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      The influence of ground slab permeability on wall moisture in a historic building

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            When impermeable ground bearing slabs are installed in old buildings without a damp-proof course, it is a common belief of practitioners within the conservation industry that ground moisture will be ‘driven’ up adjacent walls by capillary action. However, there is limited evidence to test this hypothesis. The accumulation of moisture in walls can promote the decay of the wall materials, decrease the thermal performance of the building envelope and adversely affect the comfort and health of occupants.

            An experiment was used to determine if the installation of a vapour-proof barrier above a stone flag floor in a historic building would increase moisture content levels in an adjacent stone rubble wall. This was achieved by undertaking measurements of wall, soil and atmospheric moisture content over a three-year period. Measurements taken using timber dowels showed that the moisture content within the wall did not vary in response to wall evaporation rates and did not increase following the installation of a vapour-proof barrier above the floor. This indicates that the moisture levels in the rubble wall were not driven by capillary rise.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            16 December 2021
            [1 ] Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath, UK
            [2 ] Historic England, UK
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 16 December 2021
            Historic England N/A

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the repository: https://doi.org/10.15125/BATH-01101
            Architecture,Materials science
            masonry,wall moisture,historic building,conservation,renovation,capillary rise,evaporation,timber dowel,soil moisture deficit,Built environment


            Date: 01 March 2022

            Handling Editor: Dr Yasemin D. Aktas

            Editorial decision: Request revision. The Handling Editor requested revisions; the article has been returned to the authors to make this revision.

            2022-03-01 11:25 UTC
            One person recommends this

            Date: 17 December 2021

            Handling Editor: Dr Yasemin D. Aktas

            This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            This article is part of the 1st International Conference on Moisture in Buildings (ICMB21) Special Series

            2022-01-06 15:25 UTC

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