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Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs (2014)

Chapter: Section 1 - Durability Issues

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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Durability Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22439.
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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Durability Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22439.
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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Durability Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22439.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Durability Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22439.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Durability Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22439.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Durability Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22439.
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3 Durability Issues Deterioration of building structures, in general, and of various building components such as windows or doors, in particular, is related to the durability and life expectancy of building materials and products. Durability is typically defined as the ability of a material, product, or building to maintain its intended function for its intended life expec- tancy with intended levels of maintenance under intended conditions of use (NAHB Research Center, Inc., 2002). Some- what different definitions of durability can be found in the literature (European Commission, 2004; Kesik, 2002; Hoff, 2009; Athena, 2006), but all of them indicate the dependency of durability on the intended use of the product and its service environment. Construction deterioration is due to environmental load- ing and failure of the environmental separation (such as the building envelope) with the result of reduced durability (A. Sebastian Engineering and Investigation Services, n.d.). The manner in which materials and buildings degrade over time depends on their physical make-up, how they were installed, and the environmental conditions to which they are subjected. The Durability by Design guide (NAHB Research Center, Inc., 2002) lists factors affecting building durability such as moisture, sunlight (UV radiation), temperature, chemicals, insects, fungi, natural hazards, and wear and tear. Most notable of these factors are moisture, UV radiation from sunlight, and temperature. Other problems, such as mold and indoor air quality, are also related to moisture. 1.1 Common Problems with Existing Products and Installation A survey of early sound insulation programs, established programs, and current programs has identified some areas of concern and documented the steps that programs have taken to deal with these issues (see Table 1-1). 1.2 How to Identify Potential Issues As sound insulation programs have progressed, many of the issues described in Table 1-1 have been resolved due to the attention of program sponsors or the availability of newer and improved products. Some of the remaining issues can be detected with diligent inspections. Some issues are detect- able by creating a thorough punch list and performing a final inspection before acceptance of projects. Other issues will appear during the warranty period or even after the warranty period has lapsed. Issues such as incorrect glass thickness can be detected during product inspection by utilizing special devices. Delamination of wood doors is one of the ongoing issues that sound insulation programs still face. A skilled con- struction manager will be able to minimize the problem by making sure that the doors are stored and finished accord- ing to the instructions of the manufacturer and the contract documents. Any sign of warpage must be identified as soon as it appears, documented, and brought to the contractor/ manufacturer’s attention during the construction phase. Some items, such as moisture damage of the framing due to incorrect installation or door warpage due to insufficient finishing, might not be apparent until long after the construc- tion is completed. It is critical to discuss any concerns with owners and make sure that they perform periodic inspection and contact the contractor and/or the manufacturer as soon as any issue becomes apparent. 1.3 How to Avoid Durability Issues Although many of the issues mentioned in Table 1-1 have been resolved, there are still ongoing issues with windows and doors that can be avoided. A summary of these items is pre- sented and discussed in more detail throughout this guidance document. S E C T I O N 1

