The use of exterior insulation installed outboard of wall sheathing is becoming increasingly common across North America in order to meet more stringent energy code requirements. Commonly referred to as exterior insulation, this insulation is installed continuously on the outside of the primary structure and is more thermally efficient than insulation placed between studs or inboard of the structural system, provided that thermally efficient cladding attachments are used. As a result, greater attention is being paid to the design of thermally efficient structural attachment systems, and several proprietary systems have been introduced into the market in recent years to meet this demand. Cladding attachment options include continuous girts, intermittent clip & rail systems, long screws, masonry ties, and other engineered supports.
One challenge that designers and contractors face is selecting and evaluating an appropriate cladding attachment strategy for their project and understanding the implications that these decisions have on effective thermal performance, installation methods, sequencing, and system costs.
This bulletin clarifies and provides guidance regarding different cladding attachment systems through exterior insulation for commercial wall applications.