Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SEALING A PREFABRICATED PANEL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2022/032389
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Example embodiments of the described technology provide a prefabricated building panel. The prefabricated building panel may comprise an insulative core having first and second opposing faces. The prefabricated building panel may also comprise a cementitious layer covering one of the first and second opposing faces of the insulative core. The prefabricated building panel may also comprise a first interface between the insulative core and the cementitious layer. A sealing cap extending longitudinally along at least a portion of one edge surface of the panel may seal the interface.

Inventors:
DOMBOWSKY MICHAEL ANTHONY (CA)
DOMBOWSKY BENEDICT JOHN (CA)
DOMBOWSKY MARK BENEDICT (CA)
DOMBOWSKY BRADEN LOUIS (CA)
Application Number:
PCT/CA2021/051112
Publication Date:
February 17, 2022
Filing Date:
August 12, 2021
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NEXII BUILDING SOLUTIONS INC (CA)
International Classes:
B32B3/08; B32B13/00; B32B37/00; B32B38/00; E04C2/06; E04C2/288
Foreign References:
CA3033991A12018-04-26
CA2078062A11993-03-14
CA2400122A12004-02-28
US9598891B22017-03-21
CN207905129U2018-09-25
CN204899014U2015-12-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BAILEY, Thomas W. et al. (CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1 . A prefabricated building panel, the panel comprising: an insulative core having first and second opposing faces; a first cementitious layer covering the first face of the insulative core; a first interface formed between the first cementitious layer and the insulative core; and a sealing cap extending longitudinally along at least a portion of an edge surface of the panel, the sealing cap at least partially sealing the first interface.

2. The panel of claim 1 wherein the sealing cap comprises a membrane.

3. The panel of claim 2 wherein the membrane comprises a waterproof membrane.

4. The panel of claim 3 wherein the waterproof membrane is breathable.

5. The panel of any one of claims 2 to 4 wherein the membrane comprises an upper and a lower surface, the lower surface of the membrane in contact with the edge surface of the panel and wherein the lower surface of the membrane comprises an adhesive.

6. The panel of any one of claims 2 to 5 wherein the membrane has a thickness of less than 5mm.

7. The panel of any one of claims 2 to 6 wherein the membrane wraps over at least one face of the insulative core. The panel of claim 7 wherein the membrane wraps over the at least one face of the insulative core by an amount in the range between 0.25 inches and 2 inches. The panel of claim 7 or claim 8 further comprising a sealant, the sealant sealing an interface formed between the membrane and the first cementitious layer. The panel of claim 9 wherein the sealant comprises caulking. The panel of claim 1 wherein the sealing cap comprises a liquid seal, the liquid seal covalently bonded to one or both of the insulative core and the first cementitious layer. The panel of claim 1 wherein the sealing cap comprises a fiberglass cap. The panel of any one of claims 1 to 12 further comprising: a second cementitious layer covering the second face of the insulative core; and a second interface between the second cementitious layer and the insulative core; wherein the sealing cap at least partially seals the second interface. The panel of any one of claims 1 to 12 further comprising: a second cementitious layer covering the second face of the insulative core; a second interface between the second cementitious layer and the insulative core; and a second sealing cap, the second sealing cap at least partially sealing the second interface. The panel of any one of claims 1 to 14 wherein the sealing cap extends along at least three edge surfaces of the panel. The panel according to any one of claims 1 to 15 further comprising: an opening for receiving at least one of a window and a door; and an opening sealing cap, the opening sealing cap extending longitudinally along at least a portion of one edge surface which defines the opening, the opening sealing cap sealing the edge surface. The panel according to claim 16 wherein the opening sealing cap extends longitudinally along all of the edge surfaces which define the opening. The panel according to any one of claims 1 to 17 wherein the sealing cap substantially prevents moisture from penetrating into the panel. The panel according to any one of claims 1 to 18 wherein the sealing cap substantially prevents one or more pests from penetrating into the panel. A method for fabricating a prefabricated panel, the method comprising applying a sealing cap at least partially along at least one edge surface of the panel, the sealing cap sealing at least one interface formed between an insulative core of the panel and a cementitious layer which covers a surface of the insulative core. The method of claim 20 wherein the sealing cap is wrapped along the insulative

17 core prior to casting the cementitious layer. Apparatus having any new and inventive feature, combination of features, or subcombination of features as described herein. Methods having any new and inventive steps, acts, combination of steps and/or acts or sub-combination of steps and/or acts as described herein.

