by Steve Laible on March 31, 2016
Masonry Flashing: Innovations That Solve Common Problems
Most failures in exterior masonry are due to water penetration problems. In fact, according to Masonry Magazine, 90 percent of all masonry issues are moisture related. Over time, water will work to break down masonry joints and, if unprotected for long periods, will degrade the anchoring systems within the wall. Prolonged exposure to moisture inside the wall will fuel a bloom of mold, efflorescence, or calcium encrustations, in some cases scarring the wall’s face permanently.
As a result, in recent years there has been much emphasis on properly draining water out of masonry walls. Flashing techniques have increasingly become a popular practice for resolving water-related issues in masonry walls. Flashings prevent water leakage through masonry facades by providing a barrier to the interior wall.
Despite the advances in flashing techniques, there have been issues with some types of flashing, such as plastic and rubberized asphalt. Plastic flashing tends to deteriorate quickly, and as a result it is one of the worst types of flashing for masonry walls. Rubberized asphalt flashing does not tend to last as long as masonry buildings themselves. It can easily be torn or ripped during the construction processes and is not always compatible with other materials in the wall.
The problems with contemporary flashing materials have led some companies to create new, innovative flashing products. One such company is York Manufacturing, which has been an innovator in the masonry flashing industry for over 80 years.
York Manufacturing has developed a stainless steel fabric flashing called Multi-Flash, which solves common masonry flashing challenges. Multi-Flash is a sheet of 304 stainless steel bonded to a layer of polymeric fabric.
How York Manufacturing Multi-Flash solves common masonry flashing problems:
- Problem: The most significant issue with metal flashing is its rigidity. Often metal flashing cannot be formed by hand.
- Solution: Multi-Flash is very flexible, easy to cut, and able to be formed by hand.
- Problem: Quality of flashing materials correlates directly with the permanence of the wall. Often times the materials used for the flashings don’t have the same longevity as the structure itself.
- Solution: Multi-Flash will last as long as the building and comes with a lifetime warranty. The puncture resistance and tensile strength (amount of bending before breakage) of Multi-Flash is the best in its class. This helps avoid rips or tears in the flashing as the walls are built.
- Problem: One extremely important factor in masonry is the compatibility and ease of installation between flashings and sealants or other materials.
- Solution: Multi-Flash is compatible with other building materials used in masonry walls such as air barriers, spray polyurethane foam, insulation boards, and construction sealants.
Other key properties and benefits of Multi-Flash:
- Comes in 60 foot rolls, thereby reducing the number of lap joints that occur with other metal flashings
- Available in 12, 18, 24, and 36 inch widths
- Fire and mold resistant
- Made with stainless steel, so it will not create stains, and therefore can be used with products like limestone.
- Made with 60% recycled material and can be recycled itself
Stainless steel drainage plane flashing:
York Manufacturing has also developed a stainless steel flashing for drainage planes called Flash-Vent. Flash-Vent is similar to Multi-Flash: it is very durable and comes with a lifetime warranty; it has superior puncture resistance and tensile strength; it is compatible with air barriers, spray polyurethane foam, construction sealants, and cavity wall insulations; it has very few lap joints; it is mold and fire resistant; and it is made from 60% recycled materials and is recyclable itself.
Unlike with rubberized asphalt flashing, primers and drip edge are not required when using Flash-Vent. And, one of the more notable benefits of Flash-Vent is that mortar does not clog it, to the extent that mortar nets are not even needed in the assembly of the wall. Also worth mentioning, Flash-Vent costs about 45 percent less than peel and seal rubberized asphalt flashing.
Brick, block and mortar buildings are considered some of the strongest in the world. But if moisture problems take over, the longevity of the entire structure could be at risk. Using the proper flashings is one of the most effective ways to ensure the integrity of masonry walls.