Buildings, just like humans, need regular health check-ups. While some symptoms require only a nip and tuck, others – like structural dampness - call for closer inspection. Find out why and how Walki’s new solution is making waves in the construction industry.
“The idea came from the market," says Juho Hyytiäinen, Technical Service & Development Manager for Construction at Walki. “There was a need to avoid structural damages to the buildings caused due to dampness. It was the main reason why we started," he says.
Hyytiäinen is right. Buildings are falling prey to moisture and mould. A report by World Health Organization (WHO) states that 75-80% of all problems with building constructions are caused by moisture. Trapped moisture, either due to external intrusion or condensation from within, causes dampness, which further damages structures.
Walki’s unique solution, Walki®Active, is an answer to this very problem. It’s a dual-purpose, vapour variable membrane made from PP non-woven and a functional film layer. Simply put, it is a vapour barrier membrane that helps increase the life span of buildings.
“In many countries, plastic films or other tight insulation vapour barriers are commonly used as moisture barriers, and that triggers moisture challenges," says Hyytiäinen. Designed to adapt to the environmental and climatic changes, Walki®Active’s key feature is its variable water vapour barrier property.
“When the air humidity is low, the vapour barrier property of our laminate is high, and when the humidity is high, the barrier is low," explains Hyytiäinen. Which means during winter, when it is warmer indoors than outdoors, vapour tends to flow from inside to outside but the functional film layer acts as a vapour barrier. This ensures that virtually no vapour can flow into the structure during cold weather. During summer, on the other hand, the polyethylene-copolymer film opens to allow water vapour to flow from outside to inside.
“By using this membrane, we can ensure moisture does not condense in the insulation layers inside the buildings," Hyytiäinen points out. There is thus merit in introducing this solution early on. After all, fixing moisture problem after construction is a lot more expensive and cumbersome than correcting a drawing at the design stage. This is why Walki’s new offering promises to be a more cost effective and sustainable option.
Proper building structures ensures that there will be no moisture problems in the future.
The journey so far has been both demanding and interesting, says Hyytiäinen, since the window to develop the product was quite narrow and requirements were high.
Within a short span of time, several factors had to be considered. “We had to map the polymers that would fulfil the water vapour barrier requirements, find suitable polymer structures that will enable us to produce the product, and make minor adjustments to our machinery to make it suitable for production," lists Hyytiäinen.
But the end product has been worth the time and effort. Hyytiäinen believes Walki®Active has immense potential in the booming construction industry, which is looking for ways to improve the quality and lifespan of buildings. Having started with Germany, Walki intends to expand to other European markets with similar demands. A dose of good health is finally available.