ANALYSIS METHOD TO DETERMINE SUFFICIENT VAPOUR RETARDER FOR WOOD FRAME WALLS

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1 ANALYSIS METHOD TO DETERMINE SUFFICIENT VAPOUR RETARDER FOR WOOD FRAME WALLS June 11, 2008 Dr.Tech. Juha Vinha

2 RESEARCHES OF WOOD FRAME EXTERNAL WALLS IN TUT Objects of the researches: To determine the performance criteria, limit values and boundary conditions for hygrothermal behavior of wood frame external walls in Finnish climatic conditions. To create new method and principles which can be used for determining sufficient water vapor resistance of vapor retarder in interior wall lining. To define the minimum values for the water vapor resistance ratio between the interior and exterior linings of different external walls. Juha Vinha 2

3 MOISTURE PERFORMANCE OF WOOD FRAME WALLS FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF DIFFUSION WALL WITH VAPOR BARRIER WALL WITHOUT VAPOR BARRIER = MOISTURE-PERMEABLE WALL Outdoor Indoor Outdoor Indoor +21 C +21 C -10 C -10 C Temperature Diffusion Diffusion 2,2 g/m 3 18,3 g/m 3 6,0 g/m 3 Condense area 2,2 g/m 3 18,3 g/m 3 6,0 g/m 3 Humidity by volume at saturation Humidity by volume 2,0 g/m 3 90% RH 75% RH 2,0 g/m 3 90% RH 100% RH 35% RH 35% RH Relative humidity 11% RH Juha Vinha 3

4 RESEARCH SCHEDULE Construction of the building physical research equipment Wall assembly tests in winter conditions (8 test walls) Field tests on wall assemblies of one-family house Wall assembly tests in autumn, winter and spring conditions (56 test walls), test series Testing of building physical properties of building materials (42 materials) Field tests related to functioning of ventilation gap of TUT test houses Field measurements on indoor air conditions in one-family and row houses (102 test houses) Benchmarking of HAM models and calculational modeling of wall assemblies Juha Vinha 4

5 BUILDING PHYSICAL RESEARCH EQUIPMENT Controllable quantities Temperature Relative humidity Pressure difference Heat radiation to exterior surface of test walls HEATERS FAN METAL BAND OUTER BAFFLE + SENSORS OUTER EVAPORATOR EVAPORATORS AND FANS TEST ELEMENT PROTECTIVE CHAMBER OUTDOOR AIR WARM CHAMBER INDOOR AIR FREEZER ROOM INNER BAFFLE + SENSORS HEATER + FAN INNER EVAPORATOR BALANCE Test conditions Autumn, winter and spring conditions in Finland Juha Vinha 5

6 TEST ELEMENTS FOR LABORATORY TESTS One test element consisted typically of 4 test walls. The test elements were installed and sealed so, that no air leakages occurred through the walls. Juha Vinha 6

7 USED MATERIALS IN LABORATORY TESTS Sheathings Gypsum board 9 mm Thermal insulations Air-/ vapor barriers Plastic foil Wood fiberboard 12 mm Glass wool Plastic coated papers Wood fiberboard 25 mm Rock wool Bitumen papers Glass wool 25 mm Cellulose Air barrier papers Rock wool 30 mm insulation Cellulose insulation Flax insulation board 25 mm Sawdust + Interior board Wood hardboard 4.8 mm chipping Spruce plywood 12 mm Gypsum board 13 mm Wind barrier membranes thickness 175 or 200 mm Juha Vinha 7

8 LABORATORY TEST RESULTS Relative humidity at interior surface of sheathing, ϕ (% RH) b, 36b 12b 18b 12xb 17b 10b 20b 11b 10xb 19b 11xb Favourable conditions 37b, 39b for mould growth 28b 9b,25b 38b 3b, 5b, 6b 27b 40b 35b 30b 26b 9xb 33b 13b 24b 14b 29b 3a 4b 15b 16b 32b 6a 4a 23b 7b 5a 31b Thermal resistance of sheathing m² K/W Thermal resistance of sheathing m² K/W Thermal resistance of sheathing m² K/W 1b 8b 7a 1a 8a 22b 21b 2b 2a Water vapour resistance ratio, Z li /Z le (-) Water vapor resistance ratio between interior and exterior wall linings affected remarkably to the moisture performance of walls. Some other factors were also important like thermal resistance and vapor resistance of sheathing. Juha Vinha 8

9 MEASUREMENTS IN ONE-FAMILY HOUSE Two wall assemblies Plastic vapor barrier + mineral wool Bitumen paper air barrier + cellulose insulation ~200 ~200 Temperature sensor RH/T sensor Air flow sensor Pressure difference RH values were higher at the interior surface of sheathing when bitumen paper was used as an air barrier. Juha Vinha 9

10 MEASUREMENTS IN TEST HOUSES OF TUT Monitoring of ventilation gap conditions in all cardinal directions Temperature Relative humidity Air velocity 1 : 7 Polyurethane foam insulation ( ) mm RH/T measurement points in ventilation gap o C 2 g/m Chipboard 22 mm Polyurethane foam insulation ( ) mm Ventilated crawl space Juha Vinha 10

