What is Sintered Ceramic?

There are times we are asked “what is sintered ceramic?” so we thought we would help explain that to you today. You may have also heard it called man-made stone, artificial stone, sintered stone or ultra-compact surface.

Sintered ceramic is formed by heat and extreme pressure without melting to the point of liquefaction. Simplified, it is an accelerated version of what happens in nature over millions of years to create natural stone.

The process relies on using natural materials, ground down to small particles and then compacted under heat and pressure.

It starts with natural ingredients such as: Silica, Quartz, Feldspars, Clays and Mineral pigments.

The mix of powdered or sand materials determines strength, hardness, chemical stability, and workability. The ingredients are processed under extreme heat and a pressure of more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower to form one solid slab. It is fired in the kiln/oven at 1200 degrees to dry out and in doing so is baked and the particles are fused together.

Because the slab is made from natural materials, it is UV resistant. And, because it is put under such pressure and heat, it is highly resistant to scratching, extreme temperatures, water and stains. To find out more about Ceramitex – Sintered Ceramic Facade System go to our contact page and send us a message today.

 

If you have any trouble viewing the video – you can click the link to check out the first video in our Elemex Vlog Series

Hello and welcome to today’s episode. Today we are going to talk about exterior corners.
Here at Elemex, we prefer mitered corners on all our surfaces. As you can see by the examples, the mitered corner gives a striking dimensional appearance to any returning edge.

Open or butt corners are often used in the industry and here are a few samples of what that might look like.
The negatives about an open corner are that you can see into the system and see the insulation or framing behind the panels. This takes away from the exterior appearance.

Also an open joint system allow a lot more moisture into the system as snow and rain can go directly into the wall cavity.
Our prefabricated panels will keep your corners looking straight and not have to deal with lining up miters on site during installation.

What is Corten? Weathered steel is often referred to as corten and it usually takes 2-4 years to reach the rusty patina look.
Here is an example of an untreated piece of metal that has been exposed to moisture. As you can see – the material can be affected and stained by moisture or oils.

Another issue with the corten steel is that it can lead to rust staining on other parts of your building nearby.
You have probably noticed buildings with the look of corten as the rust develops naturally. The issue is that sometimes it is so unpredictable and uneven that it makes the building look shabby instead of aged. There are products on the market that can replicate the look without the mess and unforeseeable outcome.

Ceramitex includes an Iron Corten pattern that you could use on your building. It is very durable and has the look of corten from day one with the bonus of not fading or changing over time. As you can see how easily damaged real corten can get damaged versus Ceramitex.

If you have any trouble viewing the video – you can click the link to check out the third video in our Elemex Vlog Series

Today we are going to discuss the definition of efflorescence. Efflorescence occurs when salt migrates to the surface of a porous material like concrete, brick, stone or stucco and forms a coating. Salt that is dissolved in water or another liquid solution will move to the porous surface and then evaporate which leaves a coating of salt. It sometimes travels through the masonry or other construction material and occasionally it is already in the material and the water penetrates and moves it to the surface. This crystalline deposit of salts may appear white or have a grayish tint and often sparkles a bit.

The word efflorescence means “to flower out” in French and in these cases it is salt flowering out of the surfaces. These are samples of primary efflorescence which causes staining. Sub-efflorescence, also known as spalling, is much more expensive to fix and we cover that issue in another episode. Cleaning of the surface is often temporary and not necessarily a cure for future recurrence.

Using a facade like Ceramitex is a way of avoiding the issue altogether. The sintered ceramic is not porous like many masonry materials and repels water from the surface.

To see more about the Ceramitex or other Elemex facade systems, visit our website or contact a representative for more information.

Today we are going to talk about the definition and comparison of spalling. Spalling is the pitting, flaking, delaminating or cracks that appear in concrete or bricks when the temperature goes below freezing and the moisture trapped inside expands. It can even be caused by the embedded steel reinforcement bars corroding and causing stress on the surrounding concrete. Over the course of years this will worsen and could even lead to structural issues.

