they may be required, it does not mean that they are always installed correctly, or that over time they have not broken down and now the cause of your water ingress issues.
 
In this article, we explain the role of cavity flashings, explore issues which can come around from their failure and other interesting information which will help you see the importance of a complete waterproofing system.

The problem with water leaks

To simply say that water ingress is bad news is an understatement. Water ingress in buildings can cause immediate damage (carpet, electrical or other damage) and ultimately lead to  hefty rectification costs involved with detecting leaks, rectifying the cause and then taking steps to remedy the situation (which the longer it goes on, will cost more to fix).
And if you do not believe us, then let us share this: Based on statistics, 80 percent[1] of building defects are attributed to water leaks and consequential damages yet water proofing only accounts for just 1 percent of the building costs. According to a study conducted by University of New South Wales (UNSW) City Futures Research Centre, waterproofing is listed as the foremost problem in newly build apartments in Australia.
 
 
And here is the thing, even mild water ingress may cause ongoing issues when the water or moisture comes into contact with areas of vulnerability such as electrical and communication wires, plasterboard or internal surfaces including carpet. Furthermore, as we have spoken about at length, water issues will ultimately lead to structural issues, and can also increase the risk of pest and health issues caused by mould and damp. Fixing any of these issues (notwithstanding fixing the structural issues) can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
 
So what else do you need to know? Well here are a few pertinent points to consider.

What you need to know about Flashings

Compliant to Performance Requirement P2.2.2, the roof and external walls of a structure must prevent the entry of water that could lead to unhealthy or dangerous conditions, a loss of amenity for residents, and undue dampness or deterioration of the elements in the building. Flashings should be installed in masonry to function as a barrier to water penetration or seepage, and redirect moisture which would otherwise get into the building. Flashings should be either partially exposed or embedded, and made up of metal (lead, aluminium, copper, zinc) or non-metal (rubber, plastic).
Flashings are typically utilised on roofs around projections or intersections, wall interruptions such as windows, under sills on windows or door thresholds, intersection of roof and wall, through-wall or cavity wall, lintels above doors and windows, edges of roof, junctions on slope, pipes penetrating roofs, and at the intersection of two (2) roof planes forming a valley in which water may pond. In other words, it should be anywhere where there could be a weak point in the building structure due to a change in plane or material.
 
Cavity flashings (which can be thought of as through-wall flashing) are a continuous sheet of impervious material installed across gap of the wall, that redirects moisture that may enter the wall towards the wall exterior to keep the building structurally intact. It is applied to all points where moisture may enter the wall and in select places susceptible to water infiltration.
Weep holes or head joint vents often accompany (we believe they should always be present, though many builders neglect this simple and effective measure) through-wall flashing to formally permit water egress. This type of flashing is required to span from a minimum of 200 mm from the low point of external wall to the high point inside the wall. Weep holes are spaced typically at 600 mm centre to centre throughout the wall length allowing moisture an easy way to exit the building especially if one of them should be blocked.
 

Factors which affect the performance of Flashings

If you have water ingress issues, you may benefit from checking/installing your flashings. But before you do go and install new/replacement flashings, there are a few things to consider which are stipulated in the Building Code. Factors including design, materials selection, installation and maintenance will affect the efficacy of the flashings you install.
 

Materials and component compatibility.

When you are installing flashings there may be other metals in the area you are looking to install them. When exposed to water and other metals, metal flashings may cause undesirable chemical reactions. Make sure you check for other elements, and where possible, ensure flashing materials and components are acquired from a single manufacturer.
 

Limits of application

Compared to trimmed flashings, extending the flashing beyond the face of the wall improves overall drainage. However, as with all things, More is not always better, so check that you ensure your design is not over the top.
 

Adhesion to substrate

There is no use installing your flashings if they are not adhered adequately. Make sure you have full adhesion to the substrate material which prevents lateral movement.
 

Progression

There will be instances where you need to overlap the flashings. Where this occurs, ensure you overlap the flashings by at least 150 mm to the substrate and ensure you seal the edges. Sealant recommendations from the manufacturer should be sought to protect edges of splice.
 

Continuity to corners and projections

Where you need to add bends or corners, try to source prefabricated pieces as these improve the performance of the flashing. Where this is not possible, make sure you overlap all cuttings and adhere them adequately.
 

Termination

An end dam of at least 25 mm to head joint should be constructed where flashing is not continuous, such as on openings and sides of vertical expansion joints. Flashings should be integrated with water-resistive barriers to enhance drainage. Any flashing can be terminated at the bed joint of a wall interior and termination must be held in place.
 

January 22

Use of Fire Resistant Cladding in Building Upgrades | Remedial Building Services | Remedial Building Services

In recent years building cladding has been a dirty [...]

