Mass Timber Moisture Management

Like a camper trying to use rain-soaked firewood, AEC professionals face challenges protecting mass timber from moisture during construction. As mass timber becomes more popular, MKA’s extensive experience designing mass timber structures has produced insights into how best to protect and manage moisture on projects.

In general, moisture has three opportunities to introduce itself to mass timber:

  • Manufacturing — Exposure to rain and snow while transporting and storing mass timber elements
  • Construction — Plumbing leaks, condensation, and adverse weather like rain and snow
  • Occupancy — Enclosure lapses, plumbing failures, and the activation of fire protection systems throughout a building’s lifetime

Creating and implementing a thoughtful Moisture Management Plan can minimize the moisture exposure risk for mass timber during construction:

  • Just-In-Time Delivery — Minimize staging needs and moisture exposure risks
  • Formal Adoption — Align expectations between the contractor and design team
  • Monitor & Respond — Monitor moisture content and respond to moisture exposure
  • Understand Protection Levels — Coatings, sheathing, and acoustic mats offer low-level protection, while membranes and joint protections offer a medium-level defense

Did You Know?

Timber end-grain and joints are the most susceptible to moisture exposure.

Want to Learn More?

Contact Ian McFarlane, PE, SE to learn more about Mass Timber Moisture Management and request a copy of our Moisture Management Guidance brochure.

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