Spalling is not attractive and makes a building look unmaintained. It could potentially be hazardous as falling debris or trip hazards and the appearance lowers the value of the property.

Ceramitex – sintered ceramic facade system is a perfect choice for a durable exterior that won’t crack or delaminate as the sintering process of high heat and pressure doesn’t allow moisture to penetrate the surface. It is also graffiti, scratch and impact resistant.

To see more about the Ceramitex or other Elemex facade systems, visit our website or contact a representative for more information.

Today we are going to discuss color trends. We thought we would share some of our favorite and trending colors and tell you a bit about them.

Ceramitex is offered in solid colors, some that appear to be marble and others even look like wood. Some of the colors currently trending are Iron Corten and Trilium. The Satin finish is highly resistant and ideal for commercial applications.

Stonitex is our natural stone façade made of a granite surface. Some of the colors currently trending are American Black, Cambrian Black & Bethel White, some real classics.

You can see how well the various colors work with metal or stone surfaces.

With the colors of aluminum plate virtually endless and the ability to mix with natural stone as well, there are so many beautiful combinations available. Which combination will you choose?

For more information on color availability, visit our website or contact a representative for more information.

Today we will be talking about our Tru-90 -our precision route & return fabrication process for aluminum plate. This  delivers a superior aesthetic that requires no welding or grinding.

You can see the traditional Bullnose Edge which was the conventional method. This method is more labor involved and expensive as it requires welding and grinding.

Now we offer the Tru-90 Edge which is a more modern innovation for a clean finished look to the project. It also allows for a variety of facade panels including sintered ceramic, ACM, and natural stone to share the same look with a sharp clean edge on the return.

If you would like to find out more information about Tru-90 Aluminum Plate – you can contact a representative today.

A surface that is a challenge to keep clean can be frustrating so when it comes to your exterior cladding choice, we want to offer a durable product that is easy to maintain. Ceramitex -Sintered Ceramic Facade System does not require any special care and it is very easy to keep clean.

General cleaning just involves washing with water or a diluted, household detergent such as dishwashing liquid, which is enough to restore the surface to its original condition. Occasionally deeper cleaning might be needed especially following installation when cement may be left on the surface. Power washing at medium pressure is also an effective way of removing any deposits of dirt and grime.

Not all building facades warrant the same amount of care and attention. A buildings location, function, geographic and atmospheric conditions all play roles in determining the level of cleaning effort necessary to achieve the desired appearance.

Once again, thanks for watching and please subscribe now to keep updated on our vlog series.

Solstex by Elemex is a revolutionary facade system that enables designers and architects to incorporate lightweight, large-format photovoltaic panels into a building’s facade instead of on its roof. This unparalleled design flexibility is enhanced by the ability to be seamlessly integrated with the various Elemex facade systems including: Ceramitex – Sintered Ceramic, Alumitex (Plate or ACM) and Stonitex – Natural Stone.

Solstex leverages high-efficiency, weather-resistant photovoltaic panels that not only reduce your building’s carbon footprint, but also generate LEED credits and savings that cover the cost of installation within 10-12 years.

Solstex – Solar Facade System

  • reduces your building’s dependence on fossil fuels
  • generates up to 16.9 W/sq. ft.
  • earns up to five LEED credits
  • covers the cost of installation in 10-12 years
  • exceeds IEC standards in high temperature, high humidity, and extreme weather

With Solstex, your building will be uniquely designed to harness the power of the sun.

If you would like more information about our Solstex – Solar Facade System – you can check out the website at elemex.com or contact us at info@elemex.com.

Transit and High-Traffic Areas

Are you worried about protecting the exterior cladding for a project in a high traffic area? Whether you’re talking about an airport, a bus terminal, a train station or a busy downtown corner, Ceramitex® – Sintered Ceramic panels are ideal in high traffic areas as the sintered ceramic, unlike many other masonry materials, is non-porous. Ceramitex is made from natural materials and is UV resistant; it repels water and dirt, is easy to maintain and impervious to chemicals.

