Mold growth on gypsum wallboard and accumulated water at the base of a wall typically are indicators of water infiltration issues that require localized repairs of a building envelope’s weather resistant barrier system. However, some commercial and multi-family residential buildings can experience these symptoms during cold weather months during periods of little precipitation. If the walls of your building were constructed using cold formed steel studs and a masonry veneer, condensation of water vapor can occur with the wall construction if inadequate insulation was provided outside of the wall sheathing, between the masonry veneer and the sheathing. The moisture within the wall construction condenses on the cold steel studs during ambient conditions when the exterior flanges of the steel studs reach the dew point. The condition of these steel studs is important as they provide lateral support for the exterior veneer. Corroded studs and fasteners reduce the capacity of the ties connecting the veneer to the studs. During a high wind event, the exterior walls are subject to negative lateral pressures that could pull the exterior veneer away from the wall, resulting in a catastrophic collapse of the veneer and possibly extensive interior damage.
Providing insulation on the exterior of the steel stud framing is the most appropriate way to reduce the slope of the temperature drop through the wall and minimize the chances of the steel studs reaching dew point temperatures. Installing an Exterior Insulating Finish System (EIFS) on top of the existing veneer can accomplish this. Our professionals at Becht Engineering BT, Inc. have extensive experience with this and can guide you through the process. Contact one of our specialists today at 1-800-772-7991 to assist you with your condensation issues.