The Official Publication
of the Mason Contractors
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February Issue

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February 2015


Moisture >>> Case Study

IMI seminar showcases ‘magic bullet’ for handling water in masonry walls

Water is a beast that has long feasted on the built environment.

Much of architectural history, in fact, has been about protecting buildings from water. Cornices, water tables, coping stones, even fearful gargoyles all serve dual purposes of decoration and destructive-water diversion.

Masonry cavity-wall construction is another ingenious architectural advance. It turns the structural wall into a drainage plane ushering invading water back outside through weep holes.

Yet, water seems to find a way. As vapor, for instance, water uses air to invade walls to do its damage, from creating favorable conditions for mold and reducing walls’ R-values, to rusting pipes and staining interior walls.

But the beast may have met its match in a fluid-applied air and water-resistive barrier applied in concert with a pre-assembled flashing system.


“We think we’ve hit on that ‘magic bullet’ that will solve many of today’s problems in our masonry walls,” said Jim Lucas of J.N. Lucas & Associates in Hammond, Ind., a masonry specialist and manufacturer’s rep with nearly 40 years of construction experience.

Lucas and the International Masonry Institute (IMI) unveiled that so-called bullet to contractors and architects in two seminars in Addison, Ill., in July.

They built the program around the construction of a 10,000-square-foot addition to the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers’ (IUBAC) District Council Training Center in Addison.

“We actually specified the general system,” said Project Architect Dave Jenkins of Larson and Darby Group in Rockford, Ill. “The products themselves came to us from the Bricklayers Union. They said ‘These are products we’d like to try out.’ They met the specifications we set, so we ok’d the products.”

For the air barrier, PROSOCO in Lawrence, Kan., supplied R-GUARD Spray Wrap and R-GUARD Transition Membrane. Mortar Net USA in Burns Harbor, Ind., supplied its new TotalFlash pre-assembled, all-in-one flashing system.

The original idea was to use the construction project to show IMI apprenticeship instructors the latest air barrier and flashing system technologies, Lucas said. As instructors, they have to be familiar with the newest systems in order to teach the union’s apprentice masons.

“Then I thought this could be valuable training for our area construction professionals,” Lucas said. “Architects, in particular, aren’t often able to get out of the office to see how the latest products work on real buildings.”

The IMI’s Scott Conwell, director of market development and technical services and an American Institute of Architects (AIA) member and construction document technologist, invited the Northeastern Illinois AIA members, and the area’s union bricklayers.

About 50 people showed up for the program the first day, and more than 30 the second day, Lucas said.

r-guard spray wrap

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 December 2009 05:51