Ceramitex® panels are impact and scratch resistant, offering that added protection at street level on your transit or high traffic area project. Does your project require more than one type of facade panel such as Aluminum Plate or ACM in the design? Our Unity® attachment technology allows for seamless integration of a variety of facade panels on the same attachment platform, giving you multi-panel design freedom.

To learn more about why Elemex has the best cladding choice for your transit and high-traffic areas, check out our website today at www.elemex.com

Rainscreens

Today we will be talking about Rainscreens and specifically the difference between Drained and Back-Ventilated Rainscreens and Pressure-Equalized Rainscreens.

As a refresher a Rainscreen is the first line of defense against the elements.

A rainscreen system is an exterior wall detail where the cladding stands off from the water barrier applied to the sheathing to create a capillary break and to allow drainage and evaporation.

There are two types of rainscreens, first is the Drained and Back-Ventilated rainscreens (D/BV) and secondly is the Pressure-Equalized Rainscreens (PERS).

The biggest difference between the two is that Drained and Back-Ventilated rainscreens are traditionally an open joint system that allow you to see between the panels and see the cavity of the wall system. Exposing insulation and the Air-Vapor-Barrier to the elements and harmful UV rays.

A Pressure-Equalized Rainscreen has a closed joint via infill strips that act as air dams in both vertical and horizontal joints.

The air pressure equalizes and keeps rain and snow from getting driven into the wall cavity – This significantly reduces the amount of moisture that goes into our system. Our systems have passed the AAMA 508-07 test for pressure equalization.

If you have any questions regarding rainscreens and wish to speak to one of our experts please contact us at info@elemex.com or visit us at Elemex.com

NFPA 285 Fire Test

Ceramitex has passed rigorous North American testing and we, at Elemex, continue to acquire testing that allows us to build in high-velocity hurricane zones and other strong weather areas.

Today we are going to look at the NFPA 285 test being performed on the Ceramitex facade system.

The NFPA 285 is the test for the Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load Bearing Wall Assemblies.

First, a wall is built that includes all of the components of the wall assembly. You can see that there is an opening in the middle of the wall which will be used to simulate a fire breaking out of a window and migrating to the building’s facade. The height measurements are noted on the surface.

Within minutes you can see the fire plume begin to exit the window, and at the 5-minute mark the exterior burner is ignited, which adds to the intensity of the flames on the wall assembly. Gas flow rates are increased throughout the testing period, to mimic a growing fire.

Gas flow rates and burner placements are critical for the uniform heat distribution requirements and temperature requirements specified in the testing standard.

The testing requires that the flame propagation is not high enough to ignite the floor above the floor of origin which prevents the assembly from acting as a chimney and causing fires that spread to multiple floors by way of the exterior of the building.

Conditions of acceptance include: flame height not exceeding 10 feet vertically or 5 feet horizontally from the center of the window head within the 30 minute time-frame, and temperature data during the test must not exceed the specified temperature.

You can see the full list of tests on our website and within the Spec Data sheet for all of our products including Ceramitex, Alumitex, Stonitex and Solstex.

Subscribe to our channel today to learn more about facades with definitions, comparisons, and more.

And check out our website at Elemex.com for information on all of our products.

New 2020 Ceramitex® Colors

Moving forward into this new decade, we thought we would share with you the newest colors available for Ceramitex. New to our 8mm Ceramitex collection, we are excited to introduce Baltic, Feroe, Liquid Sky, Liquid Embers, Liquid Shell, Helena, Khalo, Laurent and Rem. These gorgeous colors were inspired by the latest trends in design, are aesthetically innovative, and touch on the future of global trends. A variety of finishes are available, including velvet, polished, matte and ultramatte.

