Buildings and structures have many foes, and one of them is moisture. Contractors, engineers, and architects are well-aware of the dangers of excessive moisture in a building. This is why builders install different features, like thermal insulation systems, aluminum facade cladding, and vapor retarders.
Awareness is the first step in ensuring the safety of your building and its occupants. Here’s everything you need to know about moisture and how it can compromise your building’s safety.
How does moisture accumulate inside a building?
Generally, moisture problems occur due to design errors, construction mistakes, and improper maintenance. When moisture accumulates in an area of the building that needs to be dry, it affects the various functions in the structure. Some of the common oversights that cause moisture are:
- Choosing a construction site that doesn’t allow proper drainage
- Poor design of drainage systems and building enclosures
- Choosing brittle and moisture-sensitive materials
- Improper installation of construction features and equipment
- Using wet materials
- Inadequate maintenance of the building
Mold Growth and Pest Infestation
The combination of wet materials, like wood, paper, and drywall, with the presence of humid air, is a magnet for mold. Mold requires four elements for it to grow: organic materials, mold spores, moisture, and warmth. Air currents carry mold spores to different parts of the building, which can fester on different surfaces. Warm surfaces containing the necessary nutrients mixed with the sufficient level of air moisture make up the perfect environment for mold to thrive.
When mold develops on walls, floors, and other surfaces, it can destroy the quality of the material. It can also corrode electrical wirings, metal roofing, conditioning coils, and other metal building materials. Mold growth is the cause of many other building problems, like poor air quality and defective thermal insulation.
Mold also has potential health implications for the occupants of the building. People who have asthma or allergies may be sensitive to the fungus. They may experience skin rashes, nasal congestion, eye irritation, runny nose, or difficulty in breathing. Mold can also cause sudden asthma or allergy attacks.
Lastly, moist conditions can also attract bacteria and pests, such as termites, carpenter ants, and cockroaches.
Excessive moisture content in the air can cost the structural integrity of your building, and reduce its aesthetic appeal as well. Some telltale signs of moisture damage are:
- Corroding paints and varnishes
- Ineffective thermal insulation
- Rotting, swelling, and warping of wood building materials
- Damage to concrete and bricks during freeze-thaw cycles
- Deterioration of roofing and flooring adhesives
Managing Moisture in Your Building
Protection from moisture starts from the construction process of the building. The building materials should be dry when installed. Concrete and drywall need sufficient time to dry before getting covered or painted. There should also be proper drainage systems in the lavatories and in the roofs. Water needs to have a clear exit path. Otherwise, it will pool in the cavities of the building and increase the air’s moisture content.
A lot of construction innovations are designed to keep moisture out of your building. Look into these options, and consult with an expert to know how to effectively and efficiently keep your building moisture-free.