The facade is the face of buildings. In contemporary architecture, the facade is of special interest expressed by large dimensions, unconventional shapes and high material diversity. Especially with these unique shapes and connections, joint design is demanding and prone to mistakes. For integral joint specification, following some rough guidelines will result in a long-lasting and tight building envelope. Sika supplies a wide range of tried-and-tested, innovative facade products for every demand.

Considerations for Facade Joints

Joint Width

The joint width is calculated from the dimensions and thermal expansion coefficients of the facade elements and the maximum and minimum temperature your facade will be exposed to.

The maximum and minimum joint width defines which movement capability the joint sealant will need to be able to withstand the daily and seasonal cyclic thermal loads. To simplify your choice, sealants are classified according to their movement class by several standards. The most common ones are listed on the next page.

Materials to Be Joined

Depending on the design of your facade, it may consist of facade elements of different materials like concrete, glass, metal, brick or stone, just to mention the most common. These elements have to be sealed to each other but also to other waterproofing products like membranes or structural glazing elements consisting of glass, metal frame and silicone adhesives.

The sealant must show sufficient adhesion to the materials involved in the joint and at the same time must be compatible with all materials to avoid discoloration, loss of adhesion over time or any changes of properties.

Environmental Exposure

Environmental conditions have an impact on the service life and performance of the sealant. Conditions like the level of UV radiation or the chemical environment the sealant is exposed to must be considered when choosing the product.

Additionally, when sealing between the inside and outside of the building the vapor permeability of the sealant must be considered to avoid accumulation of water in the walls. The general rule is to use a sealant with lower vapor permeability on
the warm side of the wall, as warm air is generally more humid than cold air.

Appearance

Ugly joints are like scars on the facade. Therefore, when specifying the joint sealant, the visual appearance of the joint must be considered. Besides the color matching to the facade elements and the toolability of the sealant, there is also staining on natural stone or streaking on glass to be considered.

Staining and streaking can damage the appearance of the whole facade and are irreversible. In this case stone and glass would have to be replaced. Hence, save money by using non-staining and non-streaking products where required.

Sealants that Last

Making mistakes specifying joint sealants eventually will lead to leakage within the building envelope with significant impact on operation and maintenance costs of your building. It is to avoid making mistakes where your building is most vulnerable.

  • Sika offers know-how and a broad range of solutions to meet all waterproofing requirements of buildings, from foundation to roof. The best waterproofing results are achieved when choosing all solutions from one hand.
  • Building envelope sealants and structural glazing adhesives are some of Sika’s core businesses with a long tradition, top global references and sound expertise.
  • Sika sealants have best-in-class handling properties. As a long standing partner of applicators worldwide, we know what they need to do for a perfect job and how to surprise their customers.
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