Maxx Minutes Blog

Maintaining Proper Building Conditions

An emerging topic in the construction industry is moisture control during the construction phase of building interiors. Among several reasons, the resurgence of the building market has developers, architects, general contractors and subcontractors pushing timelines to meet demand.  From design to occupancy, it is important to understand how moisture issues can be avoided throughout the construction phase.

The general contractor must provide and maintain correct environmental conditions to keep the building clean, dry, and protected against infestation of moisture from a variety of potential sources. Moisture can be introduced by other trades through spillage, tracked in mud and rain, plumbing leaks, etc. Often stored in damp conditions, building products may arrive on-site laden with moisture that releases after installation.

The general weather conditions must also be taken into account by the general contractor when determining the best course of maintaining drying conditions for the success of all building products. Outside sources such as rain, snow, wind, etc. can increase moisture levels.
It is vital to maintain a low relative humidity both before and after placement of poured underlayments. Controlling moisture levels in the building, through appropriate trade sequencing and prevention of potential damage by other trades, is the responsibility of the general contractor.  The general contractor must supply mechanical ventilation and heat if necessary. Oftentimes, opening the windows for ventilation is adequate. However, due to various environmental conditions, it may be necessary for the general contractor to supply mechanical ventilation, heat, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and other resources to remove moisture from the air. These controls fall under the scope of the general contractor.

While Maxxon does not consider itself an expert on mold issues, you may find it helpful to consider the following:

  • Maxxon Underlayments are inorganic and provide no source of nutrients to sustain mold growth. Mold growth can occur as a result of prolonged contact with moisture on construction materials that do provide a food source for mold. Moisture can be introduced by other trades, building products, weather, and construction processes. Building products that were stored in damp conditions can release moisture after installation.
  • Some industry resources indicate that one of the keys to controlling mold, mildew, and other biological growth is to keep the relative humidity of the area below 70%. (See references)

Keep in mind the Maxxon Underlayment is only one component of the building. Installation and drying/curing of all components must be handled as the requirements and environment of each job necessitate. Maxxon makes no claims as to being a mold expert. The ultimate success of the moisture control in a building relies on the general contractor taking into account all aspects of moisture on the project – building materials, moisture intrusions, ambient air conditions, construction processes, etc.
References:

  • ASTM International “Moisture Control in Buildings – The Key Factor in Mold Prevention” 2nd Edition
  • www.epa.gov, Indoor Air Quality “Mold Course”
  •  US Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, “USACERL Technical Report 99/03”