Roof Condensation—This Sneaky Problem Could Cost You


When you notice moisture on roofing, or any part the roofing assembly, your first thought may be to look for leaks. However, condensation is another potential problem that should not be ignored.


What is Condensation and How Does it Occur?

Condensation occurs when warm air is pushed up through a building and meets the colder roof structure and outside air. Rapid cooling allows moisture to form, which can be trapped in the surrounding materials. During cold winter months, the water can freeze. A layer of ice forms on the inner roof membrane, which will melt when the weather warms up.

Roof assemblies, where foil insulation covers batting insulation that is wrapped around supporting beams, are especially vulnerable. Moisture can get trapped in between the foil and the plywood roof. Buildings that are located near water or in humid climates are also more susceptible because the trapped can air hold more moisture. Lumber that was not allowed to dry properly before insulation was installed can be a contributing factor.


What Signs Indicate That Condensation Is Occurring?

These are some indicators that condensation may be the cause of your moisture problems:

• Leaks only occur in warm weather, and there is no leaking when it rains.

• Dripping is visible at midday when the sun is shining.

• Insulation below the roof membrane is wet or warped.

• Walking on the roof in freezing weather produces the sound of ice cracking. This means that ice has formed under the roof membrane.

• Water is visible near solid mechanical units that present no possibility of leakage.


What Steps Should You Take?

Condensation can be a tricky problem to identify. A professional roofing company can help you reach an accurate diagnosis. A roof cut or thermographic imaging may be necessary to pinpoint the source of the water. Depending on the degree of moisture damage, remediation could be a simple fix, or addressing the problem could involve replacement of the entire roof system.

To avoid a costly repair, building managers should schedule regular roof inspections and maintenance from an expert provider. Call on Columbia Roofing, at 410.379.6100 to ensure that your roof stays dry and in great shape for years to come.