Thursday, December 15, 2011

wall panels

For the last few days, our steel erectors have been preparing to install the insulated steel wall panels. At 3" thick, these panels are thinner than the roof panels, but still have an insulating value of at least R-24. Like the roof panels, they are held in place with clips designed to avoid breaking the thermal barrier, and they use two kinds of sealant (gooey stuff from a tube and self-adhesive strips) to maintain a continuous moisture barrier.

Preparing the panels and the frame is taking some time and care...

At the base of the wall, a piece of trim acts as the flashing to keep water out of the house. The trim also provides a continuous surface for the tape sealant that helps maintain the moisture barrier keeping humidity out of the house. The small step in the flashing helps maintain a small gap (or reveal) between the concrete slab and the wall panels, which both provides a clean line at the bottom of the wall and prevents water being sucked into the house by capillary action.
The wall panels are cut to length in the factory, but they need to be modified in the field in order to fit under the sloping eaves or around the projecting purlins and beams. Here, John is cutting the edge of the panel that will sit at the front corner of the house, by the garage. Each steel face of the panel needs to be cut separately with a circular saw, both to cut the steel cleanly and to keep the panel from delaminating due to the vibrations produced by a reciprocating saw.

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