18

Description:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SEALING A PREFABRICATED PANEL

Cross-Reference to Related Applications

[0001] This application claims priority from US Application No. 63/065366 filed 13 August 2020 and entitled SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SEALING A PREFABRICATED PANEL which is hereby incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. For purposes of the United States of America, this application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119 of US application No. 63/065366 filed 13 August 2020 and entitled SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SEALING A PREFABRICATED PANEL.

Field

[0002] This invention relates to building panels and in particular cementitious prefabricated building panels such as Concrete Structural Insulated Panels. Example embodiments provide systems and methods for achieving desired performance characteristics.

Background

[0003] Constructing a building is typically an extensive project involving significant amounts of time and/or resources (labour, energy, materials, etc.). Moreover, the carbon footprint of a building built using existing systems and methods can be large.

[0004] Reducing the amount of time and/or resources required to construct a building can be desirable. Reducing the carbon footprint of a building can also be desirable. With more environmentally stringent building codes being passed regularly, reducing the amount of resources used to construct a building and the carbon footprint of the building is increasingly becoming a requirement to be in compliance with new building codes.

[0005] One way the amount of time and/or resources required can be reduced is by constructing the building using prefabricated panels. Existing prefabricated panels however are heavy, cannot provide the required performance characteristics, etc. Additionally, existing prefabricated panels may be difficult to maneuver into place and to couple together.

[0006] There remains a need for practical and cost effective ways to construct prefabricated building panels using systems and methods that improve on existing technologies.

Summary

[0007] This invention has a number of aspects. These include, without limitation:

• prefabricated panels comprising a sealing cap for achieving desired performance characteristics of a prefabricated panel;

• methods for constructing a prefabricated panel.

[0008] Further aspects and example embodiments are illustrated in the accompanying drawings and/or described in the following description.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0009] The accompanying drawings illustrate non-limiting example embodiments of the invention.

[0010] Figure 1 is a schematic cutaway perspective view of a prefabricated panel according to an example embodiment of the invention.

[0011] Figure 2 is a partial cross-sectional view of a prefabricated panel according to an example embodiment of the invention.

[0012] Figure 3A is a partial cross-sectional view of a prefabricated panel according to an example embodiment of the invention.

[0013] Figure 3B is a partial cross-sectional view of a prefabricated panel according to an example embodiment of the invention.

[0014] Figure 4 is a partial cross-sectional view of a prefabricated panel according to an example embodiment of the invention.

[0015] Figure 5 is a block diagram illustrating a method according to an example embodiment of the invention.

Detailed Description

[0016] Throughout the following description, specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the invention. However, the invention may be practiced without these particulars. In other instances, well known elements have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the invention. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative, rather than a restrictive sense.

[0017] One aspect of the invention provides a prefabricated building panel. The prefabricated building panel comprises an insulative core. The insulative core has opposing faces. In currently preferred embodiments, cementitious material covers at least one of the opposing faces. A sealing cap may seal an interface (or interfaces) formed between the cementitious material and the insulative core. Additionally, or alternatively, the sealing cap may seal edges of the insulative core. The sealing cap may prevent (or reduce the likelihood of) moisture from penetrating into the core of the panel from outside, prevent (or reduce the likelihood of) pests such as insects (e.g. ants, termites, etc.), rodents (e.g. mice, rats, etc.), snakes, etc. from penetrating into the core of the panel and/or the like.

