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      In-situ measurements of wall moisture in a historic building in response to the installation of an impermeable floor

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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 conservation practitioners that ground moisture will be ‘driven’ up adjacent walls by capillary action. However, there is limited evidence to test this hypothesis.

            An experiment was used to determine if the installation of a vapour-proof barrier above a flagstone 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 influenced by changes in the vapour-permeability of the floor.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            30 May 2022
            [1 ] Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath, UK
            [2 ] Historic England, UK
            Author notes

            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.

            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: 20 August 2022

            Handling Editor:  Dr Yasemin D. Aktas

            Editorial decision: Accept. This revised article has been accepted following peer review and it is suitable for publication in UCL Open: Environment.

            2022-08-23 08:49 UTC

            Date: 04 July 2022

            Handling Editor: Dr Yasemin Aktas

            The article has been revised, this article remains a preprint article and peer-review has not been completed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            2022-08-09 09:55 UTC

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