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Building Moisture and Durability Past, Present, and Future Work, October 2004

Moisture, in all its physical forms, is commonly regarded as the single greatest threat to durability and long-term performance of our nation's housing stock. Excessive
exposure to moisture is not only a common cause of significant damage to many types of building components and materials, it can also lead to unhealthy indoor living conditions. Moisture problems in houses are responsible for a long list of potentially serious adverse effects.

Recognizing the importance of improving durability of the U.S. housing stock, the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), a public-private initiative
headed up by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development working in conjunction with a number of other public and private organizations, sponsored this study of moisture problems that affect the durability of housing. The scope of the project includes water problems due to leaks, condensation, and water vapor in single-family
houses of all ages, particularly detached houses ofconventional light-frame construction in climates characteristic of the continental U.S.

The report sets out recommendations for future research on moisture problems in housing. The recommendations grew out of a review and analysis of the extensive technical
literature concerning the problems created by bulk water and excessive water vapor in houses, and the proposed solutions to those problems. The literature review was
supplemented with information about ongoing public and private research into moisture problems prior to developing research recommendations. A panel of experts active in this field also provided detailed input.

The report describes three overarching goals, which provide the framework for organizing future research. Within this framework, the report illustrates potential research projects under each of the goals. Each project description presents a brief rationale for the work and a discussion of desired outcomes. Where feasible, the project description also includes qualitative information about timing, level of effort, and whether the project should be pursued by the public sector, the privatesector, or a combination of the two.

The three goals include:

1. Building improved knowledge about the nature, extent, and implications of moisture problems.

2. Pursuing a variety of methods for preventing and detecting moisture problems.

3. Taking greater advantage of the potential offered by moisture modeling tools.

Under the first goal, for example, one future research idea is to perform an in-depth analysis of existing American Housing Survey (AHS) data on moisture problems.
Data on homes with moisture problems could be analyzed using housing characteristics and occupant data to identify factors associated with reported leaks from
external and internal sources. This could predict the conditions associated with moisture problems. For this particular project, the responsible party would be the
public sector. The identified cost is low, the time commitment is short, and the priority has been identified as very high by the expert panel.

Relevant background information developed during the project (such as the literature review), summaries of ongoing research projects relevant to moisture in housing, and a discussion of issues and possible approaches to improving overall coordination of work among public agencies and private-sector groups is discussed in the appendices.

Building Moisture and Durability
Past, Present and Future Work, October 2004 is available
as a free download from HUD USER at

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