How to Prevent Condensation in Steel Buildings
Condensation is the result of too much moisture in the air. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold before condensation forms. You would think that a hot climate like North Texas wouldn’t get too much excess moisture, but many things can cause condensation to form inside and outside your metal building. This can ultimately lead to rust, deterioration, leaks, and indoor mold and mildew growth.
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What Causes Condensation?
When warm, humid air meets a cold, dry surface, condensation will form on that surface. When it forms on the roof or exterior of your steel building, it can become a problem. If you’re noticing excess moisture in your steel building, there are several potential causes to look out for, including:
- Any compromised area on your walls or roof could allow water to seep in, increasing the humidity in your building and causing condensation to form. Inspect your roof regularly, especially after severe storms or hail. Other common leaky spots include exterior window and door frames.
- Insufficient Drainage. Condensation can come from all sides, including below your building. A layer of crushed rock or gravel beneath the grade level slabs is an effective way to control ground-level condensation. Be sure your roof has adequate drainage as well, and that rain is diverted away from the building’s foundation.
- Insufficient Air Flow. A strong air flow helps condensation dry up and evaporate. If your air flow is limited, condensation will sit and continue to form. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation in place.
- Heat Loss. A metal building without enough insulation will lose heat, causing the indoor temperature to drop. Since cold air cannot hold as much moisture, it will release the excess as condensation. Proper insulation will prevent this from happening.
How to Prevent Condensation
Condensation can spell trouble for steel buildings. Not only is there the possibility of rust, but if too much moisture builds up in your walls, it can make your insulation wet and ineffective. There is also the possibility that mold spores will form, causing respiratory distress for people with allergies or asthma. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent too much condensation from building up.
- Use the Right Insulation. Insulation serves a two-fold purpose. First, it regulates the temperature to prevent wild fluctuations between day and night. It also acts as a barrier between warm, moisture-laden air and the cold, dry metal of your building’s shell. Make sure you’re using enough insulation and that it’s continuous, not just present between the framing members.
- Install a Vapor Barrier. Vapor barriers prevent humid outside air from entering the building. Many also act as radiant heat barriers. When combined with thorough sealing of doors and windows, they make an effective remedy for unwanted condensation.
- Increase Ventilation. Breathing, sweating, and using gas or oil-based heaters can all increase the humidity within your building. You can fix this by allowing outside air to pass inside and vice versa. Open your windows, run a fan, and make sure all heating units vent to the building’s exterior.
If you follow these steps, you should see an improvement in your condensation right away.
The Short Iron Store: Your Top Metal Source in DFW
If your next project requires metal, come to the Short Iron Store! We have a large selection to choose from, including alloys that are hard to find elsewhere. We also provide plasma cutting services. Our customers come to us from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. We hope you’ll visit us soon!