Roof Leaks vs Attic Condensation Problems
Waukesha Homeowners Panicking over Roof Leaks, but it’s Actually Attic Condensation
Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of panicked homeowners around Waukesha reaching out to us about roof leaks. As we’ve been performing inspections over the past few months, we’ve been finding that this cause of concern is almost always an attic condensation issue – not an actual roof leak.
This is good news and bad news.
Just because you don’t have a noticeable and costly roof leak, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
In fact, attic condensation is one of the top winter roofing problems we see in the Waukesha area, and you should fix it ASAP before it causes significant damage.
Signs of Attic Condensation:
Unlike roof leaks, attic condensation can take considerable time to recognize & by that time the condensation could already be creating mold, rotting your wood frames and causing moisture to seep through & stain your ceiling.
Some other signs of attic condensation can include:
- Dampness in the home
- Roof ice dams
- Ceiling moisture stains
- Damp or wet attic insulation
- Moisture or frost on the roof’s sheathing
- Damaged roof sheathing
- Water marks on the attic floor
- Rotting wood frames
- Sagging roof
Fortunately, fixing attic condensation problems early costs less than fixing structural roof damage.
How Attic Condensation Happens:
In Wisconsin, attic condensation typically occurs during the winter/early spring months. Because cold air holds less moisture, excess moisture accumulates & condenses in your attic. This condensation/frost primarily builds on the underside of your roof’s deck.
Attic condensation happens when warm, moist air from the main living area rises into the attic. When that moist, warm air hits the cold underside of your roof’s deck, condensation is created.
When temperatures are very cold this condensations forms as frost; when temperatures start to warm up, the frost turns back into liquid condensation, which can start to cause things like mold, rotting, odor and ceiling leaks.
How to Fix it:
Homeowners often make the mistake of thinking that adding more attic insulation will solve the issue; this is not the case. Simply adding more insulation will actually increase the potential for attic frost/condensation problems.
Before adding any insulation, you’ll want to make sure proper air sealing is performed in attic bypasses, soffits, vents and fans.
Proper air sealing will minimize the heat & moisture that seeps into your attic when your furnace, dryer, oven, shower, etc. is running.
How to Prevent it:
- Make sure your attic bypasses are properly sealed
- Make sure your exhaust fans are vented outside (not into the attic)
- Make sure your HVAC system is balanced
- If your heating ducts run straight into your attic, make sure the ducts are properly insulated