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CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET

METALBUILDINGMANUFACTURERSASSOCIATION
1300SumnerAve.,Cleveland,Ohio441152851(216)2417333Fax(216)2410105 Email:mbma@mbma.comhttp://www.mbma.com

11/09

CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET
TheCondensationProcess Condensationoccurswhenwarmermoist aircomesincontactwithcoldsurfacessuch asframingmembers,windowsandother accessories,orthecolderregionwithinthe insulationenvelope(ifmoisturehas penetratedthevaporretarder).Warmair, havingtheabilitytocontainmoremoisture thancoldair,losesthatabilitywhenit comesincontactwithcoolorcoldsurfaces orregions.Whenthathappens,excessive moistureintheairisreleasedintheformof condensation.Inmetalbuildings,thereare twopossibleconsequencesoftrapped moistureinwallandroofsystems:(1) corrosionofmetalcomponentsand(2) degradationofthethermalperformanceof insulation. DewPointandRelativeHumidity Dewpointisthetemperatureatwhich watervaporinanystaticormovingair columnwillcondenseintowater.Inother words,theairissaturatedandcanno longerholdthemoistureatthis temperature.Whentheairtemperature dropsbelowitsdewpoint,excessmoisture willbereleasedintheformof condensation.Condensationproblemsare mostlikelytooccurinclimateswhere temperaturesfrequentlydipto35For colderoveranextendedperiodoftime. Relativehumidityisapercentage measurementoftheamountofwatervapor presentintheairinrelationtotheamount itiscapableofholdingatthattemperature. Forexample,50%relativehumidity indicatestheairiscarryingonehalfofthe maximumamountofmoisturethatitis capableofcontainingatthegiven temperature.Thereisarelationship betweenthedewpointandrelative humidity.Ahighrelativehumiditymeans thatthedewpointisnearthecurrentair temperature.Therefore,arelative humidityof100%indicatesthatthedew pointisequaltothecurrenttemperature. Thisrelationshipbetweendewpointand relativehumidityisgiveninTableC1. VisibleandConcealedCondensation Twothingsmustbepresentfor condensationtooccur:warmmoistair,and coolsurfacetemperaturesbelowthedew point.Thepropercontrolofthesetwo factorscanminimizecondensation. Inmetalbuildingsystems,weare concernedwithtwodifferentareasor locations:visiblecondensationwhich occursonsurfacesbelowdewpoint temperatures;andconcealedcondensation whichoccurswhenmoisturehaspassed intointeriorregionsandthencondenseson asurfacethatisbelowthedewpoint temperature. Signsofvisiblesurfacecondensationare water,frostoriceonwindows,doors, frames,ceilings,walls,floor,insulation vaporretarders,skylights,coldwaterpipes and/orcoolingducts.Toeffectivelycontrol visiblecondensation,itisnecessaryto reducethecoldsurfaceareaswhere condensationmayoccur.Itisalso importanttominimizetheairmoisture contentwithinabuildingbytheuseof properlydesignedventilatingsystems. Signsofconcealedcondensationinclude dampspots,stains,moldand/ormildewon wallsorceilings,delaminationoflaminated surfaces,bubblesorblistersinasphaltic surfaces,peelingpaint,anddamp insulation.Concealedcondensationisthe mostdifficulttodealwithandcanbethe mostdamaging.Thistypeofcondensation maybecontrolledinmetalbuildingsbythe properuseofvaporretardersandby 2

CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET
DewPointTemperature(F)1 Relative Humidity
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10%
1

32 F
32 30 27 24 20 16 12 8 6 4

35 F
35 33 30 27 24 20 15 10 7 4

40 F
40 37 34 31 28 24 18 14 8 5
1

45 F
45 42 39 36 32 28 23 16 9 5

Design Dry Bulb (Interior) Temperature 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 F F F F F F F F