4Delamination of doors Description: Delamination of doors was one of the main issues from the early years of sound insulation programs and continues to cause problems. Acoustical wood doors contain different layers of insulation material and veneer bonded together. This combination is susceptible to moisture, which can cause the door to delaminate. Delamination is not exclusive to wood doors and has been experienced with aluminum metal prime doors, where there is a full glass storm door over a dark-colored door in full sun exposure. Resolution: • Include finishing instructions for the door leaf in the technical specification, including the number of required paint or varnish coats, the field condition under which the door finish is applied, and/or a requirement to finish all edges and holes/cuts. • Require pre-primed doors or application of sealer/primer and first coat in a warehouse, in a dry, controlled environment. • Have seasoned construction managers inspect the door finish, especially at the door edges and holes cut through the door for hardware. As technology has advanced, construction of the door core and the way it is bonded to the door skin has improved, allowing door manufacturers to increase the warranty period from 1 or 2 years to 5 years. However, the warranty language requires a 4-ft overhang or installation of a storm door to protect the wood doors. The vulnerability of acoustic wood doors to moisture is an ongoing issue and requires further improvements or design change. Warpage of the entire door panel Description: About 25% of all complaints about doors are related to door warpage. Warpage can occur due to the condition of the wood products; the manufacturing process; environmental conditions at the site, including temperature fluctuation and moisture; the environmental conditions of the warehouse where the door was stored before installation; faulty finishing; and/or faulty installation. Resolution: • Advances in technology to design an improved core. • Improvements in the manufacturing process for attachment of the door skin to door core. • Improvement in technical specifications to include finishing instructions. • Specification of how doors are to be stored in the warehouse. • Having seasoned construction managers ensure that the requirements of the technical specifications are followed. Manufacturers routinely honor the warranty of the door if warpage occurs during the warranty period provided that other requirements of the warranty language are met. Automatic door bottom seals Description: Automatic bottom seals were a continual problem in early sound insulation programs. They required regular maintenance, or they would lose their tightness, alignment, and/or would break entirely. Resolution: Most programs have replaced automatic door bottom seals with alternative fixed in-place seals. Difficulties installing the door leaf within the existing door frame Description: During the early years of sound insulation programs, only door leaves were replaced. This caused many issues during installation. It was often difficult to fit the new door within the existing frame or to add the necessary air/acoustic seals. Resolution: Pre-hung doors are now specified, including both door leaf and door frame. If new frames are not specified, the existing door frames should be modified to accommodate kerfed-in seal. S-88 smoke seals or bulb seals peeled off easily Description: During the early years, programs received complaints regarding this seal peeling off and leaving a gap for noise to penetrate the dwelling units. Resolution: Many programs discontinued the use of this seal and replaced it with a combination of rigid seals and kerfed-in seals. This remedy, along with the issues mentioned in the previous item, required specifying new door frames that could accommodate the kerfed-in seals. The use of S-88 (smoke seals) is limited to garage access doors for meeting the requirements of building codes. Misalignment of aluminum windows Description: Early acoustic windows were aluminum, tended to be somewhat flimsy, and were subject to misalignment as screws were tightened during installation. Resolution: Specifications included requirements for aluminum frame alloy and/or thickness. Table 1-1. Common issues and resolutions.

5 Improper operation of hardware Description: Improper operation of hardware interfering with closure of doors and windows. Resolution: There have been numerous advancements in hardware technology, and manufacturers dealt with this issue on the spot or incorporated changes into their manufacturing process, quality control, and/or design to minimize problems related to hardware malfunction. Weather strip deterioration Description: Weather strips are vulnerable to wear and tear and need regular maintenance. Resolution: Due to improvements in technology, manufacturers now use more durable weather strips in acoustical window products. Condensation Description: Condensation in double window assemblies. Resolution: Improved edge sealing can be used to exclude air and moisture infiltration. Sagging of casement windows Description: During the early years, sagging of casement windows created problems with closing the windows and loss of acoustical effectiveness. Although sagging is inherent in this type of the window because of its weight, there were two other major contributors to this issue: • Windows were specified without consideration of the maximum size set by the manufacturers. The limits set for the size of these windows were too high, contributing to additional weight and, as a result, sagging. • Faulty installation also contributed to the sagging. The windows were installed without proper connections to the structure or adequate support at the sill. Resolution: • Specifying solid continuous blocking along the whole length of the window to completely support the window at its sill. • Ensuring that the window is securely attached to the structure at the window jambs according to manufacturers’ installation instructions. • Setting size limitations for casement windows to deal with window weight. Contractor performance directly affects window sagging. Programs with high standards of construction management have most effectively controlled this issue. Dirt buildup on sliding tracks Description: Dirt buildup on sliding tracks of horizontal slider windows and sliding glass doors can cause difficult operation. Resolution: • Bringing the issue to the owner’s attention during the design or construction phases. • Provision of a design (by one window manufacturer) where the roller sits on a rail rather than rolling on a flat surface of the window track, alleviating issues related to the roller and dirt buildup in the track. (The major aluminum and vinyl window manufacturers did not take this issue into consideration for any design changes.) Oversized windows Description: Oversized windows, like casement windows, experienced issues with sagging or operation, which can decrease acoustical performance. Resolution: See resolution for sagging casement windows. Thermal break failure in some aluminum windows Description: The material used to create the thermal break deteriorated over time and broke down in climates with weather extremes, leaving gaps in the gasket that water could leak through. In wet weather conditions, water would run down the glass, into the gaps in the deteriorated gasket, and into the wall. Resolution: • Following lab reports, site visits of affected facilities, and communication with the window manufacturer, it was decided that that type of window would not be used in sound insulation projects in colder climates. • Some programs specify iso-bar thermal breaks and are moving away from poured and de-bridged thermal breaks. Incorrect maximum sizes Description: Incorrect maximum sizes for 3-lite sliders, which caused the frames to deflect. Resolution: New windows of a different configuration had to be installed. Incorrect glass thickness Description: Incorrect glass thickness was detected in the full-lite, self-storing storm doors where -in. glass was substituted for -in. glass. Resolution: Storm doors were replaced by the manufacturer. Failure to install tension clips Description: Failure to install tension clips on self-storing doors. Resolution: Clips were installed after construction was completed. Table 1-1. (Continued). (continued on next page)

