Seaming with Industrial Tape: Q&A with Risa Edelstein
Recently we got the opportunity to speak with Risa Edelstein, an expert on barrier seaming with adhesive tape. Edelstein is one of the executives at ECHOtape, a worldwide provider of pressure sensitive industrial tape.
Tape works with insulation systems as a complement for energy efficiency. It is an accessory product that can be used to seam insulation such as fiberglass batts, rigid board, polyiso, etc. In the past, tapes were used sparingly on joists and viewed as a temporary fix or cheap solution. Today’s tapes have higher value and more functionality to both enhance building airtightness (seaming tape) and prevent water intrusion (flashing tapes).
Q&A with Risa Edelstein
Macie Melendez: Tell me a bit more about the background of ECHOtape’s 40 years in the business.
Risa Edelstein: Serving industries across North America, including manufacturing, building and construction, paper mills and paper converters, ECHOtape exclusively focuses on pressure sensitive tape by bringing solutions to its customers. We’ve got distribution centers across North America and an experienced technical sales team. ECHOtape is also family-owned and operated.
MM: How many types of tape does ECHOtape manufacture and how are they used?
RE: ECHOtape customizes their tape for each application, with needs varying for each industry.
ECHOtape’s product line includes insulation tapes, duct tape, cloth tape, double-sided tape, electrical tape, flatback, foam tape, foil tape, masking tape, overlaminate tape, packaging tape, protective tape, repulpable tape, tear tape, vinyl tape, sheathing tape, housewrap tape, flashing tape, acrylic tape, high performance tape, construction tape, seaming tape, sealing tape, and mounting tape.
MM: You mentioned that the seaming practice is growing among insulation professionals—can you elaborate?
RE: In Canada and Europe, every single building is seamed with insulation tape as the construction industry in these markets has employed such tactics for years.
Areas prone to high amounts of moisture, like the Southeast United States, are beginning to adopt this practice in an effort to become more ‘green,’ but this is also important in colder climates. The more sustainable and eco-friendly our industry and the industries we affect become, the more air sealing will be adopted as common practice, requiring the necessary products to do so.
The usage rate for industrial tapes on job sites is growing by 6 to 7% annually, outpacing overall construction industry growth, which is approximately 3 to 5%. New residential tape use will increase the fastest due to code compliance, and should see growth in the double digits.
There are three primary drivers to the increased usage of tapes on job sites. The first is more stringent codes (increased building envelope requirements). The second is improved tape technology, and the third is heightened awareness by builders, contractors, and building scientists.
Tapes will continue to penetrate the market as more attention is being paid to building performance and there is more demand for better air sealing.
MM: What are the benefits of using tape for sealing purposes?
RE: The primary benefits of the building tapes used today are air control, moisture control, and protection of finished materials such as windows, appliances, and hardware. Sealing tape is very easy to use and inexpensive when compared to other building materials typically being used in the construction industry.
When there is uncontrolled air movement from outside to inside (and vice versa), there is an increased risk for building failure or lackluster performance. Moisture in any form is a hazard to a building. Tapes, such as flashing, allow for superior moisture control as long as they are installed properly. Tapes are easy to handle and install and can even help make up for the decrease in skilled tradesmen on job sites.
Effective air sealing depends on both the materials being used and the conditions of the area. Contractors can match the ideal tape to the conditions of each project.
MM: What’s the biggest obstacle that ECHOtape faces in the insulation industry today?
RE: Our biggest obstacle is the fact that ‘seaming’ is not a common practice among professionals. The benefits are evident, but until skilled tradesmen and other insulation professionals adopt this as common practice, we will continue to inform and push for more eco-friendly and efficient means of insulation.
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