Hurricane Resistance and ABAA Tests

Hurricane Resistant and ABAA compliant expansion joint and joint sealants from EMSEAL

Expansion Joint Resists Hurricane-Force Winds & Water–and Has Air Permeability 2 1/2-Times Lower Than ABAA Requirements

Testing SEISMIC COLORSEAL to ASTM E-283, E-330, and E-331

EMSEAL’s Seismic Colorseal has proved itself a workhorse in the sealing of building expansion joints in virtually any substrate material or building design.

Particularly in curtain walls but relevant to any wall the ASTM tests E-283, E330, and E331 define the performance ability of a wall assembly in regard to air leakage, water penetration, and static air pressure difference.

All wall and window assemblies contain joints–either to seal the assembly to the rest of the wall or to seal movement joints within the assembly.

It makes sense then to have data on how the building sealant or expansion joint material that will seal these penetrations will perform.

Why not test the expansion joint sealant to the same three tests?

The results would provide performance data that ensures that the sealant does not compromise the performance of the wall assembly.

20 years ago, EMSEAL applied this standard to its precompressed joint sealants Colorseal and Backerseal.

We have recently had an independent laboratory run the same tests on Seismic Colorseal.

In summary, Seismic Colorseal:

  1. Has air permeability that is 2 1/2-times lower than ABAA requirements (ASTM E-283-04)
  2. Shows no water leakage at well beyond hurricane force, wind driven rain–500, 1000, or 5000 Pascals (ASTM E331-00 (2009)
  3. Resists wind loading well-beyond hurricane-force  with essentially no deflection at both positive and negative pressures up to 4954 Pascals–equal to 200 mph winds (ASTM E330-02-procedure A)


*The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) uses 75 Pascals as the pressure level at which to measure permeability of an air barrier component, assembly or the entire building.

The ABAA allows compliance with their recommended permeability limits in ANY of three ways.

Seismic Colorseal complies in ALL three ways:


  1. MATERIALS: Air Leakage Per Unit Area not to exceed 0.02 L/(s.m2)@ 75 Pa)
    SEISMIC COLORSEAL, at 0.0078, is 2.56 times lower.
  2. ASSEMBLIES: Air Leakage Per Unit Area not to exceed (0.2 L/(s.m2) @ 75 Pa)
    SEISMIC COLORSEAL, at .0078, is 25.6 times lower.
  3. The ENTIRE BUILDING: Air Leakage Per Unit Area not to exceed (2.0 L/(s.m2) @ 75 Pa)
    SEISMIC COLORSEAL, at.0078, is 256 times lower.

Bottom Line: SEISMIC COLORSEAL as a component by itself or measured as part of either a wall assembly or the entire building will not compromise the permeability of the entire air barrier assembly designed for the building.


**Miami-Dade County Florida (the toughest standard for hurricane building code) requires windows tested to 150 mph winds.

Seismic Colorseal has been tested to 200 mph.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a rating from 1 – 5 based on the hurricanes intensity.  Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale and winds are measured using a one-minute average:

Category Wind  Speed
mph kph
1 74-95 119-153
2 96-110 154-177
3 111-130 178-209
4 131-155 210-249
5 > 155 > 249

Seismic Colorseal has been tested to 200 mph positive and negative wind loading with essentially no deflection (1/2 of a mm) of the product either way.

In addition Seismic Colorseal has been tested to 200mph wind-driven rain with no leakage.

Download a .pdf of the independent lab report or read it below:



Report to: Emseal Corporation
120 Carrier Drive
Rexdale, Ontario
M8W 5R1

Attention: Mr. Bill Witherspoon
Telephone: 416-740-2090 Ext. 220
Fax: 416-740-0233

Report No.: 09-06-M0379-A
Proposal No.: 09-006-7677

Date: November 12, 2009


At the request of Emseal Corporation, Exova was retained to conduct a performance evaluation of the air leakage resistance, water penetration resistance and the structural performance properties of a specimen identified as “Seismic Colorseal (2″)” expansion joint material as outlined in Exova Proposal Number 09-006-7677.

Upon receipt, the specimen was assigned the following Exova Specimen Number:

Client Specimen Description
Seismic Colorseal (2″ Thickness)

Exova Specimen No.

