A study of claims on home insurance show that nearly 2% of homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage, flooding, or freezing every year. These claims average nearly $9,000 each, and add up to almost $9 billion in damage annually.
This is why waterproofing is such an important part not just of the final structure, but of the complete building process.
Often builders will place an additional water resistant barrier between the cladding and the frame of the building. Of course, because this needs to be a nearly permanent solution, builders depend on the highest-quality barriers.
Over time, this has led to the use of ventilated rainscreens.
These perform a special function that is more sophisticated than just blocking water. Instead, they take water that has gotten past the first seal and direct that remaining moisture to safely drain. Counter-intuitively, they also promote the circulation of air. While this might seem inefficient, any small heating or cooling loss is more than made up by creating a moisture-free environment.
Installation requirements vary
This step in the building process has become so commonplace that many exterior cladding manufacturers not only require it, but they have specific requirements for how these sheets should be used during the building process.
Their use has been mandated or at least strongly recommended within the International Residential Code. Specifically, the code reads: “The exterior wall envelope shall be designed and constructed in such a manner as to prevent the accumulation of water within the assembly by providing a water-resistive barrier behind the exterior veneer, as described in section 14040.2, and a means of draining water that enters the assembly to the exterior.”
Many United States and Canadian municipalities have added this requirement to their own building codes.
These requirements are not prescriptive. Instead, they describe a general approach or concept that your waterproofing company should be able to address.
Waterproof barrier options
When considering the waterproofing company to entrust with your significant investment, it is important to ask how they solve this problem.
They should be able to describe a barrier that works improve drainage and promote evaporation. There is not an accepted best construction, best design, or best product to do this, but an expert waterproofing company should be able to explain why they have selected the option they have, and how it meets the requirements for local building ordinances.
More importantly, they should be able to explain how it promotes the safest, most dry internal environment for your structure.
Also, the use of such a product should be included in your plans and blueprints. Mentioning it here might cost a bit more upfront, but this is better than finding out later that it was indeed a requirement and having to add it at greater expense. Also, since it is widely regarded as a best practice, you will want to include it to add a level of certainty to your building plans for today and for the future.