Moisture Accumulation in Concrete Masonry Construction

Grantee: National Brick Research Center, Clemson University
Principle Investigators: John Sanders
Year: 2020
Project Number: 2020.021

This research project aims to perform hygrothermal analyses of concrete masonry assemblies, which will in turn provide better education for designers to ensure high performing assemblies.

Program Details:

Moisture intrusion and condensation issues are an increasing problem in wood and steel stud construction. Unfortunately, designers are often taught that detailing strategies for frame construction are also applicable to concrete masonry construction when the opposite is truer. As a result, concrete masonry construction is – at best – more costly to build than necessary – or at worst – the addition of things like vapor barriers leads to performance issues in concrete masonry construction that wouldn’t have been present if the frame strategies were not applied. Through a new research grant awarded to the National Brick Research Center at Clemson University, a series of physical and modeling investigations will document the ‘dew point’ within various concrete masonry assemblies incorporating different finishes located in different climate zones to better educate designers on proper detailing with concrete masonry construction.

The research program is focused on documenting baseline performance of common concrete masonry construction. Designers need research-supported validation that detailing practices appropriate for some forms of construction are not appropriate for concrete masonry construction that this project will provide.