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Re: [TowerTalk] AN Wireless tower

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] AN Wireless tower
From: David Gilbert <>
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 10:34:26 -0700
List-post: <">>

No ... you don't get to make incorrect statements and then try to close the door behind you, especially when you started this discussion by making the inane comment that if moisture could penetrate concrete reservoir dams wouldn't be practical.

Possibly some of your dissent comes from my use of the term "porosity" when I should have used the term "permeability", and for that I apologize, but the net effect is the same .... moisture will indeed easily move through solid concrete in the total absence of microcracks. It's a physical result of spaces left by the water that was in the original pour that was either consumed in the curing reaction or escaped through drying. You can easily Google the phrase "moisture permeability of concrete" to see countless URLs on the subject. The original comment that started this thread related to whether or not moisture will reach a steel base embedded in a solid block of concrete devoid of cracks (micro or otherwise), and the absolute fact is that it invariably will.

And section R319.1 of the IRC explains clearly describes that treated wood is required for any wood in contact with concrete over ground. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what kind of moisture barrier is present on the exterior walls or how well the exterior walls are sealed to the slab ... it's a function of moisture permeating the slab from the ground below and condensing at the interface between the concrete and the wood.

Lastly, the concrete blocks I placed in water were saturated with it within a period of several minutes, enough so that I was able to use a dry diamond blade as a wet saw. The concrete was wet throughout ... not just at the surface.

Your P.E. credentials notwithstanding, anyone on this reflector trying to understand the physics of their tower construction would be wise to discount your comments, but at least we have your assurance that you won't be making any more of them.

Dave   AB7E

On 9/17/2012 7:24 AM, henry.lonberg wrote:


My licenses are as a civil and structural engineer if you are questioning my 
credentials to discuss this matter. I have been practicing my profession for 
over 43 years. I can supply you a list of states, (19) that I am licensed to 
practice in, off the list.

Interior or exterior wall doesn't matter the wall covering seals the moisture 
in for practical puproses and the same argument exists for either interior or 
exterior walls.

Your chunk of concrete being a small isolated piece will indeed absorb surface 
water  and having all surfaces immersed it will weigh more. It does not 
represent a foundation of size with only one side exposed to the moisture 
source. My argument is not that moisure will intrude into concrete but the 
method of this intrusion and your concept of porosity that is all. The stud 
wall example has nothing to do with the mechanism of water intrusion into 

This is the end of my input on this topic as I said previously this discussion 
in not germane to towers and I have completed my input, back to your regularly 
scheduled programming.


Lonberg Design Group, Ltd.

H. Lonberg, P.E.,S.E.


----- Original Message -----

From: "David Gilbert" <>
To: "KR7X" <>
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2012 10:01:30 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] AN Wireless tower

So in a nutshell moisture passes through concrete, right??  And if you
don't think that concrete doesn't absorb moisture in the absence of
significant microcracks, just
drop a chunk of it in a container of water for a short while and see
what happens.  Hint:  lots of bubbles and it's heavier when you take it
out than it was when you put it in.  How do I know this?  I've done it
when I needed to cut pieces of concrete and didn't have a wet saw.  It
works very well.

Regarding the treated wood against concrete slabs.  Code requires that
for all interior walls as well, not just the exterior ones, and it
requires it for the reasons I stated.

Just curious ... what discipline is your P.E. for anyway?

Dave   AB7E

On 9/16/2012 9:30 PM, KR7X wrote:

The comment was meant to make you think about what you purport to say is
true when it is not, in the context you use.

Concrete does indeed have pores and they are very small in relationship to
the volume of the sample you consider and do not necessarily line up to form
a conduit for moisture intrusion. Concrete is also alkaline which tends to
inhibit acidic attack and sulfate ion corrosion. The full reason that there
is a requirement for the spacing of the reinforcement is to help with the
moisture intrusion from micro cracking which takes place when the concrete
cures and resists loads. This is also the reason that the code clear cover
differs from concrete cast against soil (3"), cast in form exposed to
atmosphere (2"), and cast in form and indoor exposure or top of slab
(varying from 1 1/2" to 1" depending on bar size).

The moisture does not travel through pores, it will travel through micro
cracks. These cover  values were determined over the years by examining the
in place behavior of real work concrete in various climates, locations, and
types of structures or purposes. Curious thing about concrete is for it to
work as a design intends it has to crack (very small and not always in
organized pattern), this means that the load is being resisted and the
forces ( stresses) are be resisted. It is these cracks that the cover
requirements are meant to mitigate so that free air and moisture do not
reach the reinforcing which would tend to corrode. When the bars corrode
they swell and further crack the concrete exposing more and more surface to
the free air and moisture and so on.

Not pores (or porosity as you allude to).

Your treated wood example is also not quite accurate, treated wood for floor
plates is due to the fact that the inside of stud walls have varying
humidity due to the moisture content of the wood framing members when it is
originally constructed. The inside wall covering and the more modern used of
a vapor barrier (TyWrap) on the outside over the base exterior siding under
the outside finish effectively seal the wall cavity and there is (due to
temperature differentials) a tendency for the moisture to collect at the
base of the wall. The treated plate  helps the wall maintain is integrity at
the base by resisting rot (dry and otherwise) and/or  softening so the wall
does not pull away from the required hold down anchors or bolts when loaded

I see that you have your beliefs and concepts about why things are required
and I have mine and it is probably best that this discussion be taken off
this reflector so a more tower specific topic can be addressed.

Lonberg Design Group, Inc.
H. Lonberg, P.E.,S.E.

-----Original Message-----
From: TowerTalk [] On Behalf Of David
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2012 8:17 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] AN Wireless tower

That's kind of a silly extrapolation, don't you think?  We're talking
"moisture" here, not volumes of water.  What was the point of that
comment???  As a P.E., do you seriously think that concrete is indeed not
porous to moisture?  Why do you think that all building codes require
treated wood for wood that is in permanent contact with concrete floors
(i.e., plates at the bottom of frame walls)??  In case someone spills water
on the floor?  Nope ... it's because moisture can propagate through a
concrete slab from the ground beneath it.

Dave   AB7E

On 9/16/2012 6:45 PM, KR7X wrote:
In that case you had better tell all those concrete dams that have
been built that they should not be holding back those reservoirs as they
Lonberg Design Group, Ltd.
H. Lonberg, P.E.,S.E.

-----Original Message-----
From: TowerTalk [] On Behalf Of
David Gilbert
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2012 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] AN Wireless tower

Sorry, but that's an old wives tale.  Concrete itself is porous as
hell and will pass moisture almost as easily as any cinder block.
There is no way on this earth that concrete will keep moisture away
from the iron, but the alkalinity of the concrete will indeed keep the
iron from rusting and that's why our bridges hold together and our towers
don't fall over.
Dave   AB7E

p.s.  The specs for my tower called for 16 yards of concrete (9' by 9'
by 5' deep), but it was impossible to carve a hole with straight sides
into this rocky hillside so I ended up with over 20 yards myself.

On 9/16/2012 4:02 PM, Edwin Karl wrote:
Do NOT use cinder blocks or red brick to support iron for the pour
Use concrete material, block pieces, curb stop etc. The purpose is to
keep moisture away from the iron. Cinder and red brick pass the
moisture through.
At least that's what we were told in the before time when I worked as
an iron worker.
I have an HD-90, it's a tough tower. The base got away from me and we
used 22 yds of concrete. It ain't going nowhere.

ed K0KL


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