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Water Intrusion Evaluation for Caulkless Siding, Window, And Door Systems

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January 2002, 20 pages

Over time all exterior wall sealant systems, including caulk, leak. Caulks work from a few days to a few years, which makes it impossible to predict when and where maintenance will be required. Since wall siding systems vary in their reliance on sealants through proper system selection and design a caulkless wall system may be developed. A caulkless wall siding system would not require sealants, or caulk, thereby eliminating both the initial expense and the routine maintenance associated with caulk. The purpose of this research is to design, evaluate, install, and monitor wall siding systems that do not require caulk, either initially or during routine maintenance.

Four wall systems were evaluated using vinyl and fiber cement siding materials. The evaluation was performed in a controlled laboratory environment to quantify the design options for robust, tolerant wall siding systems that require little maintenance.

The wall systems evaluated were:
Vinyl Siding: Best practice (caulkless)
Fiber Cement Siding: Best practice with caulk
Fiber Cement Siding: Caulkless system
Fiber Cement Siding: Caulkless system with a air-gap drainage plane

These siding systems were evaluated on their ability to eliminate wind-driven rain intrusion and to drain water that penetrates the system. Evaluations were made using sprayed water to simulate driving rain. Each test wall was separated into halves. The first half contained a 3' wide by 5' tall vinyl window and the second half was a clear wall area. The clear wall areas contained six intermediate seams in the vinyl specimen and eight in each of the fiber cement specimens. These seams were to simulate the conditions on a much longer wall span.

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Content updated on 12/10/2003

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