Condensation has confused and frustrated the construction industry for decades. It can occur on visible surfaces or within concealed assemblies, such as wall or roof cavities, and on just about any type of building material.
The appearance of condensation between the panes of an insulated glass (IG) unit is an indication the hermetic seal of the unit has been breached or compromised, thereby allowing outside moist air to infiltrate the air space where it condenses on the interpane surfaces of the glass. One could argue semantics, but this is the generally accepted meaning of the word “failure” as it relates to IG units. In this case, the failure is characterized by an ever-present condensation between the glass panes.
Occupants of a recently completed building reported localized peeling of wallcoverings from partition walls (primarily coinciding with the brick cladding/exterior curtain wall interface), as well as condensation on many interior surfaces during the cooling season.
Architects designing with concrete balconies, cantilevered beams, roof penetrations, parapets, canopies, spandrel glass, and other ornamental architectural features are often limited in executing these design elements because they can create thermal bridges that extend beyond the insulation systems within the building envelope.