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Question DetailsAsked on 12/9/2015

what type of insulation should be replaced in small storage room attic

I had a roof replaced and each time it rained for almost 3yrs.(under warranty) It would rain in my little room that I use as an attic,as a result the rain ruined my original insulation, R13 with backing with mold. The roofers replaced only 3 panels with R31. Now when it rains it leaks in the very same spot each time, also in Feb. this year it was leaking through the insulation, as the roofer pulled down the insulation it had condensation all over the newly replace plywood that was replace. Please help me, is there someone, or expert that can shed some light? Is the R31 causing the problem. I have called these roofers a hundred times and they can seem to locate the problem. I don't want my home destroyed as I am elderly .

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Voted Best Answer

Need to check the attic during a prolonged rain, so any leak would be actively dripping. If only happens after a rain, obviously a leak - and if they can't find it after return trips for 3 years, time to call their bonding company to have the Bond pay for ANOTHER roofing contractor (preferably of your choice) come out and find it when it is leaking.

My guess - especially since you said "condensation" a couple of times - may not be rain at all if this happens only in the winter (assuming you have outdoor temps below maybe 15-20F) - could be you have inside mosit air passing up through the house to the attic and condensing, which then saturates the insulation and causes the "leak". If that is the problem, if you can get up there in the cold weather, you would see heavy frost on the upper surfaces of the attic.

Most common cause of this - an attic door or hatch that does not seal TIGHTLY agaisnt good weatherstripping, so nicewarm moist household air goes up into the attic, and upon hitting the cold attic air condenses the moisture on the attic framing and underside of the roof - directly dripping in severe cases, more commonly frosting the underside of the roof and rafters and building up over the winter, then dripping down into the insualtion during warmer conditions or when the spring sun heats the roof above freezing. I areas with true winters I have seen several feet of frost buildup - both on rafter area and on top of the insulation - several times to the point of a ceiling collapse, in one case destroying an 8-plex, in another taking down a very large warehouse.

Another possibility - unless this storage room is fully insulated, and heated like the house (though not necessarily as warm) AND has return air ducting to the furnace, if it is basically at attic temp or unheated (heated only by heat lost through the underlying ceiling) and it is not well ventilated, it may be just accumulating household moisture like a hothouse - basically becoming a low-temperature steam room with no place for the moisture to go - or there is a specific place for it to go and the concentrated leakage of warm mosit air into the attic is causing condensation/frosting that then coalesces into dripping water.

Professional evaluation help if roofers can't find a leak - an Architecture firm with an insulation/HVAC expert or a civil engineer with insulation and energy efficiency expertise. Also - you said roofer "pulled down the insulation" - if you have insulation up againt the underside opf the roof sheathign, that could be your problem - could be frosting up and accumulating moisture till it drips down - address this with whoever you have out to look at it, because generally the insulation should NOT be up under the sheathing - and certainly not in any case unless it is closed-cell foamed-in-place foam where insuyaltion up there is acceptable. Quick way to rot your sheathing, which it sounds like may have been the case here. Also an alternative - get in an energy rating expert or insulation contractor with thermal infrared camera when it is or has just been leaking, to use the infrared camera to locate and trace the weet areas back to a source cause, then Roofing or Insulation contractor as applicable to fix it.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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