When masonry walls are too wet during freezing spells, freeze-thaw damage can occur; insulation on the inside raises this risk by making masonry colder and less able to dry. However, careful assessment can help building owners manage risk and make informed decisions about whether and how to retrofit. This process is particularly important when considering retrofits to historic buildings.
Building Science Laboratories has led and contributed to a number of projects aimed at improving the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of freeze-thaw risk assessment. Through work with Building Science Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America, as well as through our own consulting practice and research, we have developed a dataset of material property test results for various masonry materials. A subset of that data specific to bricks is available here:
- BSL Freeze-Thaw Dataset 2014-03-27 (pdf 146 KB).
As our research continues, we will be posting additional resources and materials. Here are a few that help provide some context for our work in this area:
- BSL’s Freeze Thaw Damage and Insulation Projects: A Homeowners Guide (pdf 843 KB)
- Mensinga, Straube and Schumacher, Assessing the Freeze-Thaw Resistance of Clay Brick for Interior Insulation Retrofit Projects (pdf 254 KB)