Moisture problems often begin in the unheated areas of your house, such as the basement or the attic. These non-climate-controlled areas often have higher humidity, which can then condense and cause water damage and mold. The basement and attic can affect each other as well, sometimes compounding into a much larger moisture problem.
A roof deck that's constantly damp or, worse, dripping with condensation is a sign that something has gone very wrong with your roof system. Diagnosing and fixing the root cause of the condensation, though, may require professional skills. Here are three things your damp roof deck could be trying to tell you.
1. Your Basement Has Too Much Moisture
Do you have a hygrometer in your home? If not, you could miss the clues that your entire house is way too humid. Excessive humidity can often be caused by a damp basement, which could be due to poor drainage around your house, a lack of waterproofing, or an undetected slab leak.
If your roof deck is chronically wet, this means the attic has more moisture in it than can be carried away quickly by the ventilation system. In some cases, that's because the basement is constantly feeding moist air up through the walls.
Although condensation can readily gather on the roof deck, meaning you may notice it there first, high humidity can cause issues around the house as well. For example, humid air can encourage termite infestation, accelerate wood deterioration, and make your home a great environment for uncontrollable mold growth.
2. Your Roof Ventilation Needs to Improve
Sometimes the reason your roof vents can't handle the humidity is that they're blocked, too small, or otherwise inadequate. You can easily check for vent blockages yourself; if the gable vents are a solid mass of cobwebs and the soffit vents are covered with bird nests, you may need to clean up a bit.
If physical blockage isn't the issue, your vents may just be too small or functioning incorrectly. Have your roofing contractor check for ventilation problems. If the vents are placed incorrectly or are unbalanced, air may simply flow in through one section of ridge vent and then out again (only ventilating the very top of the attic) rather than pulling air in through the soffit vents.
3. Your Attic Insulation Isn't the Best
Attic insulation is supposed to keep heated and cooled air from transferring into the attic from your living space. That's not just so you'll save energy on heating bills. It's also to keep your roof healthy. Keeping the underside of your roof closer to outside temperatures reduces the chances of condensation.
So if your roof is having a condensation problem, check the efficacy of your attic insulation. First check that it hasn't been chewed up by pests or gotten wet from a roof leak, either of which can decrease insulation value. You should also consider adding an extra layer of insulation.
Next check for attic bypasses (holes in the attic floor where air can enter from the rooms below). Many can be filled with spray foam insulation, but some (such as the gaps around a furnace flue) require metal flashing instead because of the fire hazard.
These are just three possible factors when your roof deck is experiencing condensation problems. Just because you find one of them doesn't mean you should stop looking for the others. For example, wet attic insulation can be a cause of roof problems, but it can also be a result of condensation caused by a damp basement.
Be sure to get a thorough mold inspection any time you find condensation in your attic since the two often go hand in hand. Whether you end up needing a full mold cleanup and restoration or whether you just need water damage cleanup in your basement and attic, get in touch with A Nicer Reflection Cleaning & Restoration Inc. today.