All eyes are on a massive new multi-use complex located at 918 Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia, PA. The project is among the largest of many projects planned or under construction along the Delaware River waterfront. When complete, it will consist of five, seven-story buildings and one single-story building. It will include 426 residential units and 418,480 square feet of space with plentiful car and bike parking.
Weather barrier installations began in February 2023. General contractor Venco Building Group chose Philadelphia-based XLeum Construction to install Henry Blueskin® VP160 Self-adhered Water Resistive Air Barrier on all of their buildings. The companies had worked with Henry products on other projects and were confident Blueskin VP160 lived up to its reputation for reliability and installation ease.
Yuriy Tomalishak and Oleh Ilchuk, co-owners of XLeum Construction, knew tight deadlines and cold winter temperatures would be an installation challenge. Additionally, when project plans showed window installation before the air barrier system, they and their crew had to reconsider their installation practices.
Ilchuk said XLeum typically installs wraps before windows are installed. The challenge was further complicated when workers had to install the product in frigid winter temperatures at elevations as high as 70 feet in the air.
“Oftentimes, we will wrap the building in temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit,” he said. “Since framing was already complete and windows were already in, we needed to figure out this specific installation process.”
To tackle the challenge, XLeum consulted with local Henry sales representative, Neil Colquhoun. He showed them best practices for installing Blueskin VP160 over a window that is flashed with butyl tape in freezing cold temperatures. Butyl tape interferes with adhesion, so it is crucial to thoroughly clean and prime the surface before installation. Also, it is important to make sure the Blueskin is properly overlapped with the butyl tape to provide a continuous weather-resistant barrier.
“Neil came out and went through all the installation steps with us,” Tomalishak said. “He showed us how to start from the bottom and go up to the top. He also told us that we didn’t need to use as much caulking or primer as we usually use despite the cold temperatures.”
XLeum contractors wrapped the first of six buildings in just one month. According to Ilchuk, the crew found the new installation process to be easier than previously thought and are now implementing it as a best practice while working on two other projects alongside the Delaware Avenue project.
The additional projects include a 103,151 square foot residential development at 1902 East York Street in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, and a 100,000 square foot mixed-use project at 342 W. Girard Avenue in the Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia. When complete, XLeum contractors will “wrap Philly in blue” with more than 100,000 square feet of Blueskin VP160 on the three projects.
Tomalishak had this advice for other contractors. “Make friends with your sales rep. He’s there to ensure you deliver a reliable product that will protect clients’ investments for many years to come.”
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