[0018] Figure 1 is a schematic cutaway perspective view of an example panel 10 according to an embodiment of the invention. Panel 10 has opposing faces 10A and 10B. A set of panels 10 may be used to construct a building, to insulate an existing building and/or the like. Preferably, panels 10 are plant finished (e.g. fully manufactured at a factory). Panels 10 may preferably be easily and quickly shipped to a construction site (e.g. on a flatbed truck, within shipping containers, on railway cars, etc.). Panels 10 may, for example, comprise wall panels, roof panels, floor panels, foundation panels, etc. Once panels 10 arrive at the construction site they may be easily and quickly assembled together.

[0019] Panel 10 comprises an insulative core 12. Insulative core 12 provides thermal insulation for panel 10. Insulative core 12 may also at least partially structurally support panel 10. Insulative core 12 may also at least partially dampen sound transmission through panel 10. Insulative core 12 preferably comprises a single piece of insulation. However, this is not necessary in all cases. In some embodiments insulative core 12 is made of two or more pieces of insulation.

[0020] Cementitious layers 13 and 14 cover surfaces of insulative core 12 of example panel 10. Cementitious layer 13 corresponds to face 10A of panel 10. Cementitious layer 14 corresponds to face 10B of panel 10. Cementitious layers 13 and 14 are coupled to insulative core 12. In some embodiments cementitious layers 13 and 14 are wet-bonded to the surfaces of insulative core 12 (e.g. the cementitious layers “self-adhere” to the faces of insulative core 12). The “wet-bonding” may provide an adhesive chemical bond directly between two surfaces that are to be coupled together (e.g. a face of the insulative core and a cementitious layer).

[0021] Optionally, panel 10 may comprise one or more structural elements 15. The one or more structural elements 15 may be configured to increase structural strength of panel 10. For example, the one or more structural elements 15 may comprise (non-limiting):

• a steel frame (e.g. a hollow structural section (“HSS”) frame, one or more I- beams, etc.);

• a cementitious frame (e.g. a frame comprising at least one cementitious material);

• a reinforced cementitious frame (e.g. a cementitious frame comprising reinforcing members such as re-bar, wire mesh, etc.);

• etc.

[0022] In some embodiments structural elements 15 extend around an entire periphery of panel 10. In some embodiments structural elements 15 extend only partially around a periphery of panel 10. For example, structural elements 15 may extend at least partially along one, two or three edges of panel 10. In some embodiments structural elements 15 comprise at least one cementitious material that is identical to a cementitious material of one or both of cementitious layers 13 and 14.

[0023] An interface 16, such as an interface 16A or 16B, may be formed between surfaces of a cementitious layer and insulative core 12 where the cementitious layer meets insulative core 12. Example panel 10 shown in Figure 1 comprises two cementitious layers (e.g. cementitious layers 13 and 14). Interfaces 16A and 16B (collectively interfaces 16) may be formed between cementitious layers 13 and 14 and insulative core 12 respectively. Interface 16A may be formed between cementitious layer 13 and insulative core 12 (e.g. where cementitious layer 13 meets insulative core 12). Interface 16B may be formed between cementitious layer 14 and insulative core 12 (e.g. where cementitious layer 14 meets insulative core 12).

[0024] A sealing cap 17 extends longitudinally along one or more edge surfaces of panel 10. Sealing cap 17 may seal one or more interfaces 16 of panel 10. By sealing the one or more interfaces 16 of panel 10, sealing cap 17 may advantageously provide a barrier preventing (or reducing the likelihood of) moisture entering panel 10 via the one or more interfaces 16. Additionally, or alternatively, sealing cap 17 may direct moisture away from the one or more interfaces. Additionally, or alternatively, sealing cap 17 may prevent (or reduce the likelihood of) pests penetrating into insulative core 12 or other components of panel 10.

[0025] In some cases sealing cap 17 may prevent (or reduce the likelihood) of edges of panel 10 being damaged. For example, if panel 10 is to be used as a floor panel, edges of such panel 10 may be surrounded or covered by sealing cap 17. This may advantageously prevent (or reduce the likelihood of) the edges of panel 10 being damaged with, for example, chips, dents, etc.

[0026] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 provides an aesthetic feature. For example, covering edges of a panel with sealing cap 17 may give the panel a clean look that is visually pleasing.

