Mould Resistance of Full Scale Wood Frame Wall Assemblies

by Black, Christopher

Abstract (Summary)
The primary objective of this study was to investigate mould growth resistance of different types of wood products which include the sheathing and framing within full scale wall assemblies. Secondary objectives were to investigate the difference in mould growth resistance between borate-treated and untreated wood products as well as provide information about mould growth under different temperature and humidity conditions for treated and untreated wood products.

The objective of the study is to better understand mould growth, and to examine the effects of varying high moisture conditions on wooden products and the mould growth which may result. More importantly this will be examined on full scale wall assemblies; to date mould growth studies have only been performed within a laboratory on small samples of materials. Moreover, this study recreates the conditions which evidently cause mould growth on full scale wall assemblies. Tests were performed within a climate chamber on three full scale wall assemblies. The original scope of this study included an examination of the sheathing and framing components within a full scale wall assembly, however this study will focus mainly on the sheathing.

Results of this study indicate that the relative humidity conditions needed for mould growth on wood are higher than originally believed (i. e. , significantly greater than 80%RH). During the first eight weeks of test number one the relative humidity at the surface of the sheathing was held constant at 95% and little mould growth was observed on the untreated sheathing (mould growth index of 3 or less); little or no mould growth on the treated sheathing (mould growth index of 1 or less). The second and third tests demonstrated that the presence of liquid water greatly accelerated the time to germinations, the amount of mould growth (up to a mould growth index of 6), and the rate of mould growth. All three tests clearly showed that borate-treatment reduced the amount of mould growth; however, the concentration of borate-treatment, and the types of materials treated, does affect the resistance of mould growth. Furthermore, there was some evidence to suggest Borate treatments of the plywood increased the time to germination significantly, from a few weeks to 16 weeks in this study, but once mould growth was initiated, the rate of mould growth was similar to that of the untreated plywood. Two mathematical models to determine mould growth were examined: Viitanen and WUFIBIO (Sedlbauer). Viitanen?s model predicted time to germination and rate of growth rate well for untreated plywood, and WUFIBIO predicted time to germination but not the growth rate. It was also found both models err on the side of caution in predicting mould growth.

Recommendations include improvements to the test method and producers, and for future work.

Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Waterloo

School Location:Canada - Ontario

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:civil environmental engineering mould mold wood full scale construction building science borate


Date of Publication:01/01/2006

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.