61.3.1 Proper Design Proper design is the first step to ensuring that products perform to their potential. The following list indicates areas for special attention: • Specification of appropriate products. Suitable products should be specified during design considering the circum- stance of each project. • Climate. The aspects of climate that most affect longev- ity are precipitation, wind, and temperature fluctuations. Products facing wet and windy environments or those impacted by high seasonal or daily temperature fluctuations require a specific set of characteristics and protections. While design should take into account environmental factors and be accurately executed during construction, utilizing building materials that are more resistant to each of these factors is equally important. Excessive exposure to moisture is a common cause of damage to many types of building components and materials. Also, it can lead to unhealthy indoor living environments (Dacquisto, Crandell, & Lyons, 2004). Other examples of climates distressing products are the effect of coastal environments on aluminum products and the susceptibility of thermal breaks to failure in colder climates. • Codes, regulations, and standards. Although the main purpose of building codes is to protect public health and safety, they also contain provisions that directly affect the durability of products. Envelope flashing requirements or hurricane codes are some examples of specific codes that promote longevity. Incorporating these requirements into design and enforcing them through the construction phase ensures longevity. It is useful to incorporate the indoor air quality, ventilation, and commissioning standards of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) or regulations for interior air in states such as California, New Jersey, and Washington. These standards and regulations not only promote healthy and comfortable interior air, but also indirectly contribute to the durability of buildings. • Warranty restrictions and solutions to these restrictions. For instance, if wooden door manufacturers require a 4-ft overhang or storm door in order to honor the warranty, the requirement should be added to the design. • Proper detailing. Accurate details need to be created, ensur- ing that attachments and flashing issues are accurately Table 1-1. (Continued). deteriorating over time due to settling Resolution: Some programs use fiberglass batt insulation in ceilings whenever possible. Compliance Description: Compliance with building codes and other applicable local or federal regulations. Resolution: Specifications and inspections should require that products installed meet or exceed the applicable requirements. Close attention should be paid to any updates/changes in requirements. Mandates have been placed on air infiltration, water tests, and structural tests, including the maximum force required to open windows/sliding doors, and they were added to technical specifications. Although only a few programs use field testing on installed products, this seems like an effective quality control measure for identifying window manufacturing problems. One program has removed two manufacturers because of test failures. Achieving a healthy interior environment Description: In order to achieve a healthy interior environment, air exchange requirements within codes and regulations must be followed. Resolution: The solution has been incorporating relief vents or mechanical ventilation to overcome the pressurized interior space in order to guarantee the code-required air exchange between exterior and interior and provide fresh air in dwellings. This has improved the interior environment of the dwelling unit and reduced the need for opening windows/doors. Similarly, the addition of Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems in every home has reduced moisture problems without causing acoustic problems. Double sliding glass doors Description: Double sliding glass doors were massive and difficult to open. Resolution: STC-rated sliding glass doors have been introduced into projects. This advancement eliminated the necessity of adding storm doors to existing sliding glass doors. R-values of thermal insulation Description: The compaction of loose cellulose fill reduces the volume of air spaces within the fiber and its insulation value. Corrosion of aluminum windows Description: In close proximity to salt water, aluminum frames showed corrosion due to salt-laden air. Resolution: With advances in technology, more effective and longer-lasting coatings have become available to manufacturers, who have taken advantage of the technology to improve the longevity of their products.

