Water. It’s both a vital resource and one of the most destructive forces in nature. Even a single rain shower can be a cause of concern. If left unchecked, penetration of rainwater or moisture egress can threaten building envelope stability, performance, and structural integrity. It is also a health hazard when moisture can fester over time and allow mold and associated poor indoor air quality to disrupt the health of building occupants.
Several sources indicate that as much as 80% of all construction litigation relates to water intrusion issues. Your choice is to start addressing the problem now or waiting until an incident occurs. Let’s look at the why, how, and when to test, along with the industry standards we use to protect our clients.
Where and when does water penetration usually occur?
From construction to the end of life, we’ve seen water infiltration occurring in several places and during several phases of a building’s use, including:
- Construction defects due to improper window installation or associated sealants
- A defect in the window’s construction at the time of manufacture
- Damage caused through shipping of the product to the job site
- Water seeping through doors, exterior windows, curtain walls, and skylights either due to age, temperature, or defect
The test procedures are conducted during the building’s construction when deficiencies can be identified and remedied at a much lower cost or after a suspected leak is detected.
Using the ASTM E1105 standard for protection
Laboratory tests performed by manufacturers can only simulate field conditions which may not accurately echo actual conditions in the field. A water penetration field test is a quality assurance procedure that verifies and then documents the appropriate installation and performance and detects construction defects of the installed product.
To protect against water penetration, Z6 has implemented a standardized test procedure based on the ASTM E1105 standard. It tackles this critical component of the commissioning and quality assurance process for a building enclosure.
The ASTM E 1105 is explicitly developed for field-testing of installed fenestrations by using one of two procedures:
- Procedure A uses uniform, static pressure applied consistently for 15 minutes. Z6 uses this test procedure in most field tests.
- Procedure B applies static cyclic pressure for five minutes on, then one minute off, for a total of three cycles. Unless a failure is detected, the total time is never less than 17 minutes.
Which procedure do we recommend? Water penetration is typically not uniform in real-world conditions. Therefore Procedure A is our typical choice for testing.
The ASTM E1105 test is applied to most installed exterior systems, including curtain walls, doors, windows, and skylights.
How Z6 applies the ASTM E1105 Test Standard
The ASTM E 1105 testing is performed by sealing the exterior system (window, door, etc.) and lowering the pressure inside the sealed area. At the same time, water is sprayed at a calibrated rate, uniformly across the outdoor face of the specimen and observing any water penetration.
A successful test will show the exterior specimen either meets or does not meet the preselected performance criteria for resistance to water penetration. Failure criteria of this test method are defined as water penetration beyond a plane parallel to the glazing (the vertical plane) intersecting the innermost projection of the test specimen, not including the interior trim and hardware, under the specified conditions of air pressure difference across the specimen. Note: Water not traveling beyond the limits of the glazing system is allowable.
One standard is not enough
As a building envelope firm, we look at standards as a living thing. One that adapts and changes over time. While full compliance with one standard may be enough for some needs, other testing procedures are used for water penetration testing. We also test using several standards, including ASTM E 1105, ASTM E331, ASTM E547, AAMA 501 AAMA 502, and AAMA 503.
Rest assured that our clients rely on us because of our expertise in determining the type of testing and performance standards that are right for your requirements.
Contact us to discuss your next project and how we can help you prevent damage and litigation related to water penetration.