How Moisture Causes Water Damage in Your Attic

While you may think of your attic as a storage space only, it is also an environmental pressure cooker. Heat, cold, and moisture seeping through your roof all meet in this upper space. An inspection of its condition can alert you to damaging moisture problems that require correction. Most moisture damage in an attic occurs because telltale signs were ignored.

Sources of Attic Moisture

Every home generates moisture in the living areas that can migrate into the attic. If the attic is unable to disperse it, the moisture may condense on interior surfaces. There are many sources of moisture in any home:

  • Ground moisture from the crawl space
  • Green firewood stored inside
  • An unvented clothes dryer
  • Inadequately vented bathrooms
  • Non-vented gas or kerosene heaters
  • Humidifiers

There are various ways this warm moisture enters your attic

  • Unsealed openings around lights, fans, plumbing vents or chimneys.
  • Exhaust fans that vent into the attic, crawlspace or eave overhang.
  • Inadequate moisture barrier or insulation behind the ceiling

How Attic Condensation Damages Your Home

Warm, moist air entering your attic on colder days can lead to three kinds of impairment that, if left unattended, can damage the attic or the home itself.

1. Warm air reaching a snow-covered roof cause snow melt to flow to the colder edge of the roof where it forms icicles or ice dams. Ice dams allow snow melt to enter the home’s interior.

2. Moisture on the attic’s interior allows infestations of mold and mildew. Besides being unsightly, mold infestations are unhealthy and can spread into living areas.

3. Excess moisture in the attic invites wood rot on inside structures, including roof sheathing. Rot leads to premature failure of the roof and expensive repairs.

Signs of Attic Condensation Problems

Icicles or ice dams on the roof during the winter are a sure sign of condensation problems. Other signs include dark stains over large areas of the wood surfaces, which indicate mold or mildew formation. If roofing nails that penetrate the sheathing show signs of corrosion, excess moisture has been present. If you have any doubts as to whether you have a condensation problem, call a home remodeling or mold remediation specialist for help.

Correcting the Problem

To correct moisture condensation in your attic, focus on these approaches:

1. Seal all openings and cracks from the living area into the attic.

2. Ensure that fans vent to the outside of the home.

3. Make sure insulation is not blocking airflow to leave soffits.

4. Increase the amount of ceiling insulation to retain warmth in the home.

5. Increase ventilation of the attic by adding passive vents or installing electric gable or roof fans.

Do Not Neglect Your Attic

Your attic is a vital space that absorbs many of the effects of inclement weather. If your attic has been damaged by mold, mildew, or flood, contact a restoration specialist today to repair your property and treat the source of the problem.

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