Although house wall frosting is most common in old buildings, it can also happen in new buildings if mistakes are made during the construction phase. The result of neglect may be the appearance of fungi and mold on the walls, as well as damage to plasters and deterioration of walls. How to avoid this problem.
What could be the causes of wall freezing at home?
Most often, freezing of house walls concerns buildings that have not been properly insulated and protected against moisture and heat loss. The freezing process is closely related to the penetration of moisture inside the walls and their simultaneous cooling down when the temperature drops – such situations should not occur in a properly insulated building.
The escape of heat to the outside and the penetration of water vapor into the interior of the building usually occurs as a result of improper insulation of places exposed to the formation of thermal bridges, e.g. around windows and doors.
Due to the strict regulations regarding the proper protection of buildings against the formation of thermal bridges, the problem of wall freezing concerns mainly older houses, e.g. from the 1960s, when materials with increased absorbency were used.
Nowadays, each new building must meet the requirements of insulation standards, and special materials are used to meet them – both with increased thermal insulation and with vapor barrier properties. The freezing of walls in such houses may therefore only indicate errors at the stage of designing or erecting the building.
What is wall freezing?
The freezing process of the walls begins with their dampness. It is a natural phenomenon resulting, for example, from the porosity of the wall. However, in a properly erected structure, the water vapor accumulated in the walls should condense to the outside due to the difference in temperature and pressure inside and outside the building. Unfortunately, in places with poor insulation, the inside of the walls cools down too quickly. This causes water vapor to penetrate inside, which condenses and freezes as soon as the outside temperature drops below freezing.
As we have already mentioned, freezing of walls in a new house can only be caused by improper insulation of the building, especially in places exposed to thermal bridges. However, errors and shortcomings in this area do occur quite often. So let’s be able to recognize the problem in order to eliminate it in time.
The effects of frost on the walls of the house
The freezing of walls in a new house is similar to that in old buildings, although more serious effects may only become apparent after several seasons. Therefore, it is important to recognize it early.
The most common symptoms of the problem are the following:
The main problem is the freezing of the walls and the moisture that penetrates the walls and penetrates inside. Over time, this can lead to serious degradation of the building – peeling of all paint, cracks in the plaster, and even damage to structural elements as a result of the bursting of water vapor accumulated in them during frosts. Moisture also negatively affects the microclimate in the house. One of the most serious effects of wall freezing is a fungus that threatens the health of the household members and is very difficult to remove.
Attention warming / insulating the house?
Najlepszym sposobem na uniknięcie problemu z zawilgoceniem i przemarzaniem murów jest odpowiednie zaizolowanie budynku. W szczególności należy zwrócić uwagę na kilka miejsc krytycznych w domu, które są narażone najbardziej na powstawania mostków termicznych.
Wall freezing in the corners
Corners, i.e. places where walls join, are exceptionally exposed to the formation of thermal bridges, for example due to the large external surface which heat can escape. Therefore, it is important, first of all, to properly protect the gaps at the contact point of thermal insulation materials.
Freezing of walls in the basement
The cover made of the ground, unfortunately, does not protect the basement against cold or moisture. In order to avoid the problem of freezing of the walls, they should be lined with a layer of waterproofing, either made of bituminous or polymer mass, or made of several layers of heat-sealable roofing felt. Additionally, thermal insulation boards, e.g. made of foundation polystyrene, can be used. It is also worth protecting the floor.
Freezing of walls in the loft
The problem of freezing walls in new homes is most often manifested by the windows. There is always some heat loss at the periphery of the window openings, but with appropriate safeguards, it can be minimized. It is mainly about the correct installation of windows and surrounding the window frame with polyurethane foam and tapes – vapor-permeable from the outside and vapor-tight from the inside. It is also worth remembering about the insulation of the lintel and window sills.
House insulation from the outside
Freezing of external walls is the most common phenomenon, especially if the walls are made of absorbent material (e.g. brick, silicate blocks or cellular concrete) and are not protected by anything. So it is best to cover it from the outside with a layer of insulation – then the moisture will be absorbed by polystyrene or mineral wool and the plaster covering them, and not the wall itself. Remember to work when the walls are completely dry. It is also important to fill gaps carefully – especially around windows and doors, in corners and at the roof.
House insulation from the inside
Freezing of walls inside the house should not occur if the building is insulated from the outside. Sometimes, however, it is not possible to make external insulation, then it is worth insulating the walls from the inside. However, it must be taken into account that the effect will be a reduction in the area of the rooms. Internal insulation can be made of, for example, mineral wool or cellular concrete.