Moisture-related problems in construction are common and lead to a wide range of consequences, from decreased drying times to cosmetic flaws to adverse health effects. For this reason, contractors must create and implement moisture management strategies that include the use of construction drying services if builders are not in an environment that’s conducive to drywall and painting applications. By being aware of the effects of moisture on drywall and paint, as well as the ideal conditions to maintain throughout the installation process, you’ll prevent unnecessary delays and expenses even when ambient conditions are not optimal.
How Humidity Impacts Drywall and Paint
Temperatures, humidity, and air movement directly affect how long it takes for drywall and paint to dry. The longer it takes the material to dry, the more vulnerable it is to failure, mold growth, cracking, and more. In regards to painting, high relative humidity levels, poor ventilation, and low temperatures slow the evaporation of water in the paint, which could lead to sagging and bubbling. When ambient or surface temperatures are too warm, the paint may dry too fast and crack, particularly if there is too much air movement. Failing to maintain the conditions that the manufacturer recommends will also lead to variations in paint’s color, texture, and sheen.
If relative humidity levels are too high when installing drywall, the water in the compound will not evaporate fast enough. When the compound doesn’t dry adequately before the next application, the material may develop starved joints. As a result, the compound will shrink along the joint seams. Excess humidity during drywall installation may also lead to screw depressions if the adjacent paper swells and the core softens. Just as excess humidity has negative effects on drywall, so can conditions that are too dry or too warm. When the drywall compound dries too quickly, cracks may form along the edge of the tape. Conversely, prolonged drying due to high relative humidity levels can result in a poor bond, cracking, or localized delaminating. One of the greater threats of high relative humidity levels, inadequate temperatures, and poor ventilation is the potential for mold, which poses a risk to the health of a building’s occupants.
The Ideal Environmental Conditions for Drywall and Paint
The recommended temperatures for drywall and paint vary by manufacturer and the type of material in question. In general, the best temperature before, during, and 48-hours after the final drywall compound application is 55°F. The temperature should not fall below 50°F or exceed 95°F.
Common industry standards for painting applications include temperatures of 77°F and relative humidity levels of 50 percent. It is also important to consider the dew point and substrate temperatures. The drying of wet paint significantly slows when ambient temperatures are 60°F or below, however, some acrylic paints dry well in temperatures as low as 45°F. Because the ideal temperatures and relative humidity levels vary by paint type, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Construction Drying Services and Indirect-Fired Heat
When painting or installing drywall in closed spaces, an HVAC system will not dry the materials or remove excess moisture from the air adequately. Moreover, the use of an HVAC system for construction drying purposes results in energy losses and unnecessary wear that could void its warranty. The best approach is to use a construction drying contractor that provides temporary humidity control solutions that maintain constant and uniform conditions. For drywall and painting applications, it is best to use heaters that do not introduce moisture. For this reason, the best construction drying services use indirect-fired heat instead of direct-fired heat. The air in indirect-fired heaters never contacts the enclosed flame within the unit, so the warm air is always dry and clean.
Failing to maintain the ideal environmental conditions when painting or installing drywall can lead to problems that are more expensive and difficult to repair than the original work performed. Rather than take a risk with the weather, work with Polygon to develop a cost-effective moisture management solution that includes the use of indirect-fired heat to keep your crew productive, costs low, and clients happy.
[Shister via CC License 2.0]