[0027] Example panel 10 shown in Figure 1 comprises a sealing cap 17 extending along three surface edges of panel 10 (e.g. the top and two side edge surfaces of, for example, a vertical wall panel). However, sealing cap 17 may extend along any number of edge surfaces of a panel 10. What edge surfaces sealing cap 17 extends along may depend on an intended use of a panel 10. For example, sealing cap 17 may extend along all edge surfaces of a panel 10 intended to be used as a floor panel, a roof panel, etc. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 extends along edge surfaces which may be part of a vertical moisture flow path (e.g. paths along which moisture may flow from top to bottom).

[0028] Sealing cap 17 may be directly coupled to insulative core 12 and cementitious layers 13, 14.

[0029] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 is covalently bonded to insulative core 12 and/or one or both of cementitious layers 13, 14. Sealing cap 17 may, for example, be applied to one or more edge surfaces of panel 10 in liquid form (e.g. using a roller, a spray system, etc.). In such cases sealing cap 17 may be referred to as a “liquid seal”. The liquid seal may, for example, comprise a two-part liquid applied membrane, a singlepart liquid applied membrane and/or the like.

[0030] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 comprises a waterproof membrane that may be adhered to the edges of panel 10. In some embodiments the membrane is breathable. The membrane may, for example, comprise an adhesive (e.g. on one side of the membrane), may be bonded to panel 10 using a bonding agent and/or the like. In currently preferred embodiments the membrane cannot be penetrated by pests as described elsewhere herein. In some embodiments the membrane has a thickness less than 5mm. In some embodiments the membrane has a thickness less than 3mm.

[0031] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 comprises a fiberglass cap. The fiberglass cap may be fabricated to mirror corresponding edge surfaces of panel 10. The fiberglass cap may advantageously increase structural strength of the panel.

[0032] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 comprises building wrap, a “Peel and Stick” membrane, stucco, stucco with embedded reinforcing members (such as mesh), etc.

[0033] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 comprises reinforcing members. For example, sealing cap 17 may comprise a reinforcing mesh or fibers embedded within sealing cap 17 (e.g. embedded within the liquid seal, embedded within the membrane, etc.).

[0034] Sealing cap 17 may extend laterally on either side of an interface 16. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 extends laterally at least 0.25 inches from an interface 16 on either side of the interface. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 extends laterally at least 0.5 inches from an interface 16 on either side of the interface. Sealing cap 17 may laterally extend on each side of an interface by the same or a different amount.

[0035] Sealing cap 17 is typically low-profile. “Low-profile” means that sealing cap 17 minimally affects the dimensions of panel 10. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 has a thickness of at most 1/16 th of an inch. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 has a thickness of at most 1/8 th of an inch. [0036] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 conforms to a shape (or shapes) of the edge (or edges) of panel 10 which will be covered by sealing cap 17.

[0037] Sealing cap 17 is preferably made of a material having a low thermal conductivity. The low thermal conductivity may reduce the likelihood of sealing cap 17 creating a thermal bridge.

[0038] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 is flush with faces 10A and 10B of panel 10 (e.g. sealing cap 17 extends along an entire width of an edge).

[0039] Portions of sealing cap 17 which seal the same edge of panel 10 may be the same or different. For example, the portions of sealing cap 17 which seal the same edge may all comprise uniform dimensions and/or properties (e.g. material composition, performance characteristics, etc.). In some embodiments different portions of sealing cap 17 which seal the same edge may comprise non-uniform dimensions and/or properties (e.g. material composition, performance characteristics, etc.).

[0040] Portions of sealing cap 17 which seal different edges of panel 10 may have the same or different dimensions. Additionally, or alternatively, portions of sealing cap 17 which seal different edges of panel 10 may have the same or different properties (e.g. material composition, performance characteristics, etc.).

[0041] Figure 2 is a partial cross-sectional view of an example panel 10 which does not comprise a structural element 15. As shown in Figure 2, sealing cap 17 may extend laterally along an edge surface of panel 10 from cementitious layer 13 to cementitious layer 14. However this is not necessary. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 extends laterally only partially along one or more surface edges of panel 10. Additionally, or alternatively, it is not necessary that insulative core 12 and cementitious layers 13 and/or 14 are flush.

