Moisture Issues: New Research from Reward Wall Systems
Nine new research reports examining moisture issues in ICF construction are now available from Reward Wall Systems. Based on research performed by Construction Technology Laboratories, Inc. (CTL), and written by the firm’s principal engineer and group manager, Martha G. VanGeem, P.E., LEED-AP, the reports provide background performance information on moisture issues in every stage of construction.
“For years, contractors have traded anecdotal information about moisture issues affecting ICF construction, but we have had no solid basis for understanding the complexities each builder faces,” according to Reward president Ed Storm. “These comprehensive reports, founded on research performed by one of the most reliable laboratories in the country, are invaluable tools for the entire industry.” All nine reports are now available for free online at (www.rewardwalls.com).
Reward iForm Wall as an Air Barrier System This report focuses on the ICF wall’s function as an air barrier, reducing the potential for problems resulting from moist air infiltration, particularly in warm, humid environments. Air barriers also increase energy efficiency, especially in winter climates.
Reward iForm Wall as a Vapor Retarder Vapor retarders help to reduce or prevent water vapor from moving through building materials and condensing on cold surfaces within the wall. This report examines the role of an ICF wall in vapor retardation and provides some installation recommendations.
Condensation This report looks at the damaging effects of condensation and discusses approaches to help minimize or eliminate condensation problems. Reward iForms reduce the potential for condensation by providing a uniform insulation layer, low air infiltration, high thermal mass, and cavity-free walls.
How Moisture Affects EPS Insulation Expanded polystyrene insulation (EPS) provides the majority of the R-value of Reward ICFs, and provides a weather-resistant barrier with very low long-term absorption. This report offers solid background on moisture and EPS.
Moisture in Concrete Concrete contributes moisture during construction, and this report examines its effects and provides suggestions for construction. Moisture in concrete generally will not cause deterioration of a finished Reward iForm if interior and exterior finishes are vented or are vapor-permeable.
Effects of Rain and Snow on Reward iForm During Construction This report examines the ramifications of exposing building materials to moisture. While Reward iForms shed most moisture from exposure to rain or melting snow, dehumidification and ventilation are recommended for best long-term results.
Avoiding Moisture Problems at Penetrations, Windows, and Doors Primary and secondary means of protection against moisture entry should be provided at penetrations, windows and doors, according to this report, which includes illustrated construction recommendations.
Infiltration of Moist Air While cavities in typical wood frame and concrete masonry walls can trap moisture that infiltrates a structure, ICFs provide a continuous layer of concrete that acts as an air barrier. This report examines the issue of air infiltration and shows why ICF walls offer greater protection than other construction methods.
Preventing Moisture Problems in Below Grade Walls This report supplies guidelines to prevent water from penetrating basements and foundations. Recommendations cover soil and backfill, the gap between exterior finish and soil, landscaping, gutters and downspouts, waterproofing membranes and sealants, water vapor retarders, and foundation drains.
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