COLORSEAL joint sealants are uniquely suited for use as a component in
an air barrier assembly.
COLORSEAL and BACKERSEAL installed as offered and intended in conjunction
with a field-applied, low-modulus, liquid sealant is compliant with the ABAA
air barrier performance requirements. This is because the COLORSEAL and
BACKERSEAL/sealant system are impermeable and airtight when tested according
to ASTM E 283*.
To further put into context the consideration of joint sealants as part of
the air barrier assembly, it is useful to consider the Massachusetts
building code. Massachusetts has adopted an air barrier code and makes
specific reference to the joint sealants that connect the air-barrier
membrane to penetrations such as windows, doors, etc.
The highlighted sections of the Mass. Code recognize the ability of liquid
sealant systems to be airtight (zero permeability) and require their use a
outlined in the highlighted parts of the code.
502.4.0 Air Barriers. The building envelope shall be designed and
constructed with a continuous air barrier to control air leakage into, or
out of the conditioned space. An air barrier system shall also be provided
for interior separations between conditioned space and space designed to
maintain temperature or humidity levels which differ from those in the
conditioned space by more than 50% of the difference between the conditioned
space and design ambient conditions.
The air barrier shall have the following characteristics:
1. It must be continuous, with all joints made airtight.
2. Materials used for the air barrier system shall have an air permeability
not to exceed 0.004 cfm/ft2 under a pressure differential of 0.3 in. water
(1.57psf) (75 Pa) when tested in accordance with ASTM E 2178. Air barrier
materials shall be taped or sealed in accordance with the manufacturer's
3. It shall be capable of withstanding positive and negative combined design
wind, fan and stack pressures on the envelope without damage or
displacement, and shall transfer the load to the structure. It shall not
displace adjacent materials under full load.
4. Air barrier materials shall be maintainable, or, if inaccessible, shall
meet the durability requirements for the service life of the envelope
5. The air barrier material of an envelope assembly shall be joined and
sealed in a flexible manner to the air barrier material of adjacent
assemblies, allowing for the relative movement of assemblies due to thermal
and moisture variations and creep.
Connections shall be made between:
a. joints around fenestration and door frames
b. junctions between walls and foundations, between walls at building
corners, between walls and structural floors or roofs, and between walls and
roof or wall panels
c. openings at penetrations of utility services through roofs, walls, and
d. site-built fenestration and doors
e. building assemblies used as ducts or plenums
f. joints, seams, and penetrations of vapor retarders
g. all other openings in the building envelope
502.4.0.1 Air Barrier Penetrations. All penetrations of the air barrier
and paths of air infiltration/exfiltration
shall be made air tight.
Given that the
COLORSEAL or BACKERSEAL/liquid sealant system will be sealing control and
expansion joints and other penetrations in the air barrier assembly, it
would be necessary that the BACKERSEAL be “airtight”.
installed as part of a system comprised of the BACKERSEAL and low-modulus
liquid sealant--usually silicone. Like BACKERSEAL, COLORSEAL is an acrylic
impregnated, precompressed foam with the silicone factory applied and cured.
Given that liquid
sealant (usually silicones) tooled to typical thicknesses of ¼-inch or more
are airtight and that the silicone is applied over the BACKERSEAL, the
sealant system created by these two components is airtight in compliance
with the part of the Mass. code referenced above.
The bottom line
is that COLORSEAL, or BACKERSEAL used in conjunction with a field-applied
liquid sealant, is compliant with ABAA guidelines and will not be detrimental
to the overall performance of a compliant wall assembly.
*Using the results reported in our Test Report
relevant results are reported on Page 4, Item 5.0 Test Results.
At the relevant pressure 75 Pa and the Flow of 0.97 cu.m/hr converts to
0.0453 L/s.m2 which compared to the requirement of ABAA Compliance
Alternative B or 0.2 L/s.m2 is 5-times below the ABAA requirement**.
**NOTE: this measurement is based on the air leakage of the particular
compliant wall assembly in which the COLORSEAL and BACKERSEAL/silicone
sealant was tested. It is safe to assume that if tested in any other ABAA
compliant wall assembly, the COLORSEAL or BACKERSEAL/silicone would not have
a detrimental effect on the performance of the assembly.
As regards R-Value:
R-Value of the uncompressed base foam of which COLORSEAL and BACKERSEAL is
comprised is R-3.28/inch of depth.
As density increases R-value decreases.
So as layers of uncompressed foam are compressed to form the supplied
BACKERSEAL the resulting R-Value is R-1.8 per inch of depth at nominal (mean
temperature) joint size.
standard BACKERSEAL for a 1-inch nominal joint would have an R-value of 2.25
(R-1.8 x 1.25” = R-2.25). A custom depth specification of 2 ½” would yield
R-4.5 (R-1.8 x 2.5” = R-4.5).
would fluctuate up and down slightly from this value depending on movement
at the joint caused by thermal cycling. The R-value would decrease in
summer when the joints close up. In contrast, R-value would increase in
winter when the joints open thereby lowering the foam density of the
previously referenced examples: BACKERSEAL for a nominal 1-inch joint with 1
¼” depth and a field applied ¼” bead of silicone would yield R-2.75. The
custom 2 ½” deep BACKERSEAL with silicone would yield R-5.5.
structural expansion joints where joint openings typically average around 2
3/4-inches, SEISMIC COLORSEAL would typically be specified. 2 3/4-inch
nominal material has a standard depth of 3-inches. 3" x R-2.15 = R-6.45.
selected to seal the perimeters of the 6,500 refurbished
windows in the Empire State Buildings ongoing energy
Engineering New Record in their article
"Empire State Building Starts $500M
Energy Retrofit", describe the benefits of the
The program is
expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 38 percent in
the 102-story building at the intersection of Fifth Avenue
and West 34th Street and will provide a replicable model for
similar projects around the world. Work has already begun,
and building systems work is scheduled for completion by
residential buildings account for the majority of the total
carbon footprint of cities around the world – over 70
percent in New York City" said Anthony Malkin of building
owner of the Empire State Building Company. "Beginning in
February 2008, the Empire State Building has been used as a
test bench to create a replicable process to reduce energy
consumption and environmental impacts.
"Most new buildings
are built with the environment in mind, but the real key to
substantial progress is reducing existing building energy
consumption and carbon footprint," he said.1
While among the most
recognizable structures in the world, the Empire State
a long list of structures
that have benefitted from the vision of a designer or
consultant who has had the foresight to demand EMSEAL's
BACKERSEAL as a key
component in ensuring the integrity of their buildings
State Building Starts $500M Energy Retrofit", April 7th,
Double-Sided SEISMIC COLORSEAL provides the designer with additional
SEISMIC COLORSEAL-DS can be customized to suit the entire depth of a
wall or window mullion for example. And because both the interior and
exterior faces are factory-coated with silicone the R-Value is increased by
both the addition of depth and the addition of another layer of silicone.
R-values for the use of any of these systems installed from both faces of
the wall with an air gap between the two systems can be expected to more
than double the R-Value and insulating effect.