Water Damage & Buildings
Forces at Play
snow, and ice
- Force Wind, gravity, pressure differentials between the exterior and interior, the surface tension of water, and capillary action
- Openings Cracks, gaps, joints, or weak points in the building enclosure, as well as porous facade materials (i.e. masonry)
- Damage Deteriorating structural components and finishes; mold, rot, and associated health risks
So far as the building enclosure is concerned, water is insidious. It can undermine the structural integrity (the bones) of a building and deteriorate its exterior. The additional expansive pressures of the freeze-thaw cycles of invading moisture can literally crumble building facades. Entrapped moisture can also foster mold and rot that can sicken building occupants.
It is critical to prevent water from seeping into building walls and slowly destroying structures from within. Therefore, a moisture resistant envelope is top priority for buildings, regardless of their age or use. Holes, gaps, cracks, joints around doors and windows, and porous exterior materials such as brick, stone, and concrete can allow harmful moisture into building structures. The following forces are at play:
Resulting from pressure differences between the exterior environment and the interior of the building
Strong molecular attraction forces cause water to stick to surfaces despite the forces of gravity
The ability of water to flow into narrow spaces and porous facade materials against the force of gravity
In a non-perfectly vertical wall, gravity can drive water into sloped surfaces and openings
A properly designed and installed rainscreen system can protect any building from water damage and the resulting structural and health problems. While a variety of materials can be used in the design of the rainscreen’s outer cladding layer, glass – which is naturally durable and non-porous – offers superior protection.