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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Videos & Photo Galleries  / Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series

Section 1 - Introduction - This video series demonstrates construction techniques and building science principles that minimize moisture-related performance issues in the building enclosure. The construction practices shown within this series provide general guidance by explaining the function of various building components, particularly how they direct bulk water away from the enclosure and how they manage heat flow, air flow, and vapor flow through the enclosure.

Technical resources are cited within the videos to provide detailed information based on a range of climate zones and building code requirements. Construction practices will vary by climate zone. These videos were produced in Northern Virginia and Maryland. They demonstrate common moisture management practices within Climate Zone 4. Although bulk water management details are generally applicable in all climates, certain construction practices shown here, particularly insulation selection/installation and water vapor management, might not be suitable for your area. Check your local building code requirements to ensure compliance in your area.

Video 1: Series Overview - The building enclosure includes the foundation, exterior walls, and the roof. It provides environmental separation between the inside of the house and the outdoors. The building enclosure must keep out rain water, isolate the building from ground water, and manage heat flow, air flow, and vapor flow.   view

Video 2: Foundation Overview - A well-designed foundation supports the house and directs water away from the structure. There are several types of foundations, including basements, crawl spaces, and slabs on grade. The foundation should be suitable for the conditions at the building site.   view

Video 3: Exterior Wall Overview - Exterior walls include various moisture management features. This video provides an overview of drainage principles and details such as water-resistive barriers and flashings. It also discusses thermal insulation, air barriers, and vapor retarders.   view

Video 4: Roof Overview - The roof has several moisture management features. Roof overhangs, flashings, gutters, and downspouts are discussed in this video.   view

Section 2 - Exterior Wall System Components - One of the key functions of exterior walls is to keep bulk water out of the enclosure. Wind-driven rain is usually the largest moisture exposure for exterior walls. This makes material selection, assembly details, and installation practices critical. This section of the series considers water-resistive barriers, flashing around windows and exterior doors, and drainage techniques for absorptive cladding products.

Video 5: Exterior House Wrap Installation - Generally, most house wrap products resist air infiltration and bulk water intrusion, while allowing water vapor to transmit through the material. This video covers house wrap fastening details, overlaps, and details at window and door openings.   view

Video 6: Window Installation - To ensure proper water drainage, flashing must be installed around the window opening. Installation of sill flashing, jamb flashing, and head flashing are addressed, along with their integration with the house wrap.   view

Video 7: Exterior Door Installation - Proper flashing at the door threshold is necessary to minimize moisture intrusion. Details are shown in this video. The importance of a roof covering over the doorway is emphasized to minimize the effects of weather, especially rain and water intrusion at the door opening.   view

Video 8: Brick Installation - Drainage Cavity Wall - Brick is a common exterior cladding material that is used throughout the country. This video emphasizes moisture management features including a drainage cavity between the brick veneer and the water resistive barrier, flashing at critical interfaces, and weep holes.   view

Video 9: Stone Veneer Installation - Internal Drainage Plane - Most manufactured stone veneer wall systems utilize a drainage plane instead of a drainage cavity. In this installation, two water-resistive barrier layers are used; the second layer has raised surface features that promote drainage. Flashing details at critical interfaces in the building enclosure are emphasized.   view

Section 3 - Building Science Principles - Understanding and managing heat flow, air flow, and vapor flow is critical to the performance of the building enclosure. This section of the series identifies how understanding building science principles can improve energy efficiency and minimize moisture issues. Residential construction practices will vary by climate zone. These videos were produced in Northern Virginia and Maryland (Climate Zone 4).

Video 10: Managing Heat Flow - The building enclosure is designed to manage three modes of heat transfer: radiation, convection, and conduction. This video discusses this important function and gives examples of materials such as radiant barriers, air barriers, and thermal insulation.   view

Video 11: Managing Air Flow - Air flow conveys both heat and moisture. This video discusses the principles of air infiltration and exfiltration and provides examples of materials that can be used in a continuous air barrier system.   view

Video 12: Managing Water Vapor Flow - This video covers the principles of managing water vapor flow, which can occur by diffusion or by air flow. The assembly of the structure, the materials used, the climate, and indoor moisture sources are discussed.   view

Section 4 - Quality Management in Residential Construction - This section of the series considers the importance of a quality management system for builders trying to produce high-performance, energy efficient homes. Quality starts before the house is built, during the design and planning phase and throughout a company's business practices. Specifications will be the basis for construction and inspection in the field. When installation or performance issues are discovered in the field, an effective quality management system provides an established course of action for immediate corrective action to ensure the contractor knows the correct way to install a given component.

Video 13: Quality Management System - A good quality management system ensures better home construction. This video describes the design phase, specifications, field inspections, and corrective actions for assuring proper installation.   view

Video 14: 'Hot Spot' Quality Training - HVAC Ductwork - 'Hot Spot' quality training uses construction mock-ups to focus on specific construction issues. This video illustrates how to correct a duct that was incorrectly installed through the exterior wall.   view

Please refer to the following two sites for more information provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center: