Moisture and Vapor IntrusionAssociation of Construction and Development
January 18, 2013 — 1,461 views
Moisture and vapor intrusion are serious threats to the structural integrity of any structure, as well as potent health hazards for the occupants. Vapor or moisture intrusion weakens the building structure, making it potentially hazardous for its occupants. A weakened structure may collapse, damaging the building and resulting in re-building expenses and lawsuits against the building contractor. In addition, moisture intrusion makes the structure ideal for the growth of mold and bacteria, which could easily cause health problems for the occupants. Therefore, it is crucial to adopt preventive measures when building any structure to avoid moisture and vapor intrusion.
5 ways to Avoid Moisture and Vapor Intrusion
From using protective house wrap to special fittings that don’t absorb moisture, there are several methods a contractor can use to make a structure moisture-and-vapor-proof. Given below are 5 protective measures to avoid moisture and vapor intrusion when building a structure.
- Double-check your specs: One of the biggest reasons for moisture intrusion is a faulty design. In the midst of endless construction constraints, it can be easy to overlook whether the design of the building provides protection from moisture intrusion. But it is crucial that the design is approved only after ensuring the usage of moisture-proof materials. You can consider consulting a moisture control expert for advice on which materials to choose and how to proceed with the construction. Double-checking all aspects of the construction before the work begins is the best way to ensure a moisture-proof structure and save potential expenses on rebuilding and moisture-proofing in the future.
- Choose the right materials: Discuss the choice of materials with the property owner before construction begins to avoid using materials that are not suited to a moist environment. For instance, exhaust systems connected to kitchens, bathrooms, cellars and/or basements should be lined only with mold-resistant materials. Choose fittings made from materials certified as mold-resistant as per the ASTM 6329 standard test.
- Choose a good HVAC system: Every building should be fitted with an HVAC system that suits the size and use of the property. Both oversized and undersized HVAC systems create a high level of humidity indoors, which enables mold and bacteria growth in the structure. So, choose the size and capacity of the HVAC system keeping the size and the type of the building (commercial/private) in mind.
- Insulate all HVAC pipes: Condensation can occur on water pipes and supply lines. This is an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and mold. To avoid condensation, always insulate all HVAC pipes with properly fitted insulation materials. In addition, ensure that the insulation is done by a skilled handyman, as leaving out any portion of the pipes exposed (without insulation) can cause condensation and lead to moisture intrusion.
- Check the exhaust systems: Install a proper exhaust system to maintain a balance between the outflow and inflow of air in the building. Ensure that all exhaust chases are of the appropriate size and insulated with mold-resistant materials in order to prevent moisture or vapor intrusion and the growth of mold.