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  • Rich Baker

Is It Too Good To Be True?

Updated: May 8

High performance adhesive! Resistant to air and water! Long lasting performance! Highly durable finish! Low maintenance! Easy installation!

While these phrases, (and others like them), are intended to make you feel good about a particular product, beware, because in truth, they are simply marketing phrases that don’t mean anything.

These buzzy phrases seem to promise miracle results, but where is the substance? If you are considering introducing a new building material into the complex tapestry of parts and pieces that come together to create a durable structure, you should be digging deeper to understand what these products are… and are not. Due diligence is key in not falling prey to rosy marketing jargon.

Let’s take for example, a piece of flashing tape. What really defines a “high performance adhesive?” It feels sticky, but that is far from the whole story. Is it a rubberized asphalt-based adhesive, with a limited effective temperature range, that is potentially incompatible with other materials, and inevitably loses adhesion power over time. Doesn’t sound so high performing now, does it?

How does it compare to a competitive product in the applicable ASTM standards? What are the installation instructions? What are the conditions of use? Too often, these questions are difficult to answer. Some manufacturers are good at making this information readily accessible. Others, not so much.

One piece of information that most reputable products have on file is a Product Evaluation Report. These reports cut through the marketing noise and clearly state code compliance, material properties, installation instructions, product limitations, and test results against industry standards among other pertinent information. The ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) bills itself as the industry leader in performing technical evaluations of building products, materials and systems for code compliance, while other groups including the IAPMO Uniform Evaluation Services and DrJ’s Technical Evaluation Reports provide similar services issuing these documents to help architects, builders, inspectors, and the general public better understand product characteristics.

There are a lot of amazing building products out there, and new, innovative products are being introduced all the time. But check yourself – don’t fall for the marketing jargon. Be sure that the products that you specify truly meet your expectations.



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