Flashing Cavity Walls at the Foundation
The primary role of flashing is to intercept the flow of moisture through masonry and direct it to the exterior of the structure. Due to the abundant sources of moisture and the potentially detrimental effects it can have, the choice of flashing material, and the design and construction of flashing details, can often be as key to the performance of a masonry structure as that of the structural system. At critical locations throughout a building, moisture that manages to penetrate a wall is collected and diverted to the outside by means of flashing. The type of flashing and its installation may vary depending upon exposure conditions, opening types, locations and wall types.
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For cavity walls, as illustrated in Figure 1, the cavity typically ranges from a minimum of 2 in. to a maximum of 4 ½ in. (25 to 114 mm) wide, with a minimum of a 1 in. (25 mm) clear airspace if rigid insulation is placed in the cavity. Cavities wider than 4 ½ in. (114 mm) are permitted only if a detailed analysis is performed on the wall ties per the International Building Code and Building Code Requirements of Masonry Structures.The 1 in. (25 mm) clear airspace works only if the mason takes precautions to insure that mortar will not bridge the airspace. Such precautions would include beveling the mortar bed away from the cavity or drawing a piece of wood up the cavity to collect mortar droppings. If precautions are not taken, it is suggested that a wider airspace be utilized, i.e. 1½ to 2 in (38 to 51 mm). Also when using glazed masonry veneer, a 2 in. (51 mm) minimum airspace is recommended with air vents provided at the top and bottom of the wall because of the impermeable nature of the unit. Proprietary insulated drainage boards or mats are available that Flashing Cavity Walls at the Foundation provide an unobstructed drainage path that eliminate the need for a clear airspace.
Flashings should be secured at the top by embedment into the masonry, a reglet, or should be adhesively attached so that water cannot infiltrate or move behind the attachment. For multi-wythe construction, the flashing should project downward along the outer surface of the inner wythe and then project outward at the masonry joint, shelf angle, or lintel where it is to discharge the water. Every effort should be made to slope the flashing towards the exterior. Effectively placed mortar or sealant material can help promote this drainage. The flashing should continue beyond the exterior face of the masonry a minimum of ¼ in. (6.4 mm) and terminate with a sloped drip edge.
As shown in Figure 1, the flashing in a cavity wall at the intersection of the foundation should be sealed to the exterior faceshell of the backup wythe, project downward to the foundation surface, outward to the exterior face of the wall, and terminate with a sloped drip. Weep holes or open head joints should be located a maximum of 32 in. (813 mm) apart.
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