August 27, 2020

Cup of Joe Continuity of Control Layers

In an enclosure, we need to control Water, Air, Vapor, & Thermal. In that order of importance. We do this with different products that comprise a layer. So, water control layer. Air control layer. And so on. Seems logical. Sometimes, one material serves more than one function. So, it could serve as both a water and an air control layer.

In order to work though, the layer must be continuous. So, the water control layer of the wall must connect with the water control layer of the rough wall opening where the window is. Where there is discontinuity, we often find leaks. Leaks are bad. So punched openings need a flashing that connects with the water control layer of the wall.

When the wall intersects with something else, like a deck, the water control needs to be integrated and compatible. Otherwise, the deck rots the wall. If the deck happens to also serve as a roof over occupied space you also need to help the water drain off the deck and into a drain by providing a gap between the water control of the deck and whatever is coving the deck like pavers. It is complicated.

Where do I put the insulation? What insulation do I use? How do I avoid a failure?

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