Quantcast Moisture Problems

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Keep the wood dry.  Keep gutters, downspouts, and roof
flashing in good repair.  Do not let water stand on roofs, window
sills, door and window lintel tops, cornices, or decorative
elements.  Allow ventilation.  Keep weep holes open in hollow
vertical elements such as columns.  Provide them if needed.
Weathering of bare wood may cause discoloration, erosion, and
Generally, bare wood should be treated with
preservatives and\or primed and painted.  Pentachlorophenol
solutions (5% pentachlorophenol solution in water) should be
applied to sanded wood before repainting.  A 10% solution may be
used for wood that is often wet.  To waterproof butt joints, end
joints, and other vertical joints, use a 20% solution in water
with oil or liquid paraffin additives.
4.3 MOISTURE PROBLEMS.  Protecting the building from excessive
moisture is the most important goal of a historic building
maintenance program.  Moisture should be the prime suspect
whenever almost anything goes wrong with an old building.
Water is the enemy of all building materials--wood, masonry,
stone, or metal.  It attacks from every direction--as snow or
rain, as humidity, as free water in the soil or as rising damp
within the walls.  It collects on rooftops, in basements, and in
insulation.  Nearly every cause of building decay, including
vegetation, fungus, insect infestation, chemical damage, and
other ills, is made possible or made worse by the presence of
(See Figure 4-10.)
Moisture meters can be used to detect and quantify excess
moisture, but many early symptoms are easy to spot without
special equipment.  It is useless and sometimes impossible to
repair water-related damage unless the cause of excessive
moisture is eliminated.  Simple, preventive maintenance is
usually the best way to keep a building dry and sound.
Standing water
Peeling paint
Damp wallpaper and powdery plaster
Damaged floors
Rotting wood (dry rot)
Rusting metal
Deteriorated mortar
Molds and fungi
Efflorescence, spalling, or discolored masonry


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