Tyvek® Fluid Applied System Protects Texas A&M Building

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On December 16, 2010, Texas A&M University broke ground on a new liberal arts and humanities building that will serve as home to the departments of English and Performing Arts, as well as the initiative in Digital Humanities, Media and Culture, which is one of the university’s Academic Master Plan highlights.

This 125,000-square-foot, five-story building is the first on campus designed specifically for instruction and scholarship in the arts and humanities. It is also the first building on this historic campus to feature DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied System as the weather barrier.

Unique Building Will Enhance Scholarship and Creative Work on Campus

Located in the center of campus, this new $46 million facility contains much more than traditional classrooms and faculty offices. It features a black box theatre, recording studios, instrument rehearsal spaces, computer-based teaching classrooms and meeting spaces.

Students and faculty will now have a beautiful, well-designed building that meets their specific needs—from classroom to stage. There is even an outdoor courtyard on the east side of this U-shaped building where students and faculty can gather for informal discussions and impromptu performances.

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DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied System Delivers Required Performance

When it came to specifying a high-performance, continuous air and water barrier, the architects at Brown Reynolds Watford decided that the Tyvek® Fluid Applied System would best meet the specifications for this project.

“The exterior of this building features cut limestone on the first floor, brick veneer on the upper floors, cast stone trim work, and perforated metal panels in some areas as accent pieces,” said Andrew Evertson, senior associate and project manager at BRW.

“One of the big challenges we have here in Texas, especially behind metal panels, is extremely high temperatures,” said Evertson. “The temperature rating for the Tyvek® Fluid Applied System could get us the performance we needed. It also could stand up to prolonged UV exposure before the skin could be applied, which was an important consideration for this project.”

Evertson also stated, “We are working with a wide variety of substrates, including concrete masonry units, metal studs, gypsum board sheathing and a multi-story curtain wall. So one of the things we really liked about the Tyvek® Fluid Applied System is that is works so well with all kinds of substrates.”

Mock-up Proves DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB is Right Choice

“I must admit, as the owner-representative, I was concerned about using DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB on this building because I had no experience with it,” said Rene Ramirez, construction project manager at Texas A&M University. “After all, this building is expected to still be in use 75 to 100 years from now. My concern was, will it last?”

During his 10 years at the university, several campus buildings have been constructed using other DuPont™ Tyvek® weatherization products. “I know firsthand that Tyvek® CommercialWrap® is an excellent air and moisture barrier because I’ve used it on other buildings here on campus,” Ramirez explained. “And I know that DuPont has great product quality and stands behind its products. I was just a bit hesitant because this product was new to me.” After examining two 15-feet by 25-feet wall mock-ups, all doubt was erased. “For me, seeing is believing,” said Ramirez. “The mock-ups gave me great comfort because I could see how Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB covers up the imperfections in the materials below and I could touch and feel it.”

Tyvek® Fluid Applied System Easy to Apply–Even in Texas Heat

Construction on the new building began in January 2011 and the DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB was applied over a six-month period beginning in October.

“Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB is working very well for us,” said Evertson. “It’s been a very durable membrane that seals really well and takes the abuses of construction. And unlike other products that start to degrade after only a month or two of UV exposure, Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB continues to look good and retains it’s elastomeric polymer quality with no brittleness for up to nine months of exposure.”

For Jon Winkles, senior project manager at Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing, this project was more than just another job. “Texas A&M is my alma mater,” explained Winkles. “I’m very proud to be involved with this project and was happy that the architects specified the DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied System.”

Winkles and his crew had just completed a hotel project with the Tyvek® Fluid Applied System before starting work on the Texas A&M University campus and quickly saw the advantages of this air and water barrier solution.

“One of the great advantages is its UV stability,” said Winkles. “With other membranes, the brick must be applied within 30 days or the membrane starts to degrade. With Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB, we have greater flexibility in scheduling because it can be exposed for up to nine months.”

Another feature that Winkles really likes is the white color of DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB. “In Texas, heat is a major concern. It can reach 140°F on the west façade of a building in the afternoon which means productivity plummets,” explained Winkles. “Because Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB is a white material instead of black or dark gray like competitive products, it helps reduce heat stress issues, which helps increase productivity.”

Benefits of a Complete System

“I like the fact that all the components we needed for this project—from joint compound to flashing—are part of one system from DuPont,” said Winkles. “Each component is great by itself and it’s a definite plus that they are designed to work well together.”

Winkles also liked the technical support that he received from DuPont. “Having the DuPont™ Tyvek Specialist available to provide technical support is great,” said Winkles. “We had a pre-job meeting with all the key players and discussed job site inspection. We did our own quality control and the general contractor did his quality control, but it was nice to have the Tyvek® Specialist verify that the installation was done correctly. It was also nice to be able to call the Specialist with questions.”

Applied in a one-coat application by spraying or power rolling, DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB delivers superior protection, offers enhanced durability and saves time by providing two to three times the coverage of competitive fluid applied materials. It can be applied on damp walls and will not wash off in rain while curing.

“It was nice to see the Tyvek® Fluid Applied WB perform so well during installation,” noted Evertson. “But the real benefit of choosing this product is that it will provide a high-performance, continuous barrier against air and water infiltration.”

And that means that this new showcase building on Texas A&M University’s campus will be more energy efficient and won’t be threatened by leaks that can lead to mold formation.

DuPont™ Tyvek® Weatherization Systems Products Used on this Project:

  • DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied Weather Barrier (WB)
  • DuPont™ Tyvek® Fluid Applied Flashing & Joint Compound
  • DuPont Sealant for Tyvek® Fluid Applied System
  • DuPont™ StraightFlash™
  • DuPont™ FlexWrap™