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Publication numberUS20060032171 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/899,883
Publication dateFeb 16, 2006
Filing dateJul 27, 2004
Priority dateJul 27, 2004
Also published asWO2006014858A1
Publication number10899883, 899883, US 2006/0032171 A1, US 2006/032171 A1, US 20060032171 A1, US 20060032171A1, US 2006032171 A1, US 2006032171A1, US-A1-20060032171, US-A1-2006032171, US2006/0032171A1, US2006/032171A1, US20060032171 A1, US20060032171A1, US2006032171 A1, US2006032171A1
InventorsCharles Weir, Clarke Berdan, James Loftus
Original AssigneeWeir Charles R, Berdan Clarke Ii, Loftus James E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wall insulation system providing improved moisture control
US 20060032171 A1
Abstract
Disclosed are an insulation product and an insulation system incorporating such a product for insulating exterior walls, particularly masonry walls, that incorporates a wicking media to transport condensate away from the interface between the insulating product and the exterior wall. The condensate will be removed to a more interior location where it can evaporate and/or be transferred to and held in a sorbent material until conditions allow permit evaporation. The insulation system includes an integrated support element that can be used to increase the rate of evaporation via various methods and/or improve the aesthetic appearance of the insulating product. The evaporation rate may be improved through the use of increased wicking material area, secondary evaporative surfaces, heating and/or forced or natural convection.
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Claims(20)
1. An insulation product for exterior walls comprising:
a primary insulating layer having an inner surface, an outer surface and lower surface; and
a wicking material layer having a primary portion provided on the outer surface of the primary insulating layer for collection and transport of a liquid and an extending portion positioned below the lower surface for evaporation of the liquid.
2. An insulation product for exterior walls according to claim 1, further comprising:
a vapor retarding layer provided on the inner surface of the primary insulating layer.
3. An insulation product for exterior walls according to claim 1, wherein:
the wicking material layer covers substantially the entire outer surface of the primary insulating layer.
4. An insulation product for exterior walls according to claim 1, further comprising:
a sorbent region provided adjacent the wicking material layer.
5. An insulation product for exterior walls according to claim 4, wherein:
the sorbent region is formed by coating an outer region of the primary insulating layer with a sorbent material.
6. An insulation product for exterior walls according to claim 4, wherein:
the sorbent region is material layer provided between the primary insulating layer and the wicking material layer.
7. An insulation product for exterior walls according to claim 1, wherein:
the extending portion of the wicking material layer is arranged and configured to extend beyond a plane defined by the inner surface of the primary insulating layer and into an insulated space.
8. An exterior wall insulating system comprising:
an insulating element including
a primary insulating layer having an inner surface, an outer surface and lower surface; and
a wicking material layer having a primary portion provided on the outer surface of the primary insulating layer for collection and transport of a liquid and an extending portion positioned below the lower surface for evaporation of the liquid; and
a supporting element arranged and configured to support the insulating element and accommodate the extending portion of the wicking material layer.
9. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 8, further comprising:
a sorbent material provided within the supporting element and in contact with the extending portion of the wicking material layer.
10. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 8, further comprising:
a sorbent material provided within the supporting element and in contact with the extending portion of the wicking material layer.
11. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 8, further comprising:
a heating element provided within the supporting element and in proximity to the extending portion of the wicking material layer.
12. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 8, further comprising:
a secondary evaporative material provided within the supporting element and in contact with the extending portion of the wicking material layer.
13. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 12, wherein:
the secondary evaporative material is configured to increase an effective evaporative area.
14. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 8, wherein:
the supporting element defines a passage through which a gas may be forced along the extending portion of the wicking material layer.
15. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 8, wherein:
the supporting element includes a plurality of openings whereby vapor evaporating from the extending portion of the wicking material layer may pass into an insulated space.
16. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 15, wherein:
the supporting element includes trim elements that extend over a lower peripheral portion of the inner surface of the insulating element.
17. An exterior wall insulating system according to claim 15, wherein:
the supporting element is arranged and configured to receive a trim element, the trim element including regions that extend over a lower peripheral portion of the inner surface of the insulating element.
18. An insulation product for exterior walls comprising:
a primary insulating layer having an inner surface, an outer surface and lower surface; and
a sorbent material layer having a primary portion provided on the outer surface of the primary insulating layer for the collection, temporary retention and subsequent evaporation of a liquid.
19. A method for insulating exterior walls, the method comprising:
fastening a primary support element adjacent the exterior wall;
installing an insulating element adjacent the exterior wall, a lower surface of the insulating element being supported by the primary support element, the insulating element including an extending portion of a wicking material layer that extends the primary support element;
installing a trim element on the primary support element, the trim element including a portion covering a lower peripheral surface of the insulating element.
20. A method for insulating exterior walls according to claim 19, further comprising:
securing the extending portion of the wicking material layer with cooperating structures provided on the primary support element and the trim element.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD AND INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

