Research article

Hygrothermal monitoring of replacement infill panels for historic timber-frame buildings: initial findings

Authors
  • Chris J. Whitman orcid logo (Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
  • Oriel Prizeman orcid logo (Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
  • Pete Walker orcid logo (Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath, Bath, UK)
  • Iain McCaig (Historic England, London, UK)
  • Soki Rhee-Duverne (Historic England, London, UK)

This is version 1 of this article, the published version can be found at: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444/ucloe.000039

Abstract

Energy retrofits aim to improve the thermal performance of buildings’ external envelopes. With buildings of traditional construction there exists the risk that these improvements may lead to interstitial condensation and moisture accumulation. For historic timber-framed buildings, this potentially exposes the embedded historic timbers to conditions favouring fungal decay and insect infestation. Hygrothermal digital simulations can assess this risk, but these have limitations, especially regarding the study of historic and traditional materials, due to a lack of accurate material data. The research presented in this paper therefore uses the monitoring of physical test panels to examine the performance of four different infill solutions. These are, traditional wattle and daub, a composite of wood fibre and wood wool boards, expanded cork board, and hempcrete. The article focuses on the design and construction of the test cell and presents initial results from the first year of monitoring, following the initial drying phase. These showed no evidence of interstitial condensation in any of the panel build-ups, with increases in moisture content correlating directly with climatic measurements of wind-driven rain. Infill materials with low moisture permeability were seen to produce higher moisture contents at the interface with the external render due to the concentration of moisture at this point. Those panels finished in the more moisture permeable lime-hemp plaster, overall present lower moisture contents, with reduced drying times. The use of perimeter, non-moisture permeable, sealants would appear to potentially trap moisture at the junction between infill and historic timber-frame. The monitoring work is ongoing.

Keywords: interstitial hygrothermal behaviour, moisture content, monitoring, traditional timber frame, energy retrofit

Rights: © 2022 The Authors.

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Published on
26 Aug 2022
Peer Reviewed

 Open peer review from Jorge Branco

Review

Review information

DOI:: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-ARCH.AEVKMQ.v1.RBBRFZ
License:
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 .

ScienceOpen disciplines: General materials science , Historic preservation , Architecture
Keywords: Traditional Timber-Frame , Energy , Moisture Content; Monitoring , Interstitial Hygrothermal Behaviour , Sustainability in architecture and the built environment , Energy Retrofit , Climate change and urban areas

Review text

It is an interesting research, based on a well-defined experimental campaign, that, despite being in a preliminary stage, gives useful information and data that for sure will support the practitioners. The paper is easy to read, very well organized and written.

So, my recommendation is that the paper should be accepted after some minor corrections. Those corrections and comments can be found in the attached file.



Note:
This review refers to round of peer review and may pertain to an earlier version of the document.

 Open peer review from Dina D'Ayala

Review

Review information

DOI:: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-ARCH.AORB6G.v1.RXRRCR
License:
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 .

ScienceOpen disciplines: General materials science , Historic preservation , Architecture
Keywords: Traditional Timber-Frame , Energy , Moisture Content; Monitoring , Interstitial Hygrothermal Behaviour , Sustainability in architecture and the built environment , Energy Retrofit , Climate change and urban areas

Review text

Please see attached pdf



Note:
This review refers to round of peer review and may pertain to an earlier version of the document.