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Old 02-02-2010, 06:54 AM   #1
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moisture in attic


We have a 60year old cape cod house in Chicago area that has ALOT of moisture in attic. We replaced insulation last spring but it is so wet that it's leaking thru the ceilings. We are changing the roof vents to ridge vents & putting soffit vents in. (house never had soffit vents before) My problem is we have had several insulation companies give us estimates to replace the insulation including roll, roll/blow in combo, or "foam" but all say we have to dry out the attic first. 2 told us they have no idea how to dry it out (they are all amazed by how much moisture is in the attic) 1 suggested to remove all insulation & let the heat go into attic & dry it out. But wouldn't that create more moisture since supposedly the moisture is from heat getting into the attic & then hitting the roof and forming this condensation? Another company suggested putting fans in the attic to dry it out. We put a new roof on the summer before the condensation & have had them check the roof & they said the roof is fine. I need help trying to find out what is the best way to dry attic out before it causes more damage. We have to replace part of the ceiling in one bedroom & have nail holes & tape starting to pop thru ceiling in other rooms(which is why I don't think that the foam would work cuz we would have to replace ceiling first so that we don't remove the foam when replacing ceiling)

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Old 02-02-2010, 08:06 AM   #2
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moisture in attic


This is a bit like asking how to dry out a running shower: if you are experiencing moisture levels THAT high, you are going to have to control the source of the moisture in order to "dry out" the insulation.

Assuming that there is no source of significant exterior water intrusion (for example, snow blowing into the attic through a ridge vent) your options are 1) improve attic ventilation to remove moist air once it enters the attic (this can be difficult at a Cape Cod, especially if a dormered under-roof area is finished space), 2) reduce infiltration of moist air into the attic from living spaces below, 3) lower the moisture content of the infiltrating air (for example, don't use mechanical humidification), 4) some combination of the above, or 5) convert the attic to conditioned space.

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Old 02-02-2010, 09:10 AM   #3
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moisture in attic


All of Michael's suggestions are what need to be done.Check that living area ventilation fans (stove, bathroom,etc.)are venting outside.Warm air from the living area will be to moist to dry the attic.Can you open the soffits now?Dehumidifier in the attic temporarily?I think the insulation companies that have NO IDEA how to dry the space out are not qualified for the job.I'd recommend plastic vapour barrier and blown-in or batt.Don't bother doing ceiling drywall till the moisture problem is solved(sorry but it's an unsightly mess you have to live with for now).
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:25 AM   #4
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The roofing company is coming back out today to put in the soffit vents, remove the roof vents & put in a ridge vent & reconnect our bathroom fan(they covered up the vent when they put on the new roof). We do have a humidifier on our furnace but that was turned off months ago when we noticed the moisture in the attic. This is a full dormer on the back of the house that goes the entire length of the house.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:18 AM   #5
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It should start drying out once all this work is done.Is there any electical upgrades needed in the attic area before it gets re-insulated?
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:33 AM   #6
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It would be very helpful if you could post a link to pictures of the exterior of the house (all sides) from grade to the peak of the roof, the interior finished spaces if any of these are directly under-roof (ex: knee walls and sloped ceilings) , and a 360 degree view of the attic interior - often, "ad-hoc" attempts to improve attic venting on these types of roofs are ineffective due to factors such as interrupted flow paths.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:47 AM   #7
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moisture in attic


rocky your original post mentioned nail pops and tape lifting.Is the weight of the wet insulation pushing the sheetrock down?
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:05 AM   #8
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Probably is, I'm sure the insulation (I put in r38 roll) is weighing down on the ceiling. There is brown stains(per insulation company that is the paper backing of the insulation) severe cracks & actual water dripping in the one bedroom. The bathroom & other bedroom only has the tape seams & nail popping but so far no dripping. This is why I don't know what to do. If i remove the wet insulation, will the condensation get worse while I'm waiting for the wood to dry out? Also, I have NO humdifiers going, yet I have 48% humidity in the downstairs bedroom & between 40-42% in the rest of the downstairs living area. I do have a crawl space but there is no water in it. I've checked almost daily thinking that maybe that moisture is getting into the attic. In an earlier blog I wrote looking for a way to find a trap door in the downstairs bedroom addition cuz I thought that maybe there was water in it. I did look in the 1 small outside window to see if there is any moisture but I could only see about 2 feet & I didn't see any water. I really appreciate all the suggestions everyone has given me so far. Unfortunately, the experts are just as stumped as I am. I will try to get the pictures of the outside, inside living area & attic.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:07 AM   #9
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moisture in attic


Do you have a ventless gas fireplace? A *lot* of houseplants? Where is the clothes dryer venting? The kitchen exhaust fan? Forced air heat, or a boiler?
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:26 AM   #10
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There are no fireplaces or houseplants. Dryer is in attached garage on the other side of house & vents across garage to furthest point away from inside house. Only kitchen fan is above stove & does not vent out but cooking is very rare & forced heat.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:30 AM   #11
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moisture in attic


Even if you don't turn the kitchen fan on it's still like a hole in your ceiling to the attic.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocky1charle View Post
Dryer is in attached garage on the other side of house & vents across garage to furthest point away from inside house.
Is it venting to the the exterior, or the interior of the garage?
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:44 AM   #13
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moisture in attic


It's not really a vent but more a range hood. There is no vent. It sits below the cabinet above the stove & has a light & fan. I do have cannes lights in the kitchen & 6 cannes lights in the living room built into soffits in each room. Also, I drilled a hole & put in a 4 inch round vent in the soffit on the large dormer & the water came running out. I now have several icicles coming out of this soffit vent. I also have several places further down the same soffit with icicles coming out of the nail holes in aluminum covering the wood of the soffit. Thus I have ALOT of water in this soffit which is why I have the roofing company coming out to put vents in this soffit.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:49 AM   #14
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Dryer is venting to exterior
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #15
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moisture in attic


Better post some pics in case MT wants to make suggestions while the roofing crew is there.

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