When most people think of moisture on their roof they understandably look for leaks, but there is another cause for moisture that most homeowners often do not consider, condensation. This can occur when hot or warm air gets pushed up through the home and then meets with the cooler air in the structure of the roof and beyond to the even colder outside air. If this cooling happens rapidly, then moisture can form and then becomes condensation on the materials surrounding the roof structure. This condensation can freeze during winter creating layers of ice on the inner roof membrane. When the weather begins to warm again, this ice melts, creating damage to the structure.
Areas of extreme vulnerability to this problem are if your roof assembly has foil insulation covering the batting insulation wrapping your support beams because this is an easy place for the moisture to get trapped between the layers of foil and the plywood. Homes that are located in humid climates or near bodies of water tend to have condensation more than homes in drier climates.
What are the signs to look for with condensation?
- Leaks that ONLY occur in warm weather (not when it rains).
- Warped, damaged, or wet insulation below the roof membrane.
- Visible signs of water near solid mechanical units which can’t create leaks themselves.
- Sound of ice cracking during the winter if you walk on your roof. (This is a clear indication of the formation of ice under the membrane of the roof.
- Water that drips during the day when the sun is heating the roof.
How to fix condensation?
This can be a hard problem to identify without knowing what to look for and is usually best left to a professional roofing company to locate and diagnose. There are a few ways a professional roofer can determine if condensation is the issue. It may be necessary to use thermographic imaging to help pinpoint where the source of the water is coming from or to perform a roof cut.
If condensation is the culprit, there could be various degrees of damage possible to your roof system, anywhere from a small repair to a complete replacement.
To protect your home from the damage caused by condensation, it is recommended to have your roof inspected by a professional roofing contractor every 2 to 3 years. Call us today at 1-800-673-3034 to schedule your FREE roof inspection for your Columbia, MD home today!