BUILDING UPGRADE USING CLADDING

While cladding has changed massively over the years in terms of materials and usage, it is thought to have been around in some form or another for many centuries. In fact, historical discoveries would indicate evidence of cladding being used as early as the 5th century where various homes in the United Kingdom used cladding made of timber.  Primarily due to the fact cladding provides thermal insulation, weather resistance, and (can provide) aesthetical appeal it is generally considered a beneficial aspect of any type of building.
 
It is ironic, given proof to the contrary, that many people consider cladding to be a relatively new invention. Rather, what is relatively new, is the evolution of different materials used for the cladding process. Sadly, due to a number of high-profile tragedies, cladding in recent years has come under the spotlight, but the fact remains, where compliant building cladding is used, the benefits functionally and aesthetically cannot be ignored. In this article, we'll talk about the newer trends in cladding, its evolution and how it can be an effective solution for upgrade requirements.
 

Why upgrade your building?

Sometimes, when you look at an existing building, especially when you compare it to a newer one, it is hard not to think “Geez, that really needs a facelift”. It’s ironic really, but the fact is, people do not often think about the building needing an upgrade. People change their cars, their personal look and many other aspects of their life much more regularly than they do the buildings they work or live in, which when you think about it is strange given how much time is spent in them.
See, many people view a building only as a structure that provides shelter and allows them to go about their daily functions comfortably, but in failing to consider maintenance to and/or upgrades to the building, they are neglecting to realise there could be ongoing ramifications to either the structure, or the value.
 
Unusually for us on this blog, we are not looking at the structural aspects of a building which may need attention, but do want to consider aesthetic attributes. The basic concept of the walls of a building is to protect the interior systems, your resources, and the overall structure of the building. But above and beyond this, it should offer acoustic and thermal insulation and be aesthetically pleasing too. Here is the thing though, over time, what was once seen as adequate, or fit for purpose, may no longer be. Technology may (read – likely does) mean there are newer options which can be used to enhance all of the above and even more. This is where cladding comes to the fore, by providing benefits such as lower operating costs for thermal aspects, improved safety, reduced noise levels, and even fire protection.
 

Cladding as an Upgrade

Simply put, Cladding is the application of one material over another to provide a layer. In other words, it acts as a skin for your building. But what is the right cladding to use, are there different price points and what do the different options do that others may not?

Cladding is an excellent way to improve the performance of your building. 
There are many different factors which may affect what cladding you consider. It may depend on the existing façade, compatibility with the façade, the aesthetic look you desire, the budget you have and what properties you want it to achieve above others. That all said, today’s cladding in general offers multiple benefits.
 
First, it is an excellent layer of protection for the actual structure of your building, and will insulate it as well. It works as insulator for both noise and heat, working to keep the outside elements from affecting the internal climates selected by residents. Aside from that, cladding increases the mechanical strength of a building as it is resistant to cracks caused by temperature or climate change and due to the aforementioned insulation properties it offers, helps to prevent movements in the building structure itself.
 
Because cladding can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, ceramic, concrete, stone, and others, the aesthetic look you desire can usually be achieved, whilst also offering the advantages already mentioned. Further, because cladding protects the building and also offers visual improvements, the work required to maintain the structure is diminished which in return reduces the amount of money required into the future, whilst simultaneously increasing the value of your building.
  
Notwithstanding the terrible events in buildings such as the Lacrosse Tower, cladding materials have evolved a long way both in terms of the options, but also visual improvements. Most-notably, cladding materials have improved their performance criteria in terms of thermal resistance, water resistance, and soundproofing, whilst also becoming more affordable, making them more popular for these reasons.

 

Best Fireproof Cladding Facades

Nothing is truly fireproof, but there are options available now which look to nullify the devastation of the previous cladding fires. Ultimately, the appropriate cladding material to use depends on the orientation of your building and surrounding environment, whether it's located in the city, beach, and the façade itself. Speaking to an architect and designer will play an important role in correct material selection as they'll know the constraints of the materials and requirements. 
 
In terms of fire rating compliance there are multiple options, but a strong contender is fibre cement. Aside from being the fastest growing material in use it is an excellent option for fireproof cladding facades because it resists damage from fire and can be designed as required. It is also an ideal material for exterior cladding facade panels as it offers many practical benefits such as strength and durability. 
 
Another suitable non-combustible cladding material are metallic options. Metals, in general, are known to have high-level durability, resistance, and longevity. Further, they are low maintenance, easy to install, don't absorb moisture, and are insect-proof.
 
At the end of the day, if you are unsure what you should be considering to upgrade your building; whether you need to consider window replacement, or just a cladding upgrade, give us a call. We are ready to help and come packed with experience to help you make the right choices.

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