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American Clay’s Humidity Buffering Qualities Contributes to Healthy Air Quality From Bathrooms to Wine Cellars

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

The growing interest and importance of air quality continues to reinforce  our great feeling about American Clay Earth Plaster. We are confident that it is good for us and the air we breathe!  There are some interesting advantages that American Clay offers to those wanting  more consistent humidity levels and the reduction of potential mold and mildew, as well as a quieter space.

Arlington VA Clay application by Roxanne. A welcoming American Clay finish provides benefits for humidity control or "buffering".

From personal experience we have lived with clay plaster in our own home and have experience with a broad variety of applications and placement of clay.  We have American Clay plaster in a kitchen/dining area, sun room, bedroom and in two bathrooms.  We’ve enjoyed the benefits the clay provides in every space and have witnessed, felt, and breathed in it’s  ability to absorb  and release water vapor when high levels of humidity are present without a spec of mildew appearing anywhere -EVER! What might seem to be a vulnerable location is where we applied clay along the top 18″ above the tiled walls in two shower areas but absolutely no problems have resulted- instead it benefits these areas.  In contrast,  if a  painted wall experiences high levels of humidity such as in a bathroom the surface will eventually develop condensation from water vapor creating an environment favorable for mold and mildew growth.  Another more extreme experience that we had was with several large3’x6′ foot display panels we made and applied with clay plaster for an expo.  After a three day event we drove home and with the onset of a rain storm we rushed the panels into our (less than perfect) garage several years ago.  We had an unfortunate heavy rain that evening that ultimately flowed into the area where these panels were situated.The panels were trimmed  with wood for presentation purposes. After about a week we noticed a mold made its way up the wood strips  but did not touch the clay. Not a spec!  The mildew completely avoided the clay.  If ever conditions were ripe for mildew this was it.  We cleaned up the wood and put them in dry storage and years later they still have no mold on them. (I wish I had taken a photo).    The following diagrams portray how American Clay provides humidity buffering in your home or business.  (Click on diagrams to enlarge text).

Powder Room at CIEL with American Clay, Porcelina, Chesapeake Bay, Designer Talli Roberts

As noted in this last image, the more clay there is in a given space the greater the humidity buffering. We called a few customers that have applied the clay in wine cellars  as this is an excellent application choice to assist in maintaining a consistent humidity so critical in a wine cellar.

Beautiful wine cellar with American Clay walls

In reading about climate control in wine cellars, efforts must be made to maintain a certain temperature as well as humidity level.

Hey, where's the wine? Jim- applied clay in wine cellar in CIEL residence

If the humidity rises above 70% I have read that this is when the potential for mildew on the corks can develop which may create a problem for the wine.

Prevent mold on corks with proper humidity control

There are several benefits when using the American Clay plaster- it assists in maintaining consistent humidity levels, assists in preventing mold and mildew, helps purify the air which is also important, and it is beautiful!  We asked several customers how their wine cellars are doing after the applying the clay years earlier.

One of our customers shared that he has had no problems and added that he also selected the clay for the old world look. Shown here are two other wine cellars.  Most of the wine cellars include applications on the ceiling contributing to humidity buffering benefits.

Mica Village open-air lobby with American Clay. A welcoming finish for a welcoming lobby

Lastly, I  have shared this open-air  lobby area before, but is a true testament that the humidity does not bother it. The benefits of American Clay go well beyond those mentioned here; in fact they are nothing short of amazing!

Give us a call anytime to discuss your project.

Interesting article: The 10 Most Common Wine Cellar Problems and How to Overcome Them

Click here for a  humidity demonstration done by American Clay.

Hand Finished, Hand Made, Brings Details Together For Small Bathroom

Handmade tiles, cast bronze switchplate, American Clay plaster

Waiting for the details you like for a room is well worth it.  So often it is evident that a room is “rushed” with whatever the “deciding forces” gather together just to have it all finished. That “hurry  up and finish attitude” often lacks a little vision. To me, it’s worth waiting on something that you know you are going to like and ENJOY!

Take the tiles in this small bathroom for example. They were selected to compliment the clay walls and woodwork which tied together the entire vanity area in a pleasant way.

  The room has a lovely American Clay finish (Clay type:Loma, pigment- Amber Grain).

It is a joy to live with – as it breathes with the humidity beautifully.  The mirror had been positioned on a “temporary” wood brace, just waiting for it’s friendly art tile to arrive one day.

Well, the tile recently arrived, as we ordered from one of the talented artists at The ARCH.

Detail

 We simply drew a line in the clay, scraped off with a scraper the area where the tile would fit within.

Removing clay in area to be tiled. Easy!

We taped off a few areas and installed the tiles.  Any slight touch ups in the clay can be made with the original clay- just re-hydrate what came off the wall(!), or we will use some from a container saved from the original application.

So there you have it, a small area revitalized where  all the natural elements work together.

Newsletter featuring this installation: May Newsletter 2011

Available at The ARCH:

American Clay plaster, application services

Knob detail on the cabinet by Notting Hill

Switchplate in cast bronze

Soy candles, plantlife soap

“Beauty in the Glaze” Blog – more on tiles featured.