The appearance of water stains on ceilings and walls usually leads to assumptions of a leaky roof. While a leaky roof may indeed be the problem, there could be another culprit causing the issue: condensation in the roof space. Under the right conditions, roof condensation can cause many of the same problems normally attributed to leaks. In some cases, the damages caused by roof condensation can be worse than a roof leak.
What is Roof Condensation?
Roof condensation is condensation that occurs on the underside of a building’s roof, or on structures located within the attic or crawlspace. It is no different than the condensation you might see appear on glass on a hot, summer day.
Interestingly enough, roof condensation in winter is responsible for more interior water damage than most homeowners realize. We tend to see more instances during this time of year in comparison to roof condensation in summer – as warm air escapes into cooler roof spaces. Your house may be experiencing roof condensation if you’ve started noticing water spots.
What Causes Condensation in Roof Space?
Condensation is the result of a reaction that occurs when air cools. It always occurs the same way, whether you’re talking metal roof condensation, flat roof condensation, or condensation problems from pitched asphalt roofs.
In your home, heat from the lower floors rise through the house and into the attic or crawlspace. That warm air contains moisture. If the air is trapped, roof condensation will occur when the temperature of that air cools enough to release some of its moisture as water droplets.
Where Does Roof Condensation Occur?
Roof condensation can occur anywhere in an attic or crawlspace. It can form on rafters, around windows, on floor joists, around bathroom vents, and between attic insulation and the ceiling underneath.
If you were to notice water spots around your bathroom exhaust fan, there could be condensation forming on the duct that carries warm air through the attic space and to the outdoors. You could have condensation forming on roof rafters, then running down those rafters and collecting near the floor. You would see water spots along the corners of the ceiling in such a case.
Depending on where the roof condensation is occurring, you might not even realize it’s happening. Sometimes roof condensation is enough to be a problem, but not bad enough to observe without going into the attic and inspecting.
What Are the Signs of Roof Condensation?
The signs of roof condensation are similar to what you might expect from a roof leak. Look for water stains on the ceilings of rooms in the upper level of the home. If condensation is bad enough, you may also notice dripping. Water can drip from light fixtures, vents, skylights, and even saturated areas of the ceiling. Other less obvious signs of roof condensation include moist areas on the walls and doors that don’t close properly.
What Are Common Roof Condensation Problems?
Roof condensation is not something to be taken lightly. Even a little water can do significant damage to drywall, timbers, insulation, and electrical systems. Some of the more common problems include:
– These can be roof timbers, floor joists, or even wall timbers. Consistent condensation can saturate wood and lead to rot.
Mold and Mildew
– Condensation can lead to the growth of mold and mildew that, once entrenched, can be very difficult to get rid of. Mold and mildew can also make the occupants of the house sick.
– If water produced by roof condensation gets into light fixtures or electrical sockets, it can cause big problems.
– Any amount of water produced by roof condensation can damage drywall if it is allowed to pool or run down interior walls. It can destroy fiberglass insulation as well.
What Are Some Roof Condensation Solutions?
The best solutions are found in preventing roof condensation from ever happening. This is accomplished through a combination of proper roof venting and insulation. Roof venting allows warm air to escape before condensation can occur. Adequate insulation prevents extremely warm air from reaching the attic or crawlspace.
Once roof condensation is identified, mitigation procedures must be implemented. The affected area must be properly ventilated, dried out, and then modified to prevent future problems. Modifications include new roof vents and better insulation. Any mold or mildew observed in the space should also be treated right away.
If you’ve noticed water spots or leaks anywhere in your house, don’t assume your roof is leaking. It may be a problem of condensation. Contact A & J Reliable, Inc. so our certified roofers can come out and take a look. If there’s anything wrong with your roof, we’ll get it fixed.