Over the past two decades, the building industry has grown exponentially in its approach to building science, product enhancement, and energy efficiency. Some of these trends are due to more knowledge about the building envelope, stricter codes, and encouragement of professionals to utilize best practices.
What’s in store for the exterior wall system in 2022? We asked our experts to weigh in.
Enforced Codes Calling Attention to Energy Efficiency:
The focus on energy-efficient design has been on the rise since the late 1970s and is slowly becoming standard in most new construction builds and remodels. In fact, the 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) changes have already laid the groundwork for increased energy efficiency requirements in climate zones four and up. As we begin the new year, two areas we anticipate seeing an increase are thermal resistance and air-tightness.
One of the easiest and most common ways to enhance thermal resistance is to increase the thickness of the insulating material. By doing this, you can reduce the amount of thermal conductivity, thus enhancing the energy efficiency of the overall structure.
While moisture management has always been a major consideration in construction, the air-tightness of the building envelope is gaining attention as another crucial factor. Increasing the air-tightness while maintaining effective airflow can help reduce the potential of air leakage and infiltration of outside air. A self-adhered, drainable weather-resistive barrier, like our HydroGap SA, is a way you can knock out two birds with one stone. Check out our HydroGap SA tips and tricks blog to make the most out of using a self-adhered product.
Another area of concern is to ensure all windows and doors have efficient sealing. Choosing the right flashing products, especially those that are part of an overall system, can help keep out unwanted air or moisture. HydroFlash LA, our silicone/polyurethane (STPU) liquid-applied flashing product, is great for challenging areas and is ideal for air sealing.
Open-Joint Cladding Used Beyond Commercial Applications:
It’s no secret that open-joint cladding has been on the rise in recent years, especially among commercial buildings. This popular trend isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s possible we will see it expand into the residential space more than before. The unique cladding aesthetic has captured the attention of architects and homeowners across the country. It’s important to remember that several considerations come into play when installing this type of system. An open-joint cladding system is particularly vulnerable to water infiltration and UV rays. Using a UV-rated weatherization system is an ideal solution to ensuring the long-term viability of the building envelope in these applications.
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Increased Attention to Flashing Details:
We’re going to see more of a focus on attention to detail, specifically when it comes to flashing. Contractor preference and new codes will be part of the driving force of this trend to ensure the high standards put in place are met. The nitty-gritty details are a critical part of the building envelope and can make or break energy efficiency and the integrity of the structure. With the increased attention and growing complexity of the building cavity, we’ll also start to see more collaboration among the architect, manufacturer, and installer.
Increased Homeowner Input:
Homeowners will continue to become more educated and involved when it comes to the materials being used for their homes. We’ve experienced first-hand that homeowners are showing more interest in what contributes to the durability of their structures. They no longer care solely about what’s on the surface; they also want to know what’s behind the walls and the value it brings. In 2022, homeowners will continue to have conversations with their contractors and even manufacturers about products they want to be used for their homes.