This invention relates generally to a method and apparatus for insulating masonry walls that provides improved moisture control at the interface between the insulation material and the masonry wall. More particularly, this invention pertains to an insulating process and apparatus in which one or more vapor barrier, sorbent and wicking materials are used in an insulation product that is applied to a masonry wall to reduce or prevent the formation of liquid water on the masonry wall.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The exterior walls of a building are typically insulated in order to reduce the heating and cooling demands resulting from variations between the exterior temperature from the desired interior temperature. A wide range of fibrous, solid and foam insulating materials have been used to achieve this insulation, with a common insulating material being faced or unfaced batts of mineral or glass fibers.

When using a faced insulating product in which a facing layer, such as asphalt-coated Kraft paper or a polymeric film, is adhered to the insulating layer, the insulation product is typically installed with the facing layer positioned toward the interior space. This orientation tends to reduce infiltration or diffusion of the moisture-laden interior air through the insulating layer to the interface between the insulating product and the exterior wall. Particularly in climates with long heating seasons and/or extremely cold temperatures, using faced insulation products limits the amount of moisture from the interior air that can reach the cooler exterior wall and condense to form liquid water on the surface of the exterior wall.

As used herein, masonry walls include constructions utilizing clay brick, concrete brick or block, calcium silicate brick, stone, reinforced concrete and combinations thereof. Water present at the interface between the insulating product and the inside surface of the exterior wall and/or the outer portion of the insulation product is associated with a host of problems including mold growth, efflorescence, reduced insulating efficiency and, if sufficiently cold, frost spalling resulting from water freezing and expanding within cracks and gaps in the masonry.

A major contributing factor to the accumulation of water at the interface and the resulting decreased performance of the associated masonry wall system is the leakage of warm humid air through the building envelope to surfaces that are at temperatures below the dew point of the adjacent air and the associated accumulation of condensation within the insulating layer and/or on the inside surface of the exterior wall.

A need thus exists for an improved method of insulating exterior walls, particularly masonry walls, that provides improved control of water, particularly that resulting from the condensation of water vapor, at the interface between an inside surface of the exterior wall and the outer surface of the insulation product applied to the wall.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve the problems outlined above, the present invention provides an insulation product and an insulation system incorporating such a product for insulating exterior walls, particularly masonry walls, that incorporates a wicking media to transport condensed water from the interface between the insulating product and the exterior wall to a more interior location where it can evaporate and/or a sorbent material for holding water. An active layer or layers comprising one or more of a wicking fabric, wicking media and sorbent material is provided on or near the exterior surface of the primarily insulating layer. When the insulating product is installed, the active layer will be closely adjacent and/or in contact with an inside surface of the exterior wall.

The insulation product is preferably installed with a corresponding support element to form an insulation system. The support element will typically be provided along the lower edge of the insulation product and define a space between the insulation product and the floor. The support element may comprise several cooperating elements or structures and may, for example, include a baseboard portion to create a more finished appearance for the interior surface of the insulation system.

This space defined by the insulation system may be used for routing an extension portion of the primary wicking material toward and/or into the interior space in order to increase the evaporation rate. Additional elements, such as vents, grills, fans, ducts, sorbent material, secondary wicking materials and heaters, may be included in or connected to the support element for further improving the performance of the insulation system.

Various objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment, when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail exemplary embodiments thereof with reference to the attached drawings in which:

FIGS. 1-4 are cross-sectional views of exemplary embodiments of an insulation product and insulation system according to the invention; and

FIGS. 5-11 are cross-sectional views of portions of exemplary embodiments of an insulation system according to the invention.

These drawings have been provided to assist in the understanding of the exemplary embodiments of the invention as described in more detail below and should not be construed as unduly limiting the invention. In particular, the relative spacing, positioning, sizing and dimensions of the various elements illustrated in the drawings are not drawn to scale and may have been exaggerated, reduced or otherwise modified for the purpose of improved clarity. Those of ordinary skill in the art will also appreciate that a range of alternative configurations have been omitted simply to improve the clarity and reduce the number of drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIG. 1, the insulation system 100 will be installed adjacent an inside surface of an exterior wall 10 and above a floor 12. The insulation system will include a primary insulating layer 14, typically a mineral or glass fiber web and a wicking material layer 16, provided on the outside surface of the insulating layer. As installed, the wicking material layer 16 will be adjacent to and will preferably have at least portions in contact with the inside surface of the exterior wall 10. The wicking material layer 16 may be attached to the primary insulating layer 14 using any suitable method such as melt bonding or discontinuous adhesive layers.

