Portland Rain and 22 Stories

Feb. 1, 2019

Portland, Oregon’s rainy climate can be a dicey proposition during construction, yet an innovative barrier system answered the call when it came to preventing weather delays that could impact project scheduling.

Portland, Ore.
Bora Architects

A city known for constant rains, dramatic shifts in climate throughout the year and perpetual moisture, Portland, Oregon provides unique challenges for any construction project. When Hoyt Realty Group hired Bora Architects to design the expansive, 246-ft. tall Block 20 Condominium Tower in downtown Portland, it was clear that novel solutions would be needed if the project was to be completed on time and within budget.


For the building envelope installation, Bora turned to Andersen Construction, who tapped local contractor, Western Partitions. Willing to embrace new technologies in the quest for a better way of doing business, Western Partitions believed the ideal solution was in the unique capabilities of the DensElement Barrier System with AquaKOR Technology. “We are always looking for innovations and ways to build faster, ways to build smarter. And, it just made sense to us. To have the weather resistive barrier integrated into it was exactly what we need. And, it seemed like an inevitable progression for type one construction,” said Brad Nile, Andersen Construction.

Featuring a proprietary formulation that integrates the gypsum core and the fiberglass mat to form a hydrophobic, monolithic surface that blocks bulk water but allows vapor to pass through, the DensElement Barrier System eliminates the need for an external WRB-AB. That translates to optimal performance with simplified installation, saving time and money, and reducing potential risks. Still, Western Partitions’ Project Manager John Quintrell knew he needed strong arguments and hard evidence to convince his collaborators and the property owners of the value of this relatively new product.

Of special value to the Block 20 Condominium Tower is the product’s ability to negate the impact of rainy conditions during installation. As it only requires sealing joints, fasteners, openings, penetrations and transitions with PROSOCO R-Guard FastFlash, a flashing membrane that can be applied to damp surfaces, excess moisture does little to slow progress. That helped to keep weather delays to a minimum and allowed Western Partitions to make significant progress in conditions that would’ve otherwise impacted the project schedule.


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