50 47 44 40 36 33 27 21 13 6 55 52 49 45 41 36 31 25 16 8 60 57 54 50 46 41 35 29 20 9 65 62 58 55 51 46 40 33 24 10 70 67 64 60 55 50 45 37 28 13 75 72 68 64 60 55 49 42 31 17 80 77 73 69 65 60 53 46 35 20 85 82 78 74 69 64 58 50 40 24

90 F
90 87 83 79 74 69 62 54 43 27

95 F
95 92 88 84 79 73 67 59 48 30

100 F
100 97 93 88 83 78 71 62 52 34

Chart adapted from ASHRAE Psychometric Chart, 2005 ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals.

TableC1:DewPointTemperature(F) versesRelativeHumidity

minimizingmoisturecontentwithinthe buildingbyproperventilation.Additional condensationcontrolcanbeaccomplished byventingthecavitiesofthewallsandroof. VaporRetarders Avaporretarderisusedtoinhibitthe passageofwarmermoistairintotheinner regionsoftherooforwallsystem.The properselectionandinstallationofthe vaporretardercanhelpcontrol condensationproblemsinabuilding.Vapor retardersareratedbytheamountof moisturethatcanpassthroughthem.The lowerthisrating,calledapermrating,the lessvaportransmissionwilloccurandthe

moreeffectivethevaporretarderwillbe. Watervaportransmissionrates(perms)are determinedusingASTME96,Standard TestMethodsforWaterVaporTransmission ofMaterials(ASTM,2005). TypesofVaporRetarders Therearevarioustypesofvaporretarders available,suchas: 1. Structuralmembranes,includingrigid steelsheetsorotherimpermeable materials.Thelistbelowisnot exhaustive,norisitanefforttolimitthe designer,butthesemembranesmay

CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET
includethefollowinginroofand/orwall construction: a. Steelformedpanels,properlysealed onedgesandends. b. Steel,zincalloy,copperoraluminum sheetswithcaulkedandformed standingseamedgesandends. c. Vinylsidingappliedtosuitable structuralsubstrateorsheathing. d. Tiltupconcretepanels,suitably sealedatendandsidelaps,witha paintedexterior. e. Vinyl,metalizedplasticandsimilar overlaysonrigidboardinsulation. f. Foaminsulatedmetalpanels, caulkedandsealedatendsandside laps. g. Bituminoussprayortrowelon coatingonconcreteormasonry. 2. Flexiblemembranes,suchasfoils, coatedpapers,orplasticfilms.Usually, thesemembranesareratedbyperm of1.0orless,perASTME96,Standard TestMethodsforWaterVapor TransmissionofMaterials(ASTM,2005). Themostcommonapplicationsfor metalbuildingsaremembraneretarders laminatedtofiberglassblanket insulation.Plainwhitevinylwithaperm ratingof1.0isnotaneffectivevapor
FacingDescription WhiteVinyl Polypropylenescrimkraft Polypropylenescrimpolyester Foilscrimkraft Vinylreinforcedpolyester
TableC2:WaterVaporTransmissionRates

retarder,especiallyinbuildingswitha highrelativehumidity. 3. Coatingmembranes,whichincludes paints,trowelonbituminouscoatings, epoxyandurethanefoams. Laminatedfacingsforfiberglassbattsserve severalpurposesotherthanappearance. Theypreventtheblanketfromsagging. Theypreventmostwatervaporfrom penetratingthefiberglassbatt.They provideresistancetoimpactandprovide reflectivityandemissivitybenefits.Most facingshavethreeparts: 1. Abasemadeupofnaturalorwhitekraft paperoraluminumfoil. 2. Afiberglassscrimnettingisprovided forreinforcingandsagprevention. 3. Anexteriorfilmmadeupof polypropylene,vinyl,metalized polyester,oraluminumfoilisappliedon top. TableC2listssomeofthemostpopular typesoffacingsandshowstheirwater vaportransmissionrates(permratings). TheNorthAmericanInsulation ManufacturersAssociation(NAIMA) recommendsthatmetalbuildinginsulation befacedwithavaporretarderhavinga permeanceofnotgreaterthan0.10perms. Besidesthemostpopularfacings,the
Details .003vinyl,economical,butnotan effectivevaporretarder Whiteormetalizedpolypropylene,fiber glassreinforcing,1130lbswhitekraft Metalizedpolyester,14lbkraft Aluminumfoil,fiberglassreinforcing,30 lbkraft .003vinyl,metalizedpolyester,strong

