“This is a potential indicator of defects in the installation
of interior zone dams, end dams, and seals at frame joinery in exterior window and glazed aluminum curtainwall
assemblies that may require de-glazing to properly repair,”
Lemieux explains. “If de-glazing and internal repair isn’t an
option, it may even necessitate the conversion of internally
drained windows and curtainwall assemblies into barrier-type assemblies that will rely on the application and mainte-
Visual wear on dock enclosures: The inside face
of a dock enclosure gradually becomes compressed into
the door opening and both sides can develop tears, rips,
and rub marks. When these signs start to appear, “odds
are good that the enclosure won’t last much longer,”
First Aid for Failing Walls
While it’s important to obtain a permanent repair before
your small problem turns into a major failure, you may need
a temporary fix to stop water from getting into your building in the interim. However, complex repairs can result in
more damage if they’re not implemented correctly.
“If you try to tape or glue something down or patch a
hole and you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s a high
likelihood that you’ll use something incompatible that
either causes additional damage or doesn’t work,” says
Smith. “For example, EPDM is very vulnerable to solvents
and petroleum-based products, so if you use a solvent to
clean it, you’re actually doing more damage that way.”
If you think your masonry is becoming dislodged,
Sheridan recommends looking into brick ties that can
hold loose bricks in place until a better solution is found.
They won’t solve a structural problem if one exists but
will keep bricks from becoming fully dislodged and
injuring someone in the meantime. Mesh or netting
installed on the outside of spalling or loosening brick is
also an option.
Consider building rapport with a consultant who can
advise you on both maintenance and repairs, Smith recom-
mends. With their help, develop a timetable for inspections,
renewing coatings, and performing maintenance tasks.
“The point is to pay attention to your building, have a
plan, and implement it,” Smith adds. “Don’t wait until you
see a stain on the ceiling before you do something.” B
Janelle Penny firstname.lastname@example.org is senior
editor of BUILDINGS.
recommends. Look for cracks, wear and tear on sealants and
paint, and cladding or siding that appears to be detaching.
“The biggest preventive maintenance requirements relate
to components that wear out quickly, such as sealants,”
explains Ted Sheridan, President of Fishburn Sheridan &
Associates Ltd. and Region VII Director for RCI, an interna-
tional association of building envelope consultants. “They
prevent moisture from infiltrating from the outside and
slow down related deterioration. That’s a good first step.”
Some signs indicate more than a need for maintenance.
If one of these red flags appears, take immediate action to
ensure safety isn’t compromised.
Falling debris: “When you start seeing slates slide off
a roof because a 100-year-old copper or iron fastener has
weakened, that’s an obvious hazard,” Smith says. “We’ve seen
this in schools – talk about a scary scenario. Look for any
metal or brick on the ground and concentrations of rust. If
anything doesn’t look right, do some further investigation.”
Watch for characteristic “run-down” staining or other
detectable moisture on interior window and door frames,
vertical mullions, and inboard glass surfaces, Lemieux adds.
”“By the time water shows up on the inside of your building, it’s had to pass through a lot of materials to get there. – Michael Smith, design consultant for Wheaton Sprague Engineering