11 FACTORS AFFECTING THE ACCEPTABILITY OF MOISTURE PERFORMANCE OF EXTERNAL WALLS 1. The performance criteria and limit values Outdoor air conditions 3. Indoor air conditions 4. The wall assembly solution and used materials Construction-time moisture Juha Vinha 11

12 CALCULATIONAL MODELING The performance criteria selected for calculational modeling Moisture condensation within the wall assembly Mould growth within the wall assembly Two performance criteria Two moisture reference years (MRY) Sodankylä Outdoor air conditions 30 years measuring data from four Finnish localities (Vantaa, Lahti, Jyväskylä ja Sodankylä). Indoor air conditions Jyväskylä Vantaa Lahti Design values of indoor air excess moisture based on measuring data of 102 one-family and row houses. Juha Vinha 12

13 EXCESS MOISTURE OF INDOOR AIR 9 Excess moisture of indoor air, Δνexc (g/m 3 ) Severe conditions = living space < 30 m 2 / occupant and/or extra humidification Outdoor air temperature, θ e ( C) Suitable design value of excess moisture in severe conditions Suitable design value of excess moisture in normal conditions Results are based on measurements in 102 one-family and row houses. The biggest difference between these design values and values presented in EN ISO Standard is that in this case excess moisture increases also when temperature is over 15 C. Juha Vinha 13

14 SELECTION OF MOISTURE REFERENCE YEARS Moisture condensation Examination quantity: average moisture deficit of outdoor air in one month The most critical situation is in Northern Finland Mould growth Examination quantity: mould index (0-6) The most critical situation is in Southern Finland 10 % level critical year was determined in both cases g/m Year Vantaa Lahti Jyväskylä Sodankylä Maximum mould index, M max (-) Average saturation deficit of one month, Δ ν def (g/m 3 ) Year Vantaa Lahti Jyväskylä Sodankylä Juha Vinha 14

15 PRINCIPLE TO SELECT LIMIT VALUES FOR INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR WALL LININGS Exterior wall lining Exterior wall lining Limit value of exterior wall lining Limit value of exterior wall lining Limit value of interior wall lining Limit value of interior wall lining Interior wall lining Interior wall lining The temperature and moisture conditions for the exterior wall lining must not be more critical than with the most critical acceptable wall assembly (so-called reference wall) where said conditions are solely the result of outdoor air conditions. Maximum continuous condensation time 34 days (Sodankylä ) Maximum mould index 1,96 (Lahti ) Juha Vinha 15

16 CALCULATIONAL MODELING OF WALLS (WUFI-2D PROGRAM) Example from mould growth analysis at the interior surface of sheathing 30 Glass wool Cellulose insulation Sawdust + chipping Water vapor resistance ratio, Z li/zle (-) Gypsum board 9 mm Spruce plywood 9 mm + glass wool board 30 mm Excess moisture of indoor air in winter, Δν exc (g/m 3 ) Juha Vinha 16

17 MINIMUM WATER VAPOUR RESISTANCE VALUES OF INTERIOR LINING WITH DIFFERENT WALLS (Excess moisture of indoor air in winter 5 g/m 3 ) Sheathing material Bitumen paper Glass wool board 30 mm 2-4:1 Wood fiberboard 25 mm 2-9:1 Wood fiberboard 12 mm 3-18:1 Gypsum board 9 mm 10-21:1 Wood hardboard 4,8 mm 14-28:1 Oriented strand board (OSB) 12 mm 11:1 Spruce plywood 9 mm 26-78:1 Spruce plywood 9 mm + glass wool b. 30 mm 5-7:1 Membrane Zv = 300 s/m 2-40:1 Membrane Zv = 1000 s/m 2-41:1 Membrane Zv = 3000 s/m 73-76:1 Plastic coated paper Non-hygroscopic thermal insulation Hygroscopic thermal insulation High hygroscopic thermal insulation Membrane Zv = 5000 s/m 3330 >110: Minimum water vapor resistance of interior lining, Z ν,li ( 10 3 s/m) Juha Vinha 17

18 CONCLUSIONS OF THE RESEARCH RESULTS OF WOOD FRAME EXTERNAL WALL ASSEMBLIES Using a plastic vapor barrier behind the interior board is safe in all typical indoor and outdoor air conditions of the Finnish climate. A wall assembly may be implemented also without a plastic vapor barrier if the water vapor resistance of interior wall lining is sufficient. The present guideline of the Finnish Building Code of water vapor resistance ratio 5:1 is not sufficient in most cases. Recommendable water vapor resistance ratio is typically between 5:1 80:1, and with sheathings highly permeable to water vapor between 5:1 40:1. The water vapor resistances of the paper-based air barrier membranes are normally so low that they do not even meet the guideline of Finnish Building Code. The hygrothermal performance of external wall can be improved by using sheathing with high thermal resistance and low water vapor resistance. Hygroscopic thermal insulation retards the wetting of the wall in autumn but also its drying in spring. Juha Vinha 18

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