Thus positioned, the wicking material layer 16 will preferentially collect water as it is formed by the condensation of water vapor 18 that has diffused through the primary insulating layer 14 from the interior space 24, typically a heated room, to a point near or at the cool, inside surface of the exterior wall 10 where the temperature falls below the dew point of the moisture content of the air. Similarly, the wicking material layer 16 will collect water 20 that diffuses or seeps through the masonry wall 10 from its outside surface, particularly for subsurface portions of the exterior wall that are not completely sealed. In addition to seepage, it will be appreciated that in those regions subject to periods of hot, humid weather, water vapor diffusing from the environment outside the exterior wall may condense as it reaches the cooler inside surface resulting from the air conditioning of the interior space 24.

The wicking material layer 16 is preferably a non-woven material that can be formed from a polymer or natural fiber. One suitable polymer for manufacturing the wicking material is rayon. Rayon fibers may be striated, or include channels, along the length of the fiber, which provide capillary channels within the individual fibers so the wicking action does not depend solely upon capillary action resulting from the channels formed between two adjacent fibers.

In addition to rayon fibers, other polymeric fibers including polyester, nylon, polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), may be manufactured or processed in a manner that will produce fibers including striations or channels on their surface. A number of fiber configurations have been developed that provide a plurality of surface channels for capillary transport of water and have been widely incorporated in active wear for improved comfort. These types of materials can be collectively referred to as capillary surface materials (CSM) and include so-called deep-grooved fibers that have high surface area per unit volume as a result of their complex cross-sectional configuration. The capillary material layer can be provided in different configurations including, for example, a non-woven film or a fine mesh configuration.

As a result of gravity, the wicking material layer 16 will tend to transport any water 21 that condenses at the interface between the insulation product 100 and the exterior wall 10 downwardly along the interface and, near the lower edge of the insulation product, inwardly toward the interior space 24. The portion of the wicking material layer 16 extending toward or into the interior space 24 will allow the water to evaporate as water vapor 26 into the interior space without dripping and without accumulating on the inside surface of the exterior wall 10.

There are several methods to form the wicking material which may be configured as a non-woven film and/or as a relatively fine mesh. The fibers can be laid down dry with an acrylic emulsion being applied to the fibers and then cured by heating or UV radiation exposure. Standard fiber binding emulsions such as acrylic or EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) can be utilized.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, in another embodiment of the invention the basic insulating material of FIG. 1 may be modified to include a vapor retarding layer 30. The presence of the vapor retarding layer 30 will tend to reduce the amount of moisture 18 from the moisture laden interior air diffusing through the primary insulating layer 14 by blocking a portion 18 a of the vapor. By limiting the amount of moisture that can reach the cool inside surface of the exterior wall and/or adjacent materials, the vapor retarding layer can reduce the amount of condensation 21 that will be formed and removed through the wicking material layer 16.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, in another embodiment of the invention the basic insulating material of FIG. 1 may be modified to include a layer of sorbent material 28. The sorbent material layer 28 will tend to absorb water in excess of the volume that can be successfully transported through the wicking material layer 16 and reduce the likelihood of water being present at the inside surface of the exterior wall 10 even during periods of excessive condensation or seepage. The sorbent material layer 28 will cooperate with the wicking material layer 16 to provide a “damping” effect whereby periodic increases in the volume of water can be removed over a longer period of time and reduce the volume of the wicking layer required to remove the condensate from the interface region. The sorbent material layer 28 may be a separate premanufactured layer that is laminated to the primary insulating layer 14 along with the wicking material layer or may be applied to the primary insulating material as a liquid and then dried, cured and/or activated to form a sorbent surface region within the primary insulating layer.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, depending on the volume of condensate and seepage that are anticipated for a particular installation, the wicking material layer 16 present in the insulation product illustrated in FIG. 1 may be replaced by a layer of sorbent material 28. Such an embodiment may be of particular utility for installations in which brief periods of high humidity are separated by longer periods of relatively low humidity. In such an environment, the sorbent material layer 28 will collect and hold the condensate formed from diffusing moisture 18 during periods of high humidity and allow the water vapor 23 to evaporate and diffuse back through the primary insulating layer 14 during periods of low humidity, thereby reducing or preventing the formation of water on the inside surface of the exterior wall 10. A variety of sorbent materials may be used to form the sorbent material layer 28, but will generally be characterized by their ability to absorb and hold at least about five times, and preferably at least about ten times, their weight in water.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, the basic insulating product of FIG. 1 may be incorporated with a support element to form an integrated insulating system. The support element may comprise one or more separate cooperating elements including a primary support element 32, a fascia or trim element 32 a and one or more connecting or holding elements 32 b in order to simplify assembly, but will typically define a space into which an extending portion 16 a of the wicking material layer 16 will extend toward the interior space 24. The primary support element 32 and/or the trim element 32 a may include openings such as vent holes 34 or a grill (not shown) to provide for evaporation of the water in the lower portion of the wicking material layer 16 into the interior space 24.

