In a perfect world, the only thing impacting the life of our construction work would be the quality of the workmanship. But in the real world we have to account for the wear and tear that Mother Nature will inflict upon our work, and the people inside it. Here are a few smart ways to prevent the forces of nature from destroying your hard work.
Keep the Heat (and the Cold) Where You Want Them: Whatever the temperature outside, we generally want the opposite inside and that means insulation. There are plenty of options for insulating against the elements, starting with the external materials you choose. Roofs and siding are the first line of defense against the weather, so be sure to choose the right materials appropriate to your climate. For example, metal roofing is well known for its longevity, weather resistance, and energy efficiency (it reflects the sun, keeping the inside cool).
Prevent Moisture: One of the number one enemies of any construction job is moisture. Regardless if it’s the roof, walls, or the basement, wet is never good. For roofing, this means keeping to the manufacturer recommended headlap and sidelap to prevent leaks between the shingles. For siding, consider using a house wrap (water-pervious membrane) to protect the the exterior.
For the interior, there have been great advances in lumber treatments that feature a water repellant, semi-permeable vapor film that interlocks with the wood fibers in the substrate, which limits moisture absorption. These products also contain insecticidal and fungicidal properties to resist damage from mold and termites. You can also use steel studs, which have a host of other benefits as well.
For basements, a notoriously moist location, the first step is an adequate and effective drainage system. Sealing the interior or exterior of the foundation walls with a moisture barrier can be a great second line of defense to leaks. Because basements tend to get leaks, using the steel studs here can save a lot of headeaches as well.
Allow for Expansion (and Contraction): The nature of most construction materials is to expand and contract in response to temperature fluctuation. This is especially true in roofing applications. Be mindful of manufacturer instructions. A great solution for metal roofing is the RoofLoc® system offered by FASCO America®. Each fastener has a leak-proof EPDM-washer that resists temperature contraction due to temperature extremes.
Protect Against Corrosion: Moisture and acidic conditions (like coastal climates) can put a tremendous strain on metal-based materials, especially on exteriors. The BECK Fastener Group offers FasCoat®, a proprietary finish on fasteners that withstands more than 2,000 hours of salt spray testing without a huge price tag.
By combining thoughtful construction with specialty construction materials, like fasteners coated in FasCoat®, you can ensure your jobs will last. While fighting against nature is an uphill battle, it’s one we have the tools to win.