A commonly prescribed remedy for fixed glass (non-operable windows) and curtain walls that are experiencing water leakage is to install new exterior sealants throughout the system. This is commonly referred to as “wet sealing.” This method is commonly used on both new construction with water leakage problems and existing construction with aged sealants. Unfortunately, this repair solution is not always as easy as it sounds as there can be several complex details that must be addressed.
When “wet sealing,” the design concept of a system that was originally designed to collect and drain water is changed to a barrier system. With a barrier system, the concept is that all water will be shed at the exterior surface. Accordingly, if any water were to penetrate the outside face, it will be trapped inside the assembly. Therefore a retrofit that stops less than 100% of the water will not function.
This paper will present the factors to evaluate when considering a “wet seal” application. It also includes a discussion about how to properly seal various types of joints when “wet sealing.” Finally, other considerations that may affect the performance and longevity of the wet seal will be outlined.
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