As illustrated in FIG. 6, the support element may incorporate a sorbent material 36 that is positioned in contact with the extending portion of the wicking material layer 16 a to provide extra water capacity in the case of periodic increases in the volume of water being removed from the interface between the insulating product and the exterior wall.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, the support element may also incorporate other elements such as a heating element 38 to assist in the evaporation of water from the extending portion 16 a of the wicking material layer. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the support element may configured to provide additional space for holding a second wicking and/or absorbent material element 40 for increasing the evaporative area and thereby increase the volume of water that can be removed from the interface between the insulating product and the interior surface of the exterior wall. The support element may also define one or more passages 42 through which air or another gas may be forced by a fan or blower to increase the rate of evaporation from the surfaces of the second wicking element 40 and/or the extending portion 16 a of the wicking material layer 16.

As illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9, the primary support element 32 may be mounted on the inside surface of the exterior wall at a position above the floor, FIG. 8, or on or closely adjacent the floor, FIG. 9. The configuration illustrated in FIG. 9 also allows direct attachment to the floor (not shown) and/or the inside surface of the exterior wall 10. In either configuration, the trim or fascia portion 32 a will typically be configured so that it can be attached, either permanently or removably, to the primary support element 32, typically in a manner that will also engage at least the extending portion 16 a of the wicking material. The trim element, whether incorporated in a unitary support element or, more typically, provided as a separate complementary element 32 a that is subsequently attached to the primary support element 32, will tend to be configured with a region that extends over a lower portion of the surface of the insulating product to provide a more finished and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

As illustrated in FIG. 10, the support element may include a primary support element 32 that is fastened in some fashion to the inside surface of the wall 10 and/or the floor 12 (not shown). The primary support element may be configured to provide for some range of vertical adjustment during installation so as to provide a substantially level support surface onto which the lower surface of the insulating element may be placed during installation. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the insulating element may include both a primary insulating layer 14 and a wicking material layer 16. The wicking material layer will typically include an extending portion 16 a that will tend to drape over a forward portion of the primary support element 32, or at least cover a portion of the top surface of the primary support element 32, as the insulating element is set into place.

The insulating system may then be completed by attaching a trim element 32 a to the primary support element 32. The trim element 32 a may include one or more projections 32 b or recesses (not shown) which will cooperate with complementary structures provided on the primary support element 32 for securing the trim element to the primary support element of the supporting element. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the projection 32 b or other fastening structures provided on the trim element 32 a and primary support element 32 may also be configured to engage and hold the extending portion 16 a of the wicking material layer within the supporting element. As further illustrated in FIG. 10, the primary support element 32 and or the trim element 32 a may be configured to define one or more raceways 44 in which cables, typically communication and networking cables 36 can be concealed and secured within the supporting element.

As illustrated in FIG. 11, the primary support element 32 or the trim element 32 a (not shown) may be provided with one or more elements or structures as illustrated in FIGS. 5-8 for increasing the rate of evaporation of the water and/or condensate reaching the extending portion 16 a of the wicking material layer 16. In the particular embodiment illustrated in FIG. 11, the primary support element is provided with a secondary evaporative and/or wicking material 40 is configured with regions or structures 40 a that will increase the effective surface area 40 a or permeability (not shown). The secondary material 40 includes a contact region at which direct contact may be established between the primary portion (not shown) or, more typically, a region of the extending portion 16 a of the wicking material layer when the insulating system is assembled. As a result of this contact, a portion of the water and/or condensate reaching the extending portion 16 a of the wicking material layer will transfer to the secondary evaporative and/or wicking material 40 where it may be more readily evaporated as a result of the increased surface area provided by the fin structures 40 a. As will be appreciated, the secondary evaporative and/or wicking material 40 may assume a wide range of configurations within, and/or partially without, the support element housing. It will also be appreciated that the particular embodiments illustrated and discussed herein, while exemplary, are not to be considered limiting or exhaustive and that a wide variety of configurations may be utilized to achieve the desired functionality and/or adapt the insulating system for more and less challenging conditions.

As also shown in FIG. 11, the trim element 32 a may incorporate other structures such as a raceway 44 for communication or power cables 46. The raceway may be configured to maintain a separation between the cables and the moisture remediation elements of the wall insulating system. The raceway may also be configured in a manner that will allow it to be opened to the interior space 24 for insertion and removal of cables 44 without requiring detaching of the trim element 32 a from the primary support element (not shown).

The principle and mode of operation of this invention have been described in its preferred embodiments. However, it should be noted that this invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its scope.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7562509 *Dec 11, 2006Jul 21, 2009The Carvist CorporationExterior building panel with condensation draining system
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/404.1
International ClassificationE04B1/74
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/7675, E04B1/70
European ClassificationE04B1/76D9, E04B1/76D
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