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Saving Wet Buildings: Bob Kelly, WickRight

Bob Kelly of WickRight launched into the techniques and technologies of fixing water-damaged masonry buildings with flat roofs with some very dramatic photos. His whirlwind tour included parapet walls that were soaking wet, efflorescence on brick walls, and even in one case a waterfall pouring out of a punctured cinder-block wall. As he says, he’s been solving these water management issues in Chicago for the last decade, and there are still at least 100,000 more problematic buildings to fix. Not that these issues are limited to the windy city; Kelly has been called in to resolve moisture issues as far away as Florida for a residential project that looked a lot like a castle.

Kelly’s solutions are firmly rooted in building science. Preventing water intrusion and creating venting pathways for moisture vapor are the guidelines he uses to dry out wet masonry, extend the life of low-slope roofs, and prevent truss damage. As usual, the details are the key to his success, and he demonstrates plenty of those for a variety of building types and conditions. He also shows a creative fix he invented for being able to work any day of the year on a roof in Chicago—a tent made with aluminum struts and shrink wrap with an exhaust fan running to reduce uplift. You just have to see it, along with the carefully crafted details. 

Mary James

Mary James

Mary James is Director of Publications at Passive House Accelerator. Her books include New York Passive House 2015; Net Zero Energy Building...

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