Interest in mass timber and awareness of its advantages have exploded in recent years. But with any new construction technique comes new challenges. For mass timber, a particular concern is moisture protection during construction: there have been many examples of floor and roof panels exposed to snow or rain, resulting in significant increases in wood moisture content and the potential for slow and limited drying ability depending on the assembly. Significant wetting of mass timber during construction can lead to staining of finished surfaces, requiring sanding and refinishing, as well as expansion leading to damaged mechanical connections, fungal growth, and the possibility of structural damage. Fortunately, many solutions exist, but choosing between them can be daunting—the cost-benefit of these strategies is often questioned  and becomes a risk management choice.

This program will cover the pros and cons of different protection measures, along with a review of recent laboratory and field-testing evaluations of unprotected and protected mass timber components exposed to wetting and drying cycles. The presentation will also outline the process of how to specify a mass timber moisture management plan tailored to your specific project’s mass timber assemblies and construction schedule. Several case studies will be shared to demonstrate the diversity of potential solutions. The presentation will be informative to architects, engineers, building owners, and contractors interested in mass timber construction.