Case Histories of Moisture Monitoring in Residential Walls

    Published: Jan 1987

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    There is an unjustified concern within the building industry that the use of an exterior low water vapor permeance foam sheathing design allows an accumulation of moisture between the vapor barrier and the exterior sheathing.

    In this study the authors measured the moisture content in the wood studs of seven occupied homes, in four Canadian cities, with a low water vapor permeance sheathing (extruded polystyrene), with or without a noninsulating sheathing, such as plywood, fiberboard, or chipboard, used on the exterior of the house. The degree days ranged from 4068 to 5920°C, and the relative humidity ranged from 71 to 83.5%. In all cases the actual moisture content of the studs was measured with Delmhorst moisture elements and then read with Delmhorst moisture meters. The results show a similarity in moisture concentration patterns regardless of the exterior sheathing installed. The effects of construction practices and local relative humidities are discussed.

    The practical usefulness of actual moisture studies of real homes, done in a variety of climates, will be most interesting to today's architects and builders.


    double vapor barriers, field studies, low permeance sheathings, moisture content, moisture research, thermal insulation

    Author Information:

    Kane, R
    Senior research engineer and group leader, Dow Chemical Canada Inc., Sarnia, Ontario

    Titley, G
    Senior research engineer and group leader, Dow Chemical Canada Inc., Sarnia, Ontario

    Committee/Subcommittee: C16.30

    DOI: 10.1520/STP18507S

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