7 designed, and unique cases need to be reviewed so that necessary details can be created. • Manufacturer’s limitation. Close attention should be paid to the manufacturer’s limitation on windows and doors sizes. • Lessons learned. Lessons learned from previous projects need to be reviewed and incorporated into new designs. 1.3.2 Selection of Durable and High-Performing Material Materials with proven durability should be specified. The technical specifications should include third-party cer- tifications when available. In addition, when specifying new products, the test data should be carefully reviewed to assess durability, and proof of durability should be obtained from the manufacturers or suppliers. 1.3.3 Accurate and Sufficient Detailing Insufficient or inaccurate details are a major factor in products not performing to their potential. Accurate details should be provided to clearly identify structural integrity, necessary support, sufficient attachments, compatible adja- cent material, required drainage, flashing, and ventilation. In creation of details, the opinions of construction managers and the contractor should be sought to ensure that the details are buildable. In addition, lessons learned from previous phases of the construction can provide valuable information on the workability of a given detail or necessary additional details. It is always beneficial to create forgiving details that provide a way for a worker to deal easily with inaccuracies. Most traditional details that evolve over a period of many years, and incorporate features that make them easier and more convenient for workers, are forgiving of inaccuracies and mistakes (Allen & Rand, 2007). For example, details should set dimensional tolerances that are realistic while providing the performance required by the sound insulation program. 1.3.4 Robust Construction Management and Contractor Training The construction administration period is a crucial phase in any building construction project, especially in sound insulation projects, because of the number of details that need to be followed in order to reach the goal of the program. A thorough construction management procedure ensures that correct products are utilized in the project and the design intent of the project is followed precisely. The following list outlines some areas in construction management that can directly affect the durability of products along with examples of their application: • Transportation and storage. Ensuring that products are transferred and stored in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions is critical in avoiding warpage of doors and damaging of windows. The product inspection phase is an opportunity to ensure that materials are being stored in accordance to the manufacturer’s requirements. • Product inspection. Product inspection provides an oppor- tunity to detect and fix any problem with the products before their installation. • Adherence to details and design intent. As a result of the acoustical properties required for the windows and doors, products are often heavier than windows and doors used in a regular residential project. Architects and manufacturer installation instructions might require special attachment systems or additional supports to handle the weight of the product. Contractors need to consider this fact, review the details, and make sure the intended installation procedure is followed. In addition, a seasoned construction manager will be able to identify any issue that is not in conformance with the design intent and require corrective action. • Contractor training. Some manufacturers have training programs in place for contractors. It is always useful for programs to provide a day of training before the start of construction to discuss the nature and requirements of the project, the importance of the details, the expectations in adherence to details, the sequences of the construction, and lessons learned from previous phases. • Communications. Before, during, and after construction, input from the contractors on the construction details and quality management procedures should be invited. 1.3.5 Strong Quality Assurance and Quality Control Procedures by Consultants, Subconsultants, and Manufacturers Quality control is critically important for a successful con- struction project and ideally is incorporated on all levels of the project from conception to completion. A well-designed project results in a smooth construction phase. Costly repairs can be avoided by incorporating appropriate products, inspecting installation thoroughly, and ensuring that the design intent is followed. At the same time, inspections by cities and counties or other jurisdictions that have control over the project will ensure that the code and safety require- ments are followed. The architect, engineers, construction managers, contractors, and permitting agencies should work together to deliver an accurate and well-designed project, a sound construction, and a strong inspection, as well as

8identifying deficiencies, proposing corrective actions, and maintaining complete documentation of the project. 1.3.6 Effective Maintenance A review and investigation of many projects to evaluate the effectiveness of sound insulation modifications in early programs suggest that proper maintenance is a key factor in sustaining the acoustical performance of sound insulation products. Section 7 of this report discusses maintenance after completion of the project in more detail. Summary—Avoid Durability Issues 1. Provide a suitable design with sufficient detailing and specify appropriate and durable products. 2. Incorporate a well-established and strong quality assurance and quality control plan. 3. Incorporate robust construction management. 4. Communicate the importance of maintenance to owners.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 105: Guidelines for Ensuring Longevity in Airport Sound Insulation Programs provides best practices in all phases of a sound insulation program to reduce or eliminate future deterioration issues.

ACRP Report 105 complements ACRP Report 89: Guidelines for Airport Sound Insulation Programs.

The contractor’s final report, which assesses sound insulation treatments as part of the first phase of the project that developed ACRP Report 105, is available for download.

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