[0042] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 wraps over faces of insulative core 12 (see e.g. Figures 3A and 3B). This may reduce complexity of manufacturing such panel 10 (e.g. sealing cap 17 may be wrapped around insulative core 12 prior to one or more cementitious layers being formed). In such embodiments a first surface of sealing cap 17 may be bonded to insulative core 12 and a second opposing surface of sealing cap 17 may be bonded to the cementitious layer (e.g. cementitious layer 13, 14). A sealant 18 may seal one or more interfaces formed between sealing cap 17 and the cementitious layers (see e.g. Figure 3B).

[0043] Sealant 18 may, for example, comprise a caulking and/or the like. Sealant 18 may provide a further barrier preventing (or reducing the likelihood of) moisture, pests, etc. from penetrating into panel 10 via an interface formed at the point where sealing cap 17 meets surfaces of the cementitious layers (e.g. cementitious layers 13 and 14). Different interfaces formed between sealing cap 17 and cementitious layers may be covered by the same sealant 18 or with different sealants 18.

[0044] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 wraps over faces of insulative core 12 by at least 0.5 inches. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 wraps over faces of insulative core 12 between 0.25 inches and 2 inches.

[0045] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 comprises a plurality of sealing caps. For example, as shown in Figure 4, sealing cap 17 may comprise a sealing cap 17A sealing interface 16A and a sealing cap 17B sealing interface 16B. Sealing caps 17A and 17B may be the same or different. Sealing caps 17A and 17B may be like any sealing cap described elsewhere herein.

[0046] In some embodiments the outer surface of sealing cap 17 is smooth. In some embodiments the outer surface of sealing cap 17 is coarse. A coarse outer surface may assist with coupling, adhering, bonding, etc. another panel or components of a panel to sealing cap 17.

[0047] Insulative core 12 and cementitious layers 13, 14 may have different thermal expansion properties. In currently preferred embodiments sealing cap 17 is flexible enough to adapt to the different rates of thermal expansion of panel 10 while maintaining its barrier(s) (e.g. moisture barrier, pest barrier, etc.).

[0048] Various forces may be exerted on panel 10 and sealing cap 17. In currently preferred embodiments sealing cap 17 is durable enough to withstand any forces exerted on sealing cap 17. For example, sealing cap 17 is preferably durable enough to withstand forces exerted on sealing cap 17 during construction of panel 10, transport of panel 10, assembly of a building using panel 10, wind forces on an assembled panel 10, seismic forces, etc. [0049] In some embodiments an interface 16 comprises a recess between insulative core 12 and a cementitious layer (e.g. cementitious layer 13, 14 described elsewhere herein). Optionally, sealing cap 17 may partially extend into the recess. This may strengthen the coupling of sealing cap 17 to insulative core 12 and the cementitious layer. Additionally, or alternatively, this may increase the strength and/or durability of sealing cap 17. Additionally, or alternatively, this may increase the reliability of the barrier provided by sealing cap 17. Additionally or alternatively, this may increase the strength of the barrier provided by sealing cap 17.

[0050] In some embodiments panel 10 comprises an opening for receiving a window, door, etc. In such embodiments a sealing cap as described elsewhere herein may extend longitudinally along one or more edge surfaces of panel 10 which define the opening. Preferably, such sealing cap extends along all of the edge surfaces which define the opening.

[0051] Panel 10 may comprise at least one connector. The connector may facilitate coupling of the panel to a building, coupling of the panel to other panels, maneuvering of the panel during construction (e.g. provides an attachment point for a hoist, etc.), etc. Additionally, or alternatively, panel 10 may comprise one or more structural elements (e.g. structural elements 15) as described elsewhere herein. Sealing cap 17 may, for example (non-limiting):

• seal an interface formed between the connector and/or structural frame and other components of panel 10;

• seal interfaces 16 prior to installation of the connector and/or structural frame;

• at least partially waterproof the at least one connector;

• at least partially waterproof structural elements 15;

• at least partially waterproof connections of building members such as, a chimney, a vent, a hose bib, an electrical plug, a lighting fixture, etc.;

• etc.

