Moisture and bio-deterioration risk of building materials and structures

Hannu Viitanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleScientificpeer-review


During the service life of buildings, natural aging and eventual damage of materials due to
different chemical, physical, and biological processes can take place. Ageing of the materials
is one aspect of the environmental processes and involve different chemical, mechanical and
biological reactions of the materials. Bio-deterioration, e.g. mould, decay and insect damage
in buildings, is caused when moisture exceeds the tolerance of structures which may be a
critical factor for durability and usage of different building materials.
Modelling of the development of mould growth and decay development is a tool for
evaluate the eventual risk of ambient humidity or moisture conditions of materials for biodeterioration of materials. The modelling can be used in combination of hygro-thermal
analyses of building and building components.
Moisture availability is the primary factor controlling mould growth and decay
development, but the characteristics of the substrate and environmental conditions
determine the dynamics of the growth. However, moist materials may also dry and become
wet again thus, resulting in fluctuating moisture conditions. Mould and decay problems in
buildings are most often caused by moisture damage: water leakage, convection of damp air
and moisture condensation, rising damp from the ground and moisture accumulation in the
structure. Repeated or prolonged moisture penetration into the structure is needed for
damage to develop.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMass Transfer
Subtitle of host publicationAdvanced Aspects
EditorsHironori Nakajima
Place of PublicationRijeka, Croatia
ISBN (Print)978-953-307-636-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

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