With a look inspired by Italian Carrara Marble, our new 6mm Ceramitex in Calacatta Luxe offers bold veining in dark gray, blue, brown and gold on a bright white background. Also joining our 6mm collection is Just White, offering a classic, clean and pure look. So, whether your next project design is modern, traditional or sophisticated, we can achieve your vision. If you’re interested in seeing our full color availability or you’d like samples, please reach out to us at info@elemex.com

Today we will be talking about UNITY® our proprietary attachment technology. Unity is engineered to work with all Elemex exterior cladding surfaces to create all-in-one facade system.

Some of the features and benefits of Unity are:

  • Seamless Integration – The Unity technology allows for seamless integration of a variety of facade panels on the same attachment platform, giving you multi-panel design freedom.
  • Ease of Installation – Each of our facade systems follows the same installation method giving installers the ability to efficiently install our systems on site.
  • Design Flexibility – Unity supports both simple and elaborate projects; from flat panels to complex shapes and sizes. Engineered for complete architectural design control.
  • Proven Performance – Elemex has a 50+ year history in the facades industry and all our facade systems are North American code compliant.

The Unity® Attachment System can be used the following products:
Alumitex® ACM, Alumitex® Plate, Ceramitex®, Solstex , Stonitex®

If you have any questions regarding Unity and wish to speak to one of our experts, please contact us at info@elemex.com or visit us at elemex.com

Your building’s facade is the first line of defense against the elements.
There is only a certain amount of patching that can be done to extend the lifespan of a crumbling or outdated exterior. If you are finding air or water infiltration, the leaks may present as staining, drafts or even extreme damage. It may be time to consider recladding, and you can use this opportunity to create an efficient barrier with less maintenance and an updated look.

Here are a few examples of recladding that have been completed with our Ceramitex® – sintered ceramic and Alumitex® – aluminum facade system. Solstex is our solar facade that could be incorporated as you are updating and planning for environmental and efficiency considerations. Our project management team is your resource to help optimize, coordinate, and facilitate your project. Contact us today and let us assist you in choosing the best products for your reclad project.

We are all in this together. You have continuing education requirements; we have the courses you need to help maintain your credentials. Licensed architects must earn continuing education credits each year to fulfill AIA membership requirements and if you are working on getting licensed, some AIA-approved courses count toward the experience requirement for licensure. Continuing your education is important to you and Elemex is committed to helping you meet the challenge of this uncertain new landscape. So, whether you are working from home or the office, we are available to support you virtually, including virtual presentations and CEU’s.

After participating in our Innovations in Rainscreen Surfaces and Mounting Systems CEU presentation, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss how modern rainscreens are a vital part of a water management system intended to work with the building envelope
  2. List the common terms and definitions related to rainscreens and rainscreen mounting systems
  3. Describe the most common types of materials used for rainscreens
  4. Compare and contrast rainscreen installation methods, fasteners, and new attachment technology
  5. Evaluate and specify the most appropriate rainscreen systems and materials for projects

Upon completion, we will report your course credit to the AIA on your behalf and you will receive 1 AIA LU as well as a certificate of completion. Reach out to us today at info@elemex.com and let us help you continue your education requirements and we may even treat you to lunch! Thanks for watching.

Today we will be talking about non-combustible materials specifically our Alumitex® Plate product. Aluminum Plate is a high strength, low weight aluminum alloy sheet that is durable and has excellent formability. The solid aluminum plate panels are non-combustible and therefore have no installation limitations.

The International Building Code (IBC) requires that external wall assemblies (cladding, insulation, and walls) on high-rise buildings with combustible components must pass a rigorous real-world test made known by the National Fire Protection Association under the name NFPA 285. In the United States, the use of PE core ACM on high rise buildings has been heavily regulated for decades. In Canada we have done the CAN/ULCS-114 test for non-combustibility. Our panels meet and exceed these test standards allowing you to use our panels in any capacity on the building facade.

There were several issues worldwide with combustible material cladding being used, specifically non fire-rated Aluminum Composite Material (PE – or polyethylene) instead of FR (Fire Rated) core which doesn’t comply with the building code. This can have devastating consequences as we have seen over the years with major fires due to improper cladding.

