During a Minnesota winter, outside temperatures can quickly vacillate between extreme cold and above freezing. These shifting temperatures create an opportunity for water vapor in the air to become water droplets in your ceiling. Condensation can often look just like a roof leak, and can cause just as much damage. Let’s take a look at how to know if you have condensation in your roof and what All Elements can do to help.
What Causes Condensation In Your Roof?
Drastic temperature changes are the main cause of condensation buildup in your roof. Condensation typically occurs when warm air migrates or is directed into the attic or roof cavity from living spaces below, carrying water vapor with it. Then, when the temperature drops to extreme lows, the moisture in the air freezes when it hits cold surfaces. Once the temperature rises above freezing, that frozen moisture melts and makes its way into your home through the ceiling, which is why condensation can often look like the roof is leaking.
Damage Condensation Can Cause
Like a roof leak, water from condensation can damage ceilings and walls, causing paint to peel and wood to warp and rot. It can also encourage the growth of mold and mildew, and wet wood can attract pests. Left unchecked, condensation can eventually reach wooden rafters and trusses, damaging the structural integrity of your roof. This could cause sagging, rotting, or even a total roof collapse.
How to Know You Have Condensation in Your Roof
If you have water dripping from the ceiling, it can be hard to know if it is condensation or a roof leak without further inspection. One way to narrow down the possibilities is to look for possible condensation sources: gaps in insulation, around roof penetrations, in or around rooftop heating and cooling equipment, or in and around vents and fans.
When we investigate reported roof leaks and find that the source is actually condensation, we often find moisture inside of pipe vent stacks, heating and air conditioning equipment, bath and kitchen fan stacks, inside attics, at the transition of one building to another, at the edge of an exterior wall, or even at the peak of the roof. Condensation can be found in the form of water or ice, depending on the location and conditions.
What You Can Do to Prevent Condensation Buildup
Use your exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen during showers and cooking to allow excess moisture to escape. If you don’t already have functioning exhaust fans in those rooms, prioritize having them installed. You can also reduce the use of humidifiers during cold months, as keeping the relative humidity in your home low during subzero temps can help prevent condensation buildup. You don’t have to stop using humidifiers completely—we know how dry the winter air can get!— just try to keep the humidity in your home as low as is comfortable for you.
And finally, make sure to stay on top of routine roof maintenance to keep your roof in optimal shape throughout the winter.
How All Elements Can Help
Having roof repairs done by a pro will help ensure your roof is properly protected against condensation issues. When All Elements comes out to inspect your roof, we’ll take a look at the vents on your eaves to make sure your attic has proper airflow to allow moisture to escape, and we’ll look at your attic insulation to ensure that what you have is sufficient. We’ll also examine the structure of your roof (inside and out) for signs of condensation damage and recommend any necessary repairs.
If your roof does have damage due to condensation, we can make repairs to ensure that it doesn’t get worse. We can also shore up your roof’s structure, ventilation, and insulation to protect against future condensation buildup.