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Project InspirationCMU 101

Moisture control

5 keys to success

Controlling moisture in any concrete structure requires thoughtful design, quality materials, and competent assembly. Fortunately, concrete masonry is a very mature building material and one that has benefited from a continuing level of improvement and innovation over the past many decades, and masonry technology today offers a very favourable building solution for controlling and minimizing the effects of moisture.

“Moisture”, in any form, includes anything higher than zero percent humidity. Rather than only thinking about “driving rain” conditions, it is important to understand that moisture is a constant element in the environment, and a complete or holistic strategy for moisture management will ensure a successful masonry project, long into the future.


Integral Water Repellent (IWR) and Post Applied Water Repellent. When it comes to moisture protection, you can specify an IWR block and a pre-blended IWR mortar. The IWR increases resistance to wind-driven rain and moisture penetration, and reduces efflorescence. In addition to IWR, you may wish to specify a Post-Applied Water Repellent, which is particularly effective at bringing out the best visual impact of ground face CMU, and allows facilities teams to more easily maintain the long-term performance of CMU under harsh weather conditions. Post-applied coatings are prevalent, but some perform better than others. Integral Graffiti Repellent is also commonly used. More information is available in the Specifications section of this website. 

Properly Tooled Mortar Joints.
(“thumb print hard” and “full face shell deep”).


Properly Caulked Openings and Penetrations.
(26′ o.c. max. and 1/2 at corners). 


Adequate Use and Location of Control Joints.


Proper Detailing and Cap Flashing at Top-of-Wall and Parapet Conditions. 

For More information,

see the  specifications section of this website. 

New for REVIT® Users:

Masonry design in REVIT® is easier than ever before!

There is a fantastic new plug-in, called MasonryiQ™, which allows you to load colour and texture options for concrete masonry into a design palette that is project-specific, unleashing you to create unique wall types and calculated blends, using ratios and parameters to better express your ideas. The plug-in also offers intelligent views of corner conditions, section cuts, window and door openings, as well as control joints and bond beams. You will be amazed at how easy it is to iterate your design ideas, inside of REVIT®, and with built-in BIM intelligence like never before.

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