Moisture control in buildings

 In Plant Optimization

Why is moisture control in buildings so important? Because even little amounts of moisture can cause big problems. Consider a drafty warehouse that is used primarily for holding inventory. Cardboard may be a great way to store or ship products but doesn’t do well in wet conditions.

When temperatures reach a certain point, the air becomes saturated with water vapor. This is known as the dew point. This can happen in the atmosphere or when air lands on a cold surface, leaving behind condensation. Not likely inside the home, but entirely possible in a warehouse.

The moisture will also affect some metals, leading to rust damage. If an inordinate amount of rust is found on your equipment, it could affect its usefulness as well as its lifespan. That can be expected to a degree if the machinery is meant for external use. But should raise eyebrows if it has never seen the light of day.

Unless there has been a break in the water main or something obvious, initial investigations should be conducted along the exterior of the building. Are there obvious openings or damage to exterior walls or can you follow moisture problems to the roof of your structure?

Roof leaks aren’t always easy to pinpoint because the water can follow joists and other structural elements before falling several yards away. From there, other auxiliary systems should be inspected. This could include failing infrastructure, improperly sited drainage planes, poorly engineered building envelopes, and more.

Establishing Moisture Control in your Building

If the appearance of moisture in your plant or facility is detrimental to your business, there are steps you can take. Depending on the location of your building (humid climates, cold environments, etc.), material selections will play a key part in keeping moisture in your building at acceptable levels.

Vapor barriers should be placed alongside all buried foundations as well as internal areas below ground level. There are several types of industrial vapor barriers available on the market, so be sure to follow the recommended usages from the manufacturer.

These water vapor diffusion retarders slow the rate of water passing through masonry blocks, concrete, wood, and other materials. Some barriers are built with capillary breaks to prevent water from traveling upwards to unprotected areas. Think of dipping absorbent materials into a glass of water. The liquid travels up, ignoring all laws of gravity.

If you notice air leaks in your building, around windows, doors, and other openings, fill these gaps with closed-cell expanding foam. This will serve two purposes: keeping moisture out and improving the energy efficiency of the structure.

Moisture Control in Buildings: Health Concerns

In residential structures, such as single-family homes, water damage is one of the most invasive, and harmful, situations. Whether it’s from leaky pipes within the wall cavities or from a failing roof, the combination of warm interior air and moisture is a perfect recipe for black mold.

Extremely dangerous for those with respiratory issues, black mold growth can only be mitigated by removing all of the damaged material. This is a time-consuming and costly process and there is often no way of knowing it’s there until it begins to appear on the interior of the wall. By then, it’s too late.

That same danger lurks in industrial settings as well, although it may be limited to lobbies, office spaces, or meeting rooms. On the work floor, excess moisture/humidity can lead to condensation. This could lead to slippery floors, footholds on heavy machinery, and other unsafe conditions around the facility.

Handling Excessive Moisture in Industrial Situations

In many cases, water is a necessary component in manufacturing, industrial, or commercial enterprises. But how that water is handled, either in a liquid or gas form, can mitigate many issues. Proper vessels/infrastructure will keep water in place until it’s needed. When humidity levels reach unsafe levels, proper ventilation is needed as well.

Storee Construction has been maintaining, servicing, and installing industrial heating and cooling ventilation systems for more than five decades. In addition to moisture control in buildings, ventilation is responsible for air movement, circulating stagnant air out, and bringing fresh air in.

By keeping the air conditioned, humidity at acceptable levels, and reducing the amount of unnecessary water on the interior of your building, the work environment becomes much safer. At Storee Construction, safety is always job one. For our crews, our clients, and their customers.

Work with Experience Pros

Concerned about potential leaks or pooling water in your facility? Consider reaching out to one of our facility contractors or safety personnel. We know what to look for and how to solve these potentially catastrophic issues. We’ve worked throughout the midwest since 1966 and are quite familiar with weather extremes in the area.

In addition to safety protocols and industrial ventilation systems, we are experienced with new construction, design-build engineering for upgraded automation systems, facility relocations, and other industrial construction work. If your plant or facility is in dire need of improved productivity, Storee Construction is the company to call.