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Monitoring Moisture Performance of Cross-Laminated Timber Building Elements during Construction

Wood Science and Engineering Department, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
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Buildings 2019, 9(6), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings9060144
Received: 9 May 2019 / Revised: 6 June 2019 / Accepted: 10 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
There are currently no standards regulating water management for mass timber elements during construction, little knowledge of impacts of moisture exposure (wetting and drying performance, dimensional stability, checking), and few precedents serving as guidelines for monitoring moisture response of mass timber. To address these gaps, a hygrothermal monitoring study was devised to track moisture performance of U.S. made cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam at a three-story mass timber building. This paper discusses moisture measurements that were collected during the first six months of construction at a CLT rocking shear wall and a timber floor connection. Despite the limited number of structural systems monitored during construction, the distribution and number of sensors in these elements allow to draw some important conclusions. The data confirmed that moisture distribution and wetting/drying rates varied based on local conditions and details (aspect, coatings, connections, etc.), with measurements at an uncoated, north-facing area showing the highest moisture levels (reaching fiber saturation at multiple ply depths and locations). Most locations rarely exceeded 16% moisture content for more than a few months. Certain moisture-trapping details consistently showed higher moisture levels (i.e., above 16%) and poorer drying. Some interior plies continued to show slow increases in MC even after months of drying conditions. These observations suggest preventative approaches implementable in the design (e.g., avoiding moisture trapping details), during fabrication (e.g., localized coating), and construction (e.g., sequencing installation to minimize exposure and allow drying). View Full-Text
Keywords: mass timber buildings; moisture performance; cross-laminated timber; CLT; hygrothermal monitoring mass timber buildings; moisture performance; cross-laminated timber; CLT; hygrothermal monitoring
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Schmidt, E.; Riggio, M. Monitoring Moisture Performance of Cross-Laminated Timber Building Elements during Construction. Buildings 2019, 9, 144.

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