[0052] In some embodiments the connector comprises at least one aperture for receiving a connecting element (i.e. an element used to couple the connector to another component of the structure under construction). In some embodiments the connector comprises a cavity through which the connecting element may be accessed (e.g. to couple a nut to the end of the connecting element). In some embodiments the connector is a hollow steel element (e.g. a hollow rectangular steel section). In some embodiments the connector is like the connector(s) described in US Patent Application No. 63/003,401 filed 1 April 2020 and entitled SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR COUPLING PREFABRICATED PANELS TOGETHER, which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.

[0053] In some embodiments panel 10 comprises utility and/or service lines running through panel 10 such as electrical lines, plumbing, HVAC ducting, gas lines, central vacuum lines, etc. The utility and/or service lines may be interconnected between panels and thereby may extend beyond a sealing cap 17 of a panel 10. In some embodiments sealing cap 17 seals an interface formed between the utility and/or services lines and insulative core 12 and/or cementitious layers 13, 14.

[0054] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 comprises one or more apertures through which the utility and/or service lines may extend through. A seal provided between two adjacent panels once the panels are coupled together may provide a sufficient barrier such that moisture, pests, etc. cannot enter a panel 10 through any such apertures in sealing cap 17.

[0055] Insulative core 12 may be made of rigid foam insulation. In some embodiments insulative core 12 is made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), polyisocyanurate (polyiso), extruded polystyrene (XPS) and/or the like. In some embodiments insulative core 12 is made of mineral fiber rigid insulation. In some embodiments insulative core 12 is at least 3 inches thick. In some embodiments insulative core 12 is between 3 and 24 inches thick.

[0056] Insulative core 12 typically has an insulative R-value of about R4 per inch. In some embodiments insulative core 12 has an insulative R-value of at least R12. In some embodiments insulative core 12 has an insulative R-value of at least R96. In some embodiments insulative core 12 has an insulative R-value between R12 and R96.

[0057] Cementitious layers 13 and 14 may be made of the same or different cementitious materials. In some embodiments at least one cementitious material has a density in the range of 5 to 35 MPA. In some embodiments at least one cementitious material has a density in the range of 35 to 90 MPA. In some embodiments at least one cementitious material has a density in the range of 90 to 200 MPA.

[0058] Although panel 10 has been shown as comprising two cementitious layers (e.g. cementitious layers 13 and 14) sealing cap 17 may be applied to other panels. The other panels may not necessarily comprise two cementitious layers. The other panels may comprise at least one interface (e.g. an interface 16 described elsewhere herein) between a cementitious layer made of a cementitious material and an insulative core (e.g. panels having a single cementitious layer, panels having at least one cementitious layer which partially extends over an edge surface of panel 10, etc.).

[0059] Another aspect of the invention provides a method for making a prefabricated panel as described herein.

[0060] Figure 5 is a block diagram showing an example method 30 for making a panel 10.

[0061] In block 31 a form for casting a panel is prepared. The form may comprise one or more features to assist with extraction of a completed panel. Such features may include rounded interior corners, formwork that may be quickly uncoupled, etc.

[0062] In block 32 a panel is cast using the prepared form. Upon the panel at least partially being cured, the cast panel may then be extracted from the form.

[0063] In block 33 a sealing cap (e.g. sealing cap 17 described elsewhere herein) is coupled to the extracted panel. As described elsewhere herein, sealing cap 17 may be applied to edge surfaces of the panel in liquid form using a roller, a spray system or the like. As another example sealing cap 17 may be bonded or adhered to edge surfaces of the panel (e.g. when sealing cap 17 comprises a membrane, fiberglass cap, etc. as described elsewhere herein).

[0064] In some embodiments sealing cap 17 is coupled to insulative core 12 prior to the one or more cementitious layers of panel 10 being fabricated. For example, as described elsewhere herein a membrane may be adhered to one or more edges of insulative core 12 prior to fabricating the cementitious layers. As another example, a fiberglass cap may be coupled to one or more edges of insulative core 12 prior to fabricating the cementitious layers.

