Improving ventilation and air conditioning with moisture buffering
Every part of the home absorbs moisture. As the relative humidity of an environment increases, the amount of moisture absorbed by the house does too. The fabric of the house and its contents absorb condensation generated in the home.
‘Moisture buffering’ (also known as humidity buffering) materials absorb large quantities of moisture. They absorb water vapour before it condenses and release it once the environment has dried out.
Moisture buffering materials are important parts of the anti-condensation toolbox.
When considering moisture buffering materials, consider wall insulation. But it is also important to consider the materials inside the home too. Curtains, books and soft furnishings aid moisture absorption, but be careful. These items can become damaged in damp environments.
Lowering your home’s moisture buffering capacity can cause condensation and mould problems. This often happens accidentally when home occupiers move and remove furniture and furnishings.
Moisture buffering options for Solid Walls
Relative humidity needs to be carefully controlled to maintain a comfortable, condensation-free and mould-free environment. In a solid wall home, many insulation options increase the moisture buffering capacity of your home. A common solution is Internal Wall Insulation. Calcium Silicate boards buffer high amounts of moisture.
When relative humidity peaks in a room, the boards begin to absorb moisture to bring it back down. Ensure that walls covered with moisture buffering internal wall insulation are free to dry out. Covering them with non-moisture-permeable paint will cause condensation. Calcium Silicate boards are alkaline to inhibit mould growth.
Contractors must affix moisture buffering IWI evenly to the wall. The dot and dab technique is not suitable for installing IWI.
This is due to the likelihood of creating small voids behind the insulation. Voids trap moisture and cause condensation and mould. Instead, contractors should erect a stud wall to hang the insulation on.
Moisture buffering options for Insulated Cavity Walls
Contractors should never install Internal Wall Insulation on Insulated Cavity Walls. To ensure IWI homes remain condensation-free, occupants can organise to promote air circulation.
Knowledge of the moisture-buffering capabilities of household materials can maximise the home’s anti-condensation properties.
Some high-performance moisture buffering materials include:
- Cellulose insulation
Common moisture buffering objects include:
When utilising moisture buffering furniture and objects, ensure that the space is not cluttered. Keep furniture away from walls, promoting air circulation throughout the property.
Inhibited airflow will block moisture buffering materials’ ability to dry out. This increases the chances that air vapour will condense when it hits a cold and non-moisture buffering object.
The importance of vapour permeability
For moisture buffering materials to work, they must exist within a building that is vapour permeable. Stormdry Masonry Cream is fully vapour-permeable. On a solid wall house with moisture buffering IWI, Stormdry allows water vapour to exit.
Never use non-breathable coatings like decorative gloss paint over moisture buffering IWI. Only vapour permeable paint should be used with IWI. Otherwise, any water vapour will become trapped within the insulation, causing condensation and mould growth.
Stormdry Masonry Protection Cream is an invisible silicone cream for waterproofing masonry, brick, stone and concrete. Stormdry is approved by the British Board of Agrément and verified to save energy by the Energy Saving Trust.
Apply in one coat with a brush, roller or mortar sprayer to create a breathable barrier that prevents penetrating damp. Stormdry cures invisibly, preserving the natural colour and texture of the substrate.
Wet walls are cold walls. Wet brick loses heat approximately twice as quickly as a dry brick. Dry walls are warm walls. Stormdry Masonry Protection Cream keeps building materials retain as much heat as possible by keeping them as dry as possible.