When construction began in August 2017 on the new Monarch at Waugh Chapel multifamily development in Gambrills, Maryland, protecting the building from the elements was a primary concern. A water- and air-tight wall assembly is vitally important for controlling issues such as mold growth, protecting indoor air quality and maximizing energy efficiency and occupant comfort.
Water can find its way into a wall in numerous ways. High humidity and extreme temperatures can cause vapor diffusion when warm indoor air causes condensation on colder outside surfaces. Wind-driven rain can be forced into small openings in the exterior cladding at joints, laps, and utility cutouts, and wind blowing around the building can create a negative pressure within the wall assembly which siphons water into the wall. A high-performance weather barrier is an important tool in guarding against these elements.
The project’s initial specification called for a commonly-used building wrap, but the installing contractor knew that not all commercial building wraps are created equal. Drawing on previous experiencewith what they believe is a higher-performing option,the project’s weatherproofing contractorspearheaded a change in spec to the TYPAR Weather Protection System.
Located in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, roughly midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the $45 million Monarch at Waugh Chapel includes a 246-unit apartment building with an attached clubhouse, fitness center, courtyard pool, outdoor communal space and detached parking garages.
Subcontractor RPM Construction, having experience with TYPAR weather protection products, recommended installing the commercial-grade TYPAR MetroWrap on the project. But in order to do so, they had to communicate its relative performance benefits compared to the original spec to general contractor Bozzuto Construction, and ultimately the architect.
“We’ve been pushing TYPAR, and we were happy to realize the general contractor would be receptive to changing the spec,” said Rick Murphy, owner of RPM Construction. “I think they have multiple jobs coming where they will use TYPAR because Waugh Chapel turned out so well.”
RPM installed the complete TYPAR Weather Protect System consisting of 175 rolls (175,000 sq. ft.) of TYPAR MetroWrap, 1,000 Flashing Panels, 600 rolls of 4” straight Butyl Flashing, 140 rolls of 9” Flexible Flashing and 525 rolls of construction tape. Ben Gilstein, assistant project manager for Bozzuto Construction, headquartered in Greenbelt, Maryland, said this project was the first time he had worked with TYPAR and he came away impressed in the product’s performance and ease of installation.
“From early on in my construction career, the first thing I learned is that preventing water intrusion is probably the most important thing when it comes to preserving the lifespan of a building. If you have water getting into the building and causing mold and other damage, it can decrease the building’s value so drastically and so quickly,” Gilstein said.
When it came to performance specifications, it was crucial to include a commercial-grade building wrap as part of the weather protection system. TYPAR MetroWrap was appealing for a number of reasons. Because the development was four stories tall, the team needed a building wrap that could withstand high wind loads. TYPAR MetroWrap has a tear strength five times greater than other commercial building wraps, ensuring it would hold tight for the duration of the project.
“It’s a durable product,” Gilstein said. “When you compare it to other types of building wrap, where a 30 mph wind storm could cause everything to rip off the building and you hear that loud flapping in the wind, that just doesn’t exist with TYPAR.”
“I would definitely use TYPAR again,” he added. “It makes me feel much better about the building when we have a product like TYPAR.”
Technical support also played a big role in the project’s success, Gilstein said. He cited frequent site visits by Matt Fick, a TYPAR product specialist for distributor Snavely Forest Products, as being key to the project’s success.
“Matt was really a great help for us. He made many job site visits and also helped the RPM team with best practices for installing the TYPAR products,” said Gilstein. “Not every subcontractor is going to get that kind of one-on-one help. Having Matt there and available was huge.”
In terms of installation, Murphy said his team likes working with TYPAR MetroWrap because it holds tighter during construction, requires fewer fasten points to the wall than other commercial building wraps and stays in place once it’s installed.Because it is available in larger rolls, the installation crew was able to cover more square footage per pass without having to come down out of the lift bucket.
“There’s a very distinct sound that every builder has heard when they pull up to a jobsite and the building wrap is flapping in the wind because the fasteners didn’t hold it,” Murphy said. “Because TYPAR has that co-extrusion in the backing, it has a little bit of ‘tooth’ to it. When they go to bring it across the building, it doesn’t slide down like other wraps. We don’t have as many wrinkles in the finished product.”
There are several other performance attributes that made MetroWrap an attractive option for Monarch at Waugh Chapel. It is rated for up to 12 months of UV light exposure without any degradation, so longer commercial project timelines wouldn’t be an issue. The product’s color was also a boon for the project team, Murphy noted, because it produced less glare from the sun than a white building wrap. Once installed, the TYPAR material boosts building energy efficiency by providing the right mix of air and water holdout, resists surfactant damage and supports healthy indoor air by preventing mold growth within the wall cavity. In multifamily development such as this one, the building wrap also serves to separate conditioned air from any given unit to those adjacent.
“It’s just a heavier-duty product that really holds up to the elements,” Gilstein said.“In terms of commercial construction where you have a lot of moving parts, it’s certainly a pleasure to see a product that is durable, that can stand up to a construction site and is super easy to install.”
Just as important as the performance of the building wrap itself was the fact the team could install a complete system of compatible tapes and flashings. Gilstein said the TYPAR Flashing Panels were particularly useful for creating water- and air-tight seals around the electrical and plumbing penetrations in the building envelope, in lieu of having installers tape around these potential weak points. And the installers at RPM were particularly fond of TYPAR’s tearable seam tapes because it meant they didn’t have to worry about using a knife or their teeth to tear it.
“Once the guys in the field see that, they’re sold,” Murphy said. “They would buy that tape over everybody else’s tape just for that reason.”
At the end of the day, having the complete TYPAR Weather Protection System in place for the development gave everyone involved peace of mind.
“It’s absolutely critical to have a single system that you feel confident in and can work with all the penetrations in the building envelope to know the building is completely water tight,” Gilstein said.