At Elemex®, we are manufacturing facade panels rather than just supplying sheets so we know the details of the building in advance and therefore which products should be used as per the regulations. We have seen a trend of using Aluminum Plate rather than ACM for many buildings now, as it is solid and won’t burn like some composites. The advantage of plate is that there is the versatility of creating crisp lines or curves and there is endless possibility of color choices as it is post painted.

For more information about Alumitex® Plate, contact us at info@elemex.com.

Today we want to feature a building in Ottawa, Canada that we think you will find interesting. NORR was tasked with completing renovations for the Canada Science and Technology Museum for Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations.

The project required: envelope upgrades, new mechanical and electrical systems, new entrance facilities and overall aesthetic enhancements to the museum. The 80,000 sq. ft. exhibition space and over 2,900 artifacts needed an impressive exterior to represent the world-class experience contained within. As you approach the building, the use of Ceramitex® provides a beautiful white facade that amalgamates with the intricate angles of the building elevations and roof.

Something that is quite exciting and impressive is that it doubles as a 250-foot long projection screen with an integrated lighting system. The National Film Board of Canada created an astonishing video, and using 4 large projectors, it is cast across the length of the building. You can see that at times it lines up the various visual elements with the vertical lights integrated into the wall and the lights are timed for movement with the video. Here you can see that example with the wind turbine towers. The images relate to some of the exhibits inside including: locomotives, artifacts, mining, space, medicine, microscopes, telescopes and more. Not only is it an educational tool using images and animations to tell the story of science and technology through the ages – it is truly an amazing sight! This well-known Ottawa institution has certainly achieved the appearance of a national museum and is worth seeing inside and out!

In part one of this two part series, we are going to explore things you need to plan for to avoid some common mistakes made in the facade industry, and we will look at how Elemex can help alleviate some of these issues with our 50+ years experience.

Mistake #1: Insufficient or lack of shop drawings. Detailed shop drawings are required for preplanning of installation and fabrication details for each specific project. An ideal shop drawing package will include detailed notes itemizing all the components that go into the facade assembly; they should include information such as plans, elevations, section and details; and a comprehensive panel layout used to determine a successful path for installation. Shop drawings allow for preplanning which can help to identify and avoid future site issues. It is extremely important to be set up for success with proper shop drawings that you can quickly reference at any time during a facade installation.

Mistake #2: Importance of adequate substructure. Some facade materials, such as Ceramitex sintered ceramic panels, assure great performance and longevity when designed and installed correctly, which rely on a good substructure. When a substructure has out-of-plane conditions, the additional deflection will place unnecessary stress on panels and the fastening systems, resulting in panel damage and distortion. At Elemex, considerations are made to ensure the structural integrity of each product supplied. Designing and installing a substructure that suits the various products fastened to it and one that is engineered to confront the dynamic conditions surrounding it, will give the frontline systems the advantage they require to deliver on performance. All sub framing should be approved by a local licensed professional engineer.

Mistake #3: Engineering errors and installation flaws. A common error in substructure design and installation occurs at slab edges where vertical sub framing is extended over traditional points of deflection. The result is the substructure buckles, and the facade will crack or bow. The Elemex framed panel systems are mounted onto a specially designed framing system in either a vertical or horizontal position. Precise site measurements and the use of trained installers ensures accurate fabrication and a successfully completed project. Please tune in next time for part two, where we discuss the final two common mistakes made in the facade industry. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe.

Welcome back to part two of our series focusing on common mistakes made in the facade industry. Today we are going to begin with
Mistake #4: Expansion and contraction issues. All facade materials will expand and contract, and some design failures happen when the fluctuations in facades and their substructures are ignored. Because of extreme temperatures and humidity, facades can crack, spall, warp or have an oil canning effect. Not only are cracks in the facade unattractive, they are exposed paths for moisture penetration into the building enclosure. The Ceramitex system by Elemex, at maximum length of 12’0”, has a movement capacity within the structural silicone to accommodate the difference in coefficient of thermal expansion between the aluminum frame and the sintered ceramic veneer from -30°C to +70°C. Accurate design should accommodate the materials tendency for expansion and contraction and allow for movement of adjoining facade materials.