Test Description Test Method
Standard Test Method for Determining Rate of Air Leakage Through Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, and Doors Under Specified Pressure Differences Across the Specimen ASTM E283-04
Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference ASTM E331-00(2009)
Standard Test Method for Structural Performance of Exterior Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference ASTM E330-02
(Procedure A)


Testing Outline:

As outlined in Exova proposal number 09-006-7677, a steel test fixture was constructed which comprised of a 51 mm (wide) x 152 mm (deep) x 1000 mm (long) gap for the installation of the specimen. A fabrication detail of the test fixture is located in Figure 1.

The expansion joint material (Exova Specimen: 09-06-M0379) was installed in the test fixture’s gap by a representative from Emseal at Exova’s Mississauga testing facility on November 2, 2009. Photographs of the specimen’s installation are located in Appendix A.

Upon installation, the specimen was allowed to cure in the test fixture for five (5) days at ambient laboratory conditions prior to any testing.

Testing was conducted on November 9, 2009 and the following testing protocol was requested by Emseal:

  1. Initial air leakage measurements taken at 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 250 & 300 Pa (ASTM E238); Infiltration case.
  2. Water penetration resistance at 500 & 1000 Pa (ASTM E331)
  3. Structural performance testing at ±500, ±1213, ±2730, ±4854 Pa (ASTM E330-02)
  4. Water penetration resistance at 5000 Pa (ASTM E331)



Table 1 – Summarized Test Results In Accordance with ASTM E283-04

Exova Specimen No.: 09-06-M0379

Air Leakage Per Unit Crack
(linear perimeter of surface contact with the test assembly)
Air Leakage Per Unit Area
L/(s·m²) CFM/ft² L/(s·m²) CFM/ft²
25 0.000063 0.000040 0.0026 0.000512
50 0.000127 0.000082 0.0052 0.001024
75* 0.000190 0.000123 0.0078 0.001536
100 0.000238 0.000154 0.0078 0.001930
150 0.000285 0.000184 0.0098 0.002324
250 0.000428 0.000276 0.0118 0.003466
300 0.000579 0.000374 0.0239 0.004707

Note: Prior to testing the actual specimen leakage, extraneous air leakage measurements were taken at successive pressures as per ASTM E283-04

Table 2 – Summarized Water Penetration Test Results

In Accordance with ASTM E331-00(2009)

Exova Specimen No.: 09-06-M0379

Spray Period
500 15-minutes No water was observed to penetrate through the
specimen or sealant
1000 No water was observed to penetrate through the
specimen or sealant
5000* No water was observed to penetrate through the
specimen or sealant

*Testing at 5000 Pa was conducted after completion of ASTM E-330-02 structural testing

Table 3 – Summarized Structural Performance Test Results

In Accordance with ASTM E330-02 (Procedure A)

Exova Specimen No.: 09-06-M0379

Wind Speed
Upper Gauge
Deflection During Load
Center Gauge
Deflection During Load
Lower Gauge
Deflection During Load
Net Deflection of
+500 65 mph 0.2 0.0 0.2 -0.3
-500 -0.2 0.1 -0.2 0.3
+1213 100 mph -0.3 -0.1 -1.1 0.6
-1213 0.6 0.1 0.0 -0.2
+2730 150 mph** -0.2 0.0 0.4 -0.1
-2730 0.0 0.0 -0.2 0.1
+4854 200 mph 0.8 -0.1 0.1 -0.6
-4854 -0.6 0.1 0.0 0.5

Notes: ‘-’ denotes exfiltration airflow direction (simulated negative wind loading)
‘+’ denotes infiltration airflow direction (simulated positive wind loading)
ΔP Equivalents: 500 Pa = 65 mph; 1213 Pa = 100 mph; 2730 Pa = 150 mph, 4854 Pa = 200 mph




APPENDIX A: Specimen Photographs Exova Specimen No.: 09-06-M0379

Figure A1 – Test Fixture Prior to Installation of Expansion Joint

Figure A2 – Cleaning Inside of Gap on Fixture Prior to Installation of Expansion Joint

Figure A3 – Application of Dow Corning 790 Along Inside Perimeter of Gap

Figure A4 – Installation of Exova Specimen No.:09-6-M0379 in Fixture

Figure A5 – Application of Dow Corning 790

Figure A6 – Completed Test Specimen

Figure A7 – Test Specimen Installed on Test Rig