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Building enclosures are subjected to a random climatic loading on the exterior surface and a relatively stable indoor condition on the interior. These loadings result in a transport of heat, air, and moisture across the building enclosure. In this paper, the drying and wetting of sheathing board in two exterior walls, more specifically 2×6 in.2 wood-frame conventional (no strapping between sheathing membrane and cladding) and a rain-screen wall system (with vertical strapping), are investigated through an experimental field study. The experiment is carried out at British Columbia Institute of Technology field exposure test facility, where the test walls are exposed to the coastal climate (Vancouver weather) on the exterior and controlled indoor temperature and relative humidity conditions in the interior. The field experimental results indicate significant moisture accumulation on the exterior sheathing boards (plywood) during the Winter period. During the 9-month monitoring period from March 13 to Dec. 6, 2009, the plywood underwent a process of drying and wetting. In both the conventional and rain-screen wall systems, the plywood dried to a comparable moisture level during the Summer before the wetting process started. For the wall systems considered in this study, the plywood in the rain-screen wall has a tendency of faster drying and wetting in the Spring and Fall seasons, respectively, in comparison to the plywood in the conventional wall, which is attributed to the presence of an air gap in the rain-screen wall between the sheathing membrane and the cladding. A similar trend is observed during the monitoring period from December 7 to June 15, 2010.
rain-screen wall, cavity ventilation, field-experiment, hygrothermal performance, wetting and drying potentials
British Columbia Institute of Technology, Burnaby, BC
Architecture and Science, Ryerson Univ., ON