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Rethinking Expansion Joints in the Face of Quakes and Hurricanes

In the wake of the recent earthquakes, hurricanes and tropical storms around the world and here in New Zealand, the building industry is being given repeated reminders of a universal truth — storms and shakes need to be the baseline for structural design.

A new line of breakthrough expansion joint products means extreme protection can be built into a single product installation with solutions for walls, floors, solid and split slabs. Now is a logical time to reflect on design practice as it relates to expansion joint sizing and product selection in relation to earthquakes and storm-force, wind-driven rain.

Sizing in Relation to Product Capability

Proper sizing of joint gaps in relation to stiffness, height, geology and thermal exposure extremes are among the considerations in sizing the distances needed between structures and/or structural elements within buildings.

But just sizing the gap for anticipated movements is only half of the equation.

What is being sealed in or out? What designers desire to seal against will, in part, determine a products' movement capability. A looped membrane or simple rail-and-rubber strip seal may seal out typical falling rain and would likely handle even seismic movement.

  • But what about wind-driven rain, or worse, hurricane or tornado-driven rain?
  • What about air-pressure differentials between the inside and outside of the building?
  • What about thermal insulation — in respect to heating and cooling containment?
  • What about sound attenuation?
  • What about fire and smoke?

Looped membranes and strip seals will not provide any protection against any of these.

An Ideal Product

More than 30 years in the business of focusing the company strictly on the sealing of expansion joints, EMSEAL has evolved its product line and broken some remarkable paradigms to bring to market the Emshield family of products. Not only do these products perform in all of the conditions mentioned above, they have been independently tested to prove it.

Independent Tests Confirm Performance Claims

UL 2079 proves the products' ability to handle thermal, sway and seismic cycling frequency. It also proves the products' fire resistance in configurations to provide up to 3 hours of fire protection.

ASTM E283, E330, and E331 prove the products' performance in excess of ABAA guidelines and at positive and negative pressures to match hurricane-force winds and wind-driven rain.

ASTM C518-04 confirm the products' insulation R-Values.

ASTM E-90 reveals STC and OITC sound attenuation performance as high as 62 and 52 respectively in standard depth configuration.

Contact Allco Waterproofing to specify quality. 

View more information on Allco Waterproofing Solutions, including contact details.
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