Measuring the performance of building systems exposed to moisture is difficult. Existing tests examine products under artificially created, static conditions. Building systems experience extremely dynamic conditions where steady-state conditions are rarely achieved.
In the absence of specific tests for the broad category of construction products, the industry uses ASTM C473 and D3273 for this purpose. ASTM C473 measures water absorption of panels as a percentage of weight. ASTM D3273 measures resistance to mold growth on the surface of interior coatings when exposed to a hot and humid environment. These test results do not represent definitive installed performance in specific project conditions, but do provide indicative measures of performance.
USG is actively working with academic and industry testing leaders to develop a new ASTM test methods specifically for building materials such as wallboard and acoustical ceiling tiles.
The key to minimizing mold growth is controlling moisture. Moisture exposure can occur during all phases of the construction process and through the building life cycle from roof, wall and pipe leaks, gross water penetration of the façade, vapor diffusion and condensation, and capillary rise.
All products become susceptible to mold growth under unfavorable conditions. However, proper management of moisture in the building and selecting products that are appropriate for the application conditions are the building owner’s most effective means of preventing moisture and mold damage.
Avoiding leaks and preventing excessive accumulation of moisture requires a systems approach to the design and construction of all building elements. USG provides comprehensive information regarding best practices to reduce the risk of moisture damage. USG is the leader in offering products and systems that address the full spectrum of performance needs for specific applications.