Perm 1.01.3 .09.02 .02 .02 .02

CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET
industryprovidesspecialfacingsthathave highimpactresistanceforgymnasiums, facingsforhighUVapplicationsandblack coloredfacingsforstructureswhereceilings arenotused. SealingVaporRetarders Carefulattentionmustbepaidtothe insulationseamsatsideandendlapsto maintaintheintegrityofthevaporretarder. Somecommonmethodsusedtosealthe seamsincluderollingandstaplingtheside laps,peelandsticktabsatsidelaps,and sometimesinsulationtape.Theuseof insulationtapealonetosealtheseamsmay notbeadvisable.Jobsiteconditionssuch ashumidity,dirt,andaccesstothe undersideoftheinsulationcanmakethis difficult.Whereused,tapeshouldbeat leastthesamequalityasthevapor retarder,andthetapeshouldbeapproved bytheinsulationsupplierfortheparticular product.Inthecaseofamembranetype retarder,anypuncturesortearsinthe materialshouldberepairedusingtheself adhesiverepairtapesuppliedwiththe insulation.Moreinformationand downloadableliteraturecanbefoundon theNAIMAwebsitevia http://www.naima.org,orvisitNational InsulationAssociation(NIA)at http://www.insulation.org. Becausethereisagrowingtrendtoadd insulationtoexistingmetalbuildings,a propervaporretarderisofcriticalconcern. Oneofthemostcommonmethodsistoadd anadditionallayerofinsulationtothe bottomflangeofthepurlinsystem.This cancreateanairspacewheremoisture ladenaircanaccumulateiftheintegrityof thenewvaporretarderclosesttothewarm insulatingsurfaceofthebuildinghasnot beenmaintained.Itisimportantthatan intactvaporretarderisnotleftwithinthe insulationmass. Ventilation Allmetalbuildingsrequiresomelevelof ventilation,andmoreoftenthisventilation isbecomingtheresponsibilityofthemetal buildingcontractor.Alackofventilation cancreateanuncomfortableworking conditionthroughelevatedheatlevels, excessivehumidity,andstaleair.Itcanalso contributetocondensationproblems. Ventilationcanbestberepresentedbythe numberoftimesperhourthebuildingairis replacedwithoutsideair.Thisisreferredto asairchangesperhour.Thenumberofair changesrequiredperhourwidelyvariesper application. Thefollowingexampleillustratesa calculationforventilationrequirements: Assumea100feetwidex250feetlongx30 feethighbuildingbeingusedforlight manufacturing,assemblyandstorage. 1. Determinethetotalvolumeofthe building. Volume=100feetwidex250feet longx30feethigh=750,000ft3 2. Next,determinetherequiredair flowincubicfeetperminute(CFM)to provide5airchangesperhour. AirFlow=750,000ft3x5air changes/60minutes=62,500CFM Therefore,62,500cubicfeetperminuteof airmustbemovedthroughthisbuildingto providefiveairchangeseveryhour. Allowancesmustbemadeforaplaceforair toenterthebuildingandforairtoexitthe building,andtheairflowmustbeevenly distributedthroughoutthebuilding.Typical methodsofmovingairincludeexhaustand

CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET
supplyairfans,ridgeventilatorsand louvers. ControllingCondensation TableC3providesguidanceoncontrolling condensationproblemsaslistedinthis section.Notethatalllistedcontrol measuresdonotaddressthepossibilityofa leakdefectthroughtheroofmembrane. Thisisageneralchecklisttocontrol condensationthroughpossibleremedial measures.Itisnotdesignedtoaddress specificdifficultiesinspecificbuildings. 1. AttheSourceLimittheamountof watervaporwithintheheatedinterior. a. Provideawelldrainedbasecourse suchascrushedrockorwashed gravelundergradelevelslabsto preventmoisturefrompermeating intothebuildingthroughtheslab. b. Provideforadequategroundwater drainage. c. Divertrainandmeltwater accumulationsawayfromthe foundation. d. Ventallmechanicalheating apparatuswithhydrogenoxygenby productexhauststotheoutside. e. Reducesupplementalinterior humidification. f. Beawarethatthepouringof concretewithinanewlyerected structurepresentsspecial considerations.Whilethepractice shouldbeheldtoaminimum,an individualprojectassessmentmust bemadetopreventbothvisibleand concealedcondensation. 2. ByInsulatingAproperlydesigned insulationsystemeffectivelyraises surfacetemperatureswithinthe buildingenvelopeabovethedewpoint temperature.Thisisaccomplishedby controllingtheheatlossattheexposed (exterior)sidesofthosesurfaces. However,insulationaddedabovean existingroofshouldbeplacedatthe existingrooflevelandnotagainstthe retrofitroofifpossible.Adequately ventilatedspaceisrequiredbecauseany trappedwarmairmaycondenseatthe coldmetalroof. a. Provideadditionalinsulationin ceilingand/orwallcavitiesor replaceexistingdamporwater soakedinsulatingmaterialwithin thesecavities. b. Installdoubleortripleglazed windowsorinsulatedstormpanels withthermalbreakframes. c. Installinsulateddoors. d. Installinsulationwrap(withexterior vaporretarder)aroundcoldpipes and/orcoldairductwork. e. Insulatefloorslabedgesexposedto exteriortemperatureswitharigid insulationpressuretreatedplywood combination. f. Paintcondensationpronesurfaces withmoistureabsorbingpaints. 3. WithVaporRetardersAvaporretarder isamembraneofpolyethylenefilm, aluminumfoil,paint,asphalticlaminate and/orglazed,asphaltsaturated buildingpaperthatexhibitsa permeanceoflessthanoneperm.All jointsandseamsmustbelapped, sealed,andsecured,inordertoreduce theamountofwatervaporthat combineswiththegivencavityairmass.

CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET
a. Employ(orrepair)avaporretarder atthewarmsidesurfaceofall insulatingmaterial.Inthecaseof thefiberglassblanketinsulations, theretardermaybelaminatedto theinsulatingfiber.Alljointsat crawlspaces,underslabductwork, atticopenings,ceilingfixtures and/orotherwall,ceilingandfloor penetrationsmustbeproperly sealed. b. Installavaporretarderground coveroverinterior,exposedground surfaces. c. Installavaporretarderbetween subflooringandgroundslab. d. Installaclearvaporretarderover skylightopeningsandsealoffto CondensationProblem
Moisture,frostormoldonundersideof uninsulatedmetalroof. Moistureorfrostonskylights. Moistureorfrostformationsoninteriorvapor retarder. Moisturedrippingfromceilingfixtures.

warmsideinsulationretarder. e. Installavaporretarderonbothsides oftheinsulationinbuildingswitha cooler,controlledatmosphereand incoldstoragebuildingstoprevent condensationinsidetheinsulation. 4. ThroughVentilationThedilutionofa moistinteriorairmasswithdrier outsideairfortheexpresspurposeof loweringtherelativehumidityoftheair masscanbeaccomplishedthrough ventilation.Forretrofitapplications, ventingaboveexistingroofmaynotbe necessaryifthesourcebelowis eliminatedbyadequatemeansofvapor retarders.Thenaturalamountsof watervaporfromoutsideairexchange willdissipategraduallywithoutany effect. MethodsofControl (SeeSection4.4.5)
1d,1e,2a,2f,3a,3b,4b1,4b2,4b3 1d,1e,3b,3d,4b1,4b2,4b3 1d,1e,2a,3b,4b1,4b2,4b3 2a,4a1,4a4

