Void conditions and potential for mould growth in insulated and uninsulated suspended timber ground floors

Sofie Pelsmakers, Evy Vereecken, Miimu Airaksinen, Cliff Elwell

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

Purpose: Millions of properties have suspended timber ground floors globally, with around 10 million in the UK alone. However, it is unknown what the floor void conditions are, nor the effect of insulating such floors. Upgrading floors changes the void conditions, which might increase or decrease moisture build-up and mould and fungal growth. This paper provides a review of the current global evidence and presents the results of in-situ monitoring of 15 UK floor voids.
Research method: An extensive literature review on the moisture behaviour in both uninsulated and insulated suspended timber crawl spaces is supplemented with primary data of a monitoring campaign during different periods between 2012 to 2015. Air temperature and relative humidity sensors were placed in different floor void locations. Where possible, crawl spaces were visually inspected.
Implications: Comparison of void conditions to mould growth thresholds highlights that a large number of the monitored floor voids might exceed the critical ranges for mould growth, leading to potential occupant health impacts if mould spores transfer into living spaces above. A direct comparison could not be made between insulated and uninsulated floors in the sample due to non-random sampling and because the insulated floors included historically damp floors. The study also highlighted that long-term monitoring over all seasons and high-resolution monitoring and inspection are required; conditions in one location are not representative of conditions in other locations.
Value: This study presents the largest UK sample of monitored floors, evaluated using a review of current evidence and comparison with literature thresholds.

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title = "Void conditions and potential for mould growth in insulated and uninsulated suspended timber ground floors",
abstract = "Purpose: Millions of properties have suspended timber ground floors globally, with around 10 million in the UK alone. However, it is unknown what the floor void conditions are, nor the effect of insulating such floors. Upgrading floors changes the void conditions, which might increase or decrease moisture build-up and mould and fungal growth. This paper provides a review of the current global evidence and presents the results of in-situ monitoring of 15 UK floor voids.Research method: An extensive literature review on the moisture behaviour in both uninsulated and insulated suspended timber crawl spaces is supplemented with primary data of a monitoring campaign during different periods between 2012 to 2015. Air temperature and relative humidity sensors were placed in different floor void locations. Where possible, crawl spaces were visually inspected.Implications: Comparison of void conditions to mould growth thresholds highlights that a large number of the monitored floor voids might exceed the critical ranges for mould growth, leading to potential occupant health impacts if mould spores transfer into living spaces above. A direct comparison could not be made between insulated and uninsulated floors in the sample due to non-random sampling and because the insulated floors included historically damp floors. The study also highlighted that long-term monitoring over all seasons and high-resolution monitoring and inspection are required; conditions in one location are not representative of conditions in other locations. Value: This study presents the largest UK sample of monitored floors, evaluated using a review of current evidence and comparison with literature thresholds.",
keywords = "mould growth, timber floors, Insulation, Building Physics, retrofit, low energy",
author = "Sofie Pelsmakers and Evy Vereecken and Miimu Airaksinen and Cliff Elwell",
year = "2018",
month = "10",
day = "25",
doi = "10.1108/IJBPA-05-2018-0041",
language = "English",
journal = "International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation",
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}

Void conditions and potential for mould growth in insulated and uninsulated suspended timber ground floors. / Pelsmakers, Sofie; Vereecken, Evy; Airaksinen, Miimu; Elwell, Cliff.

I: International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, 25.10.2018.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Void conditions and potential for mould growth in insulated and uninsulated suspended timber ground floors

AU - Pelsmakers, Sofie

AU - Vereecken, Evy

AU - Airaksinen, Miimu

AU - Elwell, Cliff

PY - 2018/10/25

Y1 - 2018/10/25

N2 - Purpose: Millions of properties have suspended timber ground floors globally, with around 10 million in the UK alone. However, it is unknown what the floor void conditions are, nor the effect of insulating such floors. Upgrading floors changes the void conditions, which might increase or decrease moisture build-up and mould and fungal growth. This paper provides a review of the current global evidence and presents the results of in-situ monitoring of 15 UK floor voids.Research method: An extensive literature review on the moisture behaviour in both uninsulated and insulated suspended timber crawl spaces is supplemented with primary data of a monitoring campaign during different periods between 2012 to 2015. Air temperature and relative humidity sensors were placed in different floor void locations. Where possible, crawl spaces were visually inspected.Implications: Comparison of void conditions to mould growth thresholds highlights that a large number of the monitored floor voids might exceed the critical ranges for mould growth, leading to potential occupant health impacts if mould spores transfer into living spaces above. A direct comparison could not be made between insulated and uninsulated floors in the sample due to non-random sampling and because the insulated floors included historically damp floors. The study also highlighted that long-term monitoring over all seasons and high-resolution monitoring and inspection are required; conditions in one location are not representative of conditions in other locations. Value: This study presents the largest UK sample of monitored floors, evaluated using a review of current evidence and comparison with literature thresholds.

AB - Purpose: Millions of properties have suspended timber ground floors globally, with around 10 million in the UK alone. However, it is unknown what the floor void conditions are, nor the effect of insulating such floors. Upgrading floors changes the void conditions, which might increase or decrease moisture build-up and mould and fungal growth. This paper provides a review of the current global evidence and presents the results of in-situ monitoring of 15 UK floor voids.Research method: An extensive literature review on the moisture behaviour in both uninsulated and insulated suspended timber crawl spaces is supplemented with primary data of a monitoring campaign during different periods between 2012 to 2015. Air temperature and relative humidity sensors were placed in different floor void locations. Where possible, crawl spaces were visually inspected.Implications: Comparison of void conditions to mould growth thresholds highlights that a large number of the monitored floor voids might exceed the critical ranges for mould growth, leading to potential occupant health impacts if mould spores transfer into living spaces above. A direct comparison could not be made between insulated and uninsulated floors in the sample due to non-random sampling and because the insulated floors included historically damp floors. The study also highlighted that long-term monitoring over all seasons and high-resolution monitoring and inspection are required; conditions in one location are not representative of conditions in other locations. Value: This study presents the largest UK sample of monitored floors, evaluated using a review of current evidence and comparison with literature thresholds.

KW - mould growth

KW - timber floors

KW - Insulation, Building Physics

KW - retrofit

KW - low energy

U2 - 10.1108/IJBPA-05-2018-0041

DO - 10.1108/IJBPA-05-2018-0041

M3 - Journal article

JO - International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

JF - International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

ER -