[0065] In optional block 34, optional sealant (e.g. sealant 18 described elsewhere herein) may be applied to interfaces formed between sealing cap 17 and other components of panel 10.

[0066] In some embodiments the sealing cap is coupled to edge surfaces of panel 10 using a “bottom-up” approach. In such embodiments the sealing cap may first be coupled to the lower most edge surfaces of the panel along which the sealing cap is to extend. In such embodiments the upper most edge surfaces of the panel along which the sealing cap is to extend may be coupled last. Portions of the sealing cap which extend along vertical (or generally vertical) edge surfaces of the panel may be coupled from bottom to top. Upper sections of the sealing cap may overlap lower sections of the sealing cap.

Interpretation of Terms

[0067] Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims:

• “comprise”, “comprising”, and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense, as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense; that is to say, in the sense of “including, but not limited to”;

• “connected”, “coupled”, or any variant thereof, means any connection or coupling, either direct or indirect, between two or more elements; the coupling or connection between the elements can be physical, logical, or a combination thereof;

• “herein”, “above”, “below”, and words of similar import, when used to describe this specification, shall refer to this specification as a whole, and not to any particular portions of this specification;

• “or”, in reference to a list of two or more items, covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list, and any combination of the items in the list;

• the singular forms “a”, “an”, and “the” also include the meaning of any appropriate plural forms. [0068] Words that indicate directions such as “vertical”, “transverse”, “horizontal”, “upward”, “downward”, “forward”, “backward”, “inward”, “outward”, “left”, “right”, “front”, “back”, “top”, “bottom”, “below”, “above”, “under”, and the like, used in this description and any accompanying claims (where present), depend on the specific orientation of the apparatus described and illustrated. The subject matter described herein may assume various alternative orientations. Accordingly, these directional terms are not strictly defined and should not be interpreted narrowly.

[0069] For example, while processes or blocks are presented in a given order, alternative examples may perform routines having steps, or employ systems having blocks, in a different order, and some processes or blocks may be deleted, moved, added, subdivided, combined, and/or modified to provide alternative or subcombinations. Each of these processes or blocks may be implemented in a variety of different ways. Also, while processes or blocks are at times shown as being performed in series, these processes or blocks may instead be performed in parallel, or may be performed at different times.

[0070] In addition, while elements are at times shown as being performed sequentially, they may instead be performed simultaneously or in different sequences. It is therefore intended that the following claims are interpreted to include all such variations as are within their intended scope.

[0071] Specific examples of systems, methods and apparatus have been described herein for purposes of illustration. These are only examples. The technology provided herein can be applied to systems other than the example systems described above. Many alterations, modifications, additions, omissions, and permutations are possible within the practice of this invention. This invention includes variations on described embodiments that would be apparent to the skilled addressee, including variations obtained by: replacing features, elements and/or acts with equivalent features, elements and/or acts; mixing and matching of features, elements and/or acts from different embodiments; combining features, elements and/or acts from embodiments as described herein with features, elements and/or acts of other technology; and/or omitting combining features, elements and/or acts from described embodiments. [0072] Various features are described herein as being present in “some embodiments”. Such features are not mandatory and may not be present in all embodiments. Embodiments of the invention may include zero, any one or any combination of two or more of such features. This is limited only to the extent that certain ones of such features are incompatible with other ones of such features in the sense that it would be impossible for a person of ordinary skill in the art to construct a practical embodiment that combines such incompatible features. Consequently, the description that “some embodiments” possess feature A and “some embodiments” possess feature B should be interpreted as an express indication that the inventors also contemplate embodiments which combine features A and B (unless the description states otherwise or features A and B are fundamentally incompatible).

[0073] It is therefore intended that the following appended claims and claims hereafter introduced are interpreted to include all such modifications, permutations, additions, omissions, and sub-combinations as may reasonably be inferred. The scope of the claims should not be limited by the preferred embodiments set forth in the examples, but should be given the broadest interpretation consistent with the description as a whole.