Moisture,dampnessand/ormildewonfloorareas. 1d,1e,2g,3c,4a3 Moistureand/orfrostonexteriorwindows,doors andmetalframes. 1d,1e,2a,2b,2c,2d,4b1,4b2,4b3

Dampness,stains,mildeworblisteringandpeeling 1d,1e,2a,2f,3a,3b,4a1,4a4,4b1,4b2,4b3 paintonceilings. Dampness,stain,mildeworblisteringandpeeling paintonwalls. Moisturedrippingfromcoldwaterpipesorcold airducts. Soggyordampinsulationinceilingorwalls.


TableC3:ControllingCondensation

1d,1e,2a,2f,3a,3b,4a2,4a4,4b1,4b2,4b3 1d,1e,2d,2f,3b,4b1,4b2,4b3 1d,3a,4a1,4a2,4a4

CONDENSATIONFACTSHEET
a. ColdSideVentingTheventingof exteriorcavities(cavitiesatthe coldsideoftheinsulationenvelope butcontainedwithinthegeneral buildingenvelope)ofthebuildings structuralelements.Onesquare footoffreeventareamustbe providedforeach300squarefeetof convectivecavityarea.Ventsshould beuniformlydistributedtoprovide thebestoverallairflowandalso shouldbescreenedandlouveredto preventinsectsandrainfrom enteringthecavity. 1) Provideridgeandeaveventsin buildingatticareas. 2) Provideforbaseandeaveline ventilationtowallcavities. 3) Installfoundationventstoany crawlspaceareas. 4) Installexhaustfans. b. WarmSideVentingTheventingof theinteriorbuildingenvelope. 1) Installconvectivetypeventing apparatus. 2) Installremoteexteriorair changerswithheatingand distributingsystemsasrequired. 3) Installexhaustfans.(Note: Borderlineeffectiveness dependsheavilyuponinfiltration forairchange.) HighHumidityConditions Applicationswheretherelativehumidityin abuildingisexpectedtobeabove30% warrantcarefulconsiderationof condensationissues,andthosewithrelative humidityabove50%areespeciallyproneto problemsifproperdesignandinstallation oftheinsulationretardersystemisnot carriedout.Someexamplesofthesehigh humiditysituationsarebuildingsthathouse swimmingpools,icerinks,wineries, livestock,highwaymaintenancegarages, andwasteprocessingfacilities. Theimportanceoftheproperselection, installationandsealingofthevapor retarderismagnifiedinasituationwhere therelativehumidityishigh.Theperm ratingofthevaporretardershouldbeless than0.05forhighhumidityconditions.All seams,lapsandjointsinthevaporretarder mustbeproperlysealed.Foldingand staplingseamsisnotrecommendedfor laminatedfiberglassinsulation. Inthecaseofaflexiblemembranetype retarder,anypuncturesortearsinthe materialshouldberepairedusingtheself adhesiverepairtapesuppliedwiththe insulation.Carefulinspectionafterall tradeshavecompletedtheirworkis recommendedtoverifytheintegrityofthe vaporretarder.Insomehighhumidity applicationswhereaflexiblemembrane retardercouldbeatriskfordamageand penetration,astructuralmembranemight bethemostprudentoption.Another optionwouldbetheuseofduallayerrigid boardinsulationssystems.rigidfoam insulationshouldhaveafoilfacerand staggeredjoints(min6inches)toprevent moisturemigration.Insulationjointsshould bewellsealedandcareshouldbetakento ensurethatdetailingiswellsealedatrake edgeofroof/walljunctureandatall penetrations.