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Old 01-10-2015, 12:15 PM   #1
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Ice and condensation new insulation install

We were planning on turning our storage attic into a livable bedroom for our girls. We removed the exsisted insulation, which was only about 4inches thick and had a black, dirty coloring on the paper side (1970). We were using these black plastic vents (pro-vent) from HD and then installing R-38 batts and were going to put a sheet of rigid insulation up, then drywall.
Just by some strange chance I noticed the roof was wet by the knee wall underneath the new insulation. I pull the batt off and "flicked the vent only to have chunks of ice fly out, like a holy crap amount of ice. Now the kicker is the one section of roof that was done has NO ice or dampness, and we can't see how to two sides are different other then the amount of sun it gets.
We wanted to use a high r-value to try and make it more comfortable for the kids and hopefully save on heating.
We are in SE PA and right now it's about 12 degrees outside, summers can be a 90+ easy. Our roof has no vents at the top/peak or anywhere else.
This is our 1st insulation install and are not familiar with typical improvement terms, please try and "dumb it down" as if your speaking to a toddler
So here are my questions, all of which HD is unable to answer.
Are the vents we used not installed correctly? Or maybe they're to flimsy and being smashed down? Is there a less thick kind of insulation that we should have used? But will still be able to get a high R value?
I've also heard that newer homes have some type of vent at the peak of the roof, we do not have anything like an vent up there.
Last Spring we had a wicked bad hail storm and are getting a new roof this coming spring. There is only shingle damage and our roof has absolutely no leaks anywhere. Should we ask the contractor about that "roof vent at the peak" would that be overall better to make the attic livable?
Thanks for reading and I apologize for the length or if I'm talking in circles. Right now we are thawing out our attic and will have to wait a few days before we can do anything. I've included pictures of our issue, and please excuse the mess. We just wanted to get it thawed and dried asap. Thanks in advance and I will come back and post our solution (I always hate posts that don't do that)
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Ice and condensation new insulation install-winter2014-004.jpg   Ice and condensation new insulation install-winter2014-009.jpg   Ice and condensation new insulation install-winter2014-012.jpg  
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Old 01-10-2015, 04:21 PM   #2
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There has to be at least 1000 old post on attic insulation on this site if you check the search function under insulation.
Whole lot more to adding living space to an attic then just throwing up some walls.
#1, What size are the floor joist and what's the free spans?
#2, Is there a real code compliant stair case to the attic?
#3, Are there code compliant egress windows up there?
#4, If it's going to be a bedroom in most cases your going to need some permits.
#5, Was the attic ever air sealed before insulating?
Any soffit vents?
In your area you needed R-50 of insulation in the ceilings, so joist would have needed to be added onto, soffit vents, baffles added to air flow and a ridge vent at the peak of the roof.
Only way around it would be to have the rafters spray foamed.
Finally got your pictures to up load.
You have major air leaks from the main house and lack of ventilation in that attic causing moisture to form.
Those baffles are useless and not even close to being installed correctly.
Where's the vapor barrier on the insulation? Should have been on inside of the room.
Now your going to have to deal with treating the mold on the sheathing by a real exterminator.
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Last edited by joecaption; 01-10-2015 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:11 PM   #3
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There are already bedrooms in our "attic" complete with electric, plumbing, heat, floor and standard staircase. We are not moving walls, creating rooms or installing electric. It is all there, no permit needed.
There is no mold, what your seeing is frost. The insulation has been up there for about 3 days. Yes we have soffits, yes we air-sealed, but no peak vent.
Vapor barrier? Why would you see a vapor barrier when we're not at the point yet.
"Those baffles are useless and not even close to being installed correctly."
Well... Ok.... thanks for the heads up on the correct way to install them.
I realize there is more to adding a bedroom then just throwing walls up, are you intentionally trying to sound condescending?
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:22 PM   #4
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The baffles have to start at the soffit vents and continue up to the ridge vents. Your warmed (moist) house air is entering the baffles at the exterior walls top plate area and condensing on the cold roof sheathing as there is no (high) exhaust vent to drive it--- requires "cross ventilation";

I'd air seal all top plates in the knee wall attic, fix the baffles in there, and insulate the reduced headroom where the rafter sits on the plate with some foil faced rigid foam board to get closer to the required R-value and block the FG floor insulation from wind washing if the baffles don't. While in there, add some housewrap to the knee wall attic side insulation, if FG-- as it filters air great but any wind reduces by up to 40% R-value. Be sure the k-wall is blocked to prevent attic air under it, robbing heat from ceiling below;

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Last edited by Gary in WA; 01-11-2015 at 09:23 PM. Reason: sp
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