What is a building envelope, and how can it be restored?
The part of a building that is considered to be the “building envelope” is the outside walls, the roof, the windows, and the foundation of the building itself. This outside shell of the building provides moisture and thermal protection, creating a buffer between the building and the outdoor elements - an aspect of home building and renovations that is crucial to the longevity of the building.
Damage from water moisture is one of the biggest threats to the envelope of a building, and one of the biggest causes of needing to restore the building envelope. Moisture control is critical in all elements. Because of this, it is incredibly important to ensure that the building has a properly functioning envelope to avoid heat loss, air leaks, and penetration of rain. These issues can, in turn, cause poor air quality indoors, premature deterioration of the building, and costly energy inefficiencies.
A building envelope’s effectiveness is measured by many factors, all of which are important. These include: indoor air quality, durability and longevity of the structure, protection from exterior weather, energy efficiency and the subsequent cost savings.
When restoring the envelope of a building, the restoration company must ensure that the building envelope has a solid structure, an air barrier, a drainage plane, thermal and vapour barriers, moisture control in place, proper insulation and ventilation.
Once all of these items have been restored, the building’s envelope can now contribute to the longevity of the building instead of working against it. A building depends on its envelope ‐ what is considered to be the protective “shell” of the building. Without a proper envelope, the structure is compromised and needs to be restored.