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GBlist: 'Hard'board siding: green or blue
What's the most important criterion for endorsing any
'green building practice'? Shouldn't it be that it doesn't
make people 'blue' (sick) ? (Or, contribute to the malaise
otherwise caused?) I am speaking not just for senstive adults
like myself, but also for infants, who are generally more
vulnerable, but unable to utter the complaint:
I am "sick _only_ at home".
Along this line, I wish to address hardboard siding and ask a
few questions of people who are knowledgable about it, or think
it is a viable green building product.
Up to now, we have heard mostly about the warping of hardboard
sidings. But, warping often occurs in the context of moisture
retention during manufacturing/storage/installation or service life;
moisture causes mold growth and mildew, in wood with low tannin
My questions: Is composite wood more likely to absorb moisture than
conventional wood boards of the same fibre species? Or, is it so only
when not properly installed, painted and caulked? Is it more likely to
exude fine wood dust, which can become nutrients for mold growth?
What mold species could have existed in the wood chips, and survived
the heat treated bonding processing, which the manufacturer told me
could but rarely do occur ? Does on-going construction in the
development contribute to mold problem in homes downwind.
My case in point is:
1. A film of fine black dust is seen to cover the painted
surface of hardboard siding, most noticeable on laps high
toward the eaves. Pieces torn from a section of garage
wall revealed white spots of mold colonies, on felt paper (none
visible on the back side of the boards) close to an unpainted
seam of lap ends, covered by a trim board with two bead lines
of caulk applied on its back. Trace odors of either the dust or
the mold can be detected in the house, on humid and hot days.
I got sick, in a car while taking some torn pieces to another
location for inspection (away from coincidental factors).
2. The house has some moisture and ventilation problems:
The under-the-eaves vent holes are mostly missing on the bedrooms
side of the 2-story home, and on the clearstory side, the between-
joist conduits (laid with batt insulation) have holes facing
the attic blocked by blown insulation. There is standing water
in the crawlspace in rainy months. (We are beginning to address
these problems, now that the causes of my symptoms of esophageal &
respirartory irritation are becoming clearer.)
If you have any experience or information, of general interest or
helpful to this case, I and I am sure others would appreciate it.
---------------- On a lighter side: ----------------------------------
A friend once told me: "Grapes may be three gifts in one -- from God:
juice to drink, seed for oil, and skin for tannin.
Appreciating this gift, wine makers have worked for centuries
to perfect their craft.
Where have you been, you wise men (and women) in building tech land ?
Thanks for reading/responding to this msg. John Yio
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