Timberland Exteriors Blog

Leaking roof due to improper insulation or ventilation

Posted by Paul Trautmann on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 @ 08:41 PM

Attic Frost, improper vented roof
  One of the most common calls a roofing company takes when the temperatures change rapidly in the spring is..."Help - my roof is leaking."  

  Condensation that had developed in the attic suddenly melts and finds its way into the home.   This is a most often the condition of improper  ventilation or improper insulation.
 Most homeowners are not aware of any attic condensation problems until an obvious issue presents itself.  Attics are usually an unpleasant area of the home to enter since they are suffocating with heat in summer and freezing cold in winter.  For this reason homeowners usually do not check the attic space of their home as often as they should.

Attic Insulation and Ventilation    Attic insulation and ventilation

The first indication of possible attic condensation or insulation problems might be areas of the roof which are bare soon after a snowfall.  These bare patches probably indicate heat is escaping from the heated rooms below into the attic space.   Icicles forming on roof edges are another sign of heat loss and condensation.  There are a few possible reasons for this problem including improper insulation installation and inadequate ventilation.

Some common areas where heated air escapes into attic spaces is around ceiling fans, vent pipes and lighting fixtures.  It is important to make sure these penetrations are always sealed properly.  Bathroom or kitchen fans should never vent directly into attic spaces as this will lead to extreme moisture problems which can damage insulation and structures within the attic.

Once an attic has been properly insulated and vented, the next concern is to reduce the amount of moisture in the living space of the home.  The moist air from clothes dryers should always be vented to the outside, even in winter when the warm humid air might help reduce heating costs.  Using a humidifier is usually not necessary in a home which is well insulated and properly weatherized.  Unless it is is properly maintained, harmful bacteria may find the moist environment of the humidifier a perfect breeding ground and air quality of the home can be compromised.  

Kerosene or gas heaters can be a source of large amounts of water vapor if they are not vented outside.  The extra expense of purchasing a vented heater is a wise investment considering a significant reduction in air quality problems.  If you do run a space heater which is not vented you should open a nearby window to allow moisture to escape.  Opening a window would also allow heat to escape and cool the room, thereby canceling out any heat given off by the heater.

Attic ventilation is important to prevent condensation and the problems resulting from it.  Most attics need to allow at least one vent for 300 square feet of ceiling area, and cathedral ceilings require twice that amount for effective ventilation.

If there are noticeable bare roof patches, icicles or ice dams, the most likely cause is problems with insulation and the resulting condensation.  The average homeowner does not have the knowledge to address these problems.  In this case hiring a professional to find and repair leaks allowing air to enter the attic from the heated and possibly moist rooms below is probably wise.
If you are experiencing water damage to your ceilings and suspect that your roof may be leaking or your attic may not be vented or insulated correctly call the experts at Timberland Exteriors for a free attic evaluation at 651-439-1760

Tags: roofing attic condendation, leaking roof

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