Mistake #5: Incorrect ventilation. Using direct bond or other non-ventilated applications can result in moisture retention and water damage. Elemex facade systems are designed with a pressure equalized rear ventilated rainscreen in mind. Pressure-equalization reduces the pressure difference across the cladding using compartmentalization and back venting. Ingress of incidental water is reduced, and residual moisture is returned to the exterior at the drainage plane. The infill strips will protect against exposure to insulation and interior components from moisture and harmful UV rays.

Contact us today to see how our team of experts can assist in avoiding these common mistakes and let us be a part of your next project from concept to completion!

Mallory: Today we are sitting down with Dan Boyd, General Manager & Vice President, to learn more about his role here at Elemex. Thank you for joining us today Dan.

Dan: Thank you – thanks for having me.

Mallory: Please explain in your own words what you do here at Elemex.

Dan: Yes, I am the Vice President and General Manager at Elemex and I oversee the operations of this company. We supply exterior wall products all over North America and we go from the sales, estimating, design, to delivery of panels on site.

Mallory: Perfect. How long have you been with the company?

Dan: Seventeen years now.

Mallory: Amazing! What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

Dan: I think just seeing the projects that are being erected and seeing the final photos of these projects. And getting a sense of the good feeling you see with these projects going up. And just enjoying the day to day operations with the employees.

Mallory: What does a typical day for you look like?

Dan: I have a lot of standup meetings just to make sure the operations and everything is just going well. We go through each one of the projects, pretty much on a daily basis just to make sure everything is going fine. And then if there are any issues, then I sometimes I have to deal with it – depending on, you know, the size of the issue or whatever. So, basically just overseeing everything, making sure everything is going properly.

Mallory: Do you have a favorite project or building that you have worked on?

Dan: Yes I do. I would say that the CSTM project in Ottawa would be the biggest and best project that I have ever been involved with. It is over 120,000 sq ft of exterior wall. So, I was involved in that and enjoyed every minute of that.

Mallory: Beautiful. What would be three words you would use to describe your role?

Dan: Rewarding, tough and satisfying.

Mallory: Awesome. What is your biggest achievement to date – Personal or professional?

Dan: I think maybe growing the company would be my business achievement. When I first started here 17 years ago – there were 4 of us. And now I am up to 40 plus. So I think that is my biggest achievement is growing the company over the last so many years and enjoying every part of that.

Mallory: What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Dan: Play a lot of sports. Golf, hockey and, you know, I work out a few times a week. And that is basically what I do.

Mallory: Well, thanks for your time today Dan – and thank you for watching and don’t forget to subscribe!

Thank you for joining us! Here at Elemex, we educate contractors to increase our ever-growing team of preferred installers who have attended a specialized training program and who continuously install the systems per product specifications and installation guides. This one-and-a-half-day training class is offered to select contractors by invitation and consists of two mandatory components: attend the Elemex training class at our head office and job site assistance.

Curriculum covers the application of relevant Elemex panel systems and installation methods. For the contractors first project using Elemex façade systems, an installation expert from Elemex will assist the contractor with the project mock-up. The approval of a mock-up is required on all Elemex projects per product specifications. Supplementary Elemex support is available for assistance with the installation of the Elemex façade systems for an additional fee. Upon completion of the program, all Elemex Certified Installers will receive a binder including:

  • An Elemex training certificate
  • Various product & Installation guides
  • Training & Foreman support agreement
  • Installation & instructional videos list
  • And Elemex certified installer hard hat stickers

We are the future of architectural façade systems and we want you to be a part of our success. Reach out today to info@elemex.com

Thanks for watching.