Much of the time and effort put into making a home air and heat tight may be misguided because the exterior shells of a home need to be moisture, heat and pressure adaptable. The forces of the three states of water - a liquid, a solid and a gas are naturally destructive to any barrier system. Sunlight, precipitation, humidity, air flow and pressure all act on any shell. The system must adapt to the changes in moisture, humidity pressure, and temperature.
The second factor in addition to weather forces is biological. Mold, fungus and insects will also exploit conducive conditions in any wall assembly. Many construction materials are wood composites produced from other than old growth vertical grain heartwood. Fungus and mold spores, their colonies as well as pollen, insect frass and nests will all compromise a wall assembly.
Manufacturers of construction products are primarily concerned with sales volume and market position and building scientists don't have a lot of bloody hands experience repairing moisture rot. The concept of building resistant and adaptive systems effectively rarely passes through the design, the manufacturer distribution system, installation, code - inspection steps.
How might all the homes built with OSB, a WRB, vinyl windows, wood trim and a non old growth vertical grain siding product be retrofit in an effective and economical retrofit? Are the new shell systems going to work? Can existing homes be retrofit when they fail?
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