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    Review of 'An overview of hydrophobic treatments and their application with Internal Wall Insulation'

    An overview of hydrophobic treatments and their application with Internal Wall InsulationCrossref
    The article provides an interesting and comprehensive state of the art on hydrophobic treatments
    Average rating:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of importance:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of validity:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Level of completeness:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of comprehensibility:
        Rated 5 of 5.
    Competing interests:

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    An overview of hydrophobic treatments and their application with Internal Wall Insulation

    Hydrophobic (or water-repellent) treatments have been proposed to mitigate moisture risks associated with Internal Wall Insulation when applied to solid masonry walls. This can reduce risks associated with moisture accumulation within the structure such as mould growth or the deterioration of joist ends and other embedded timber. However, such treatments slow down drying processes, and therefore may result in a net increase in moisture if the treatment is bypassed by e.g. cracks. Furthermore, such treatments have been linked with damage to external masonry surfaces. Freeze-thaw and salt crystallisation are the two main causes. Hygrothermal simulations may give some indication of risks but techniques to assess surface damage are either simplistic, impractical outside of the research environment, or both.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Materials technology,Engineering,Architecture
      Water repellent,Internal Wall Insulation,Energy and climate,Solid Wall Insulation,Hydrophobic,Sustainability in architecture and the built environment,Hygrothermal

      Review text

      A very comprehensive piece of work indeed. Worth while reading. It compiles a range of relevant aspects and gives insights in the challenges at hand. It reads like an introductory chapter in a textbook and I would happily recommend it to a lot of people. However, it does not provide a complete state of the art literature review with adequate detail for what has been done before, and it does not add new data to the field. In that respect I would consider it as a very good conference paper, but it would not qualify for a high-ranked scientific journal.

      I have no major remarks, just some minor editorial remarks and little points of discussion:

      Section 3.1, the last sentence is just “Lubelli”, whereas a reference to literature was probably intended here?

      Section 4.1.1 typo error in the first word.

      Section 4.1.2 Reason 4: Although I agree with the processes that may affect capillary absorption tests, the impact of these phenomena should not be overestimated. Ideally, this section would also comprise a quantitative discussion on the topic to put these effects in the right perspective.

      Section 4.1.2 Reason 5: it should be noted that in cup test measurements there can be some liquid moisture transfer, but that does not compromise the validity of the measurement (in contrast to reason 4). It only highlights the artificial separation of liquid and vapor transfer. Next to that, this entails that the typical decrease in water vapor resistance of materials at higher moisture contents may be less evident for materials with HPT.

      Section 4.2.1 In the first sentence there is a single “ which is confusing.

      Section 4.2.1, page 9, 4th paragraph. “In the capillary tube experiment” = Karsten tube?

      Section 4.2.2 2nd paragraph. The last sentence states that the impact of surface roughness “contradicts the previous statement”. However, it is not clear which aspects contradict each other.

      Section 4.2.2 Last paragraph: some materials do not display the first drying phase. It would be relevant to provide practical examples.

      Section 5. 3rd paragraph: “the wall is generally direr” => drier

      Section 5. 3rd paragraph: last sentence is incomplete

      Section 6. 4th paragraph, 1 sentence: ad > and

      Section 6.2 It seems rather obvious that out of the three modelling approaches, the one in which different material properties are adopted for the thickness of the treated layer is most reliable. The paper seems to accept the approach where the whole masonry is assumed to be hydrophobic.

      Section 7. 6th paragraph. “The risk of frost damage can indicated by” > be indicated by


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