A wet attic roof is a sign that you have a problem

Moisture in an attic can build over time.  It can take quite a while before it makes its way down through the ceiling and onto a light fixture (for example).  Take a look into your attic every once in a while to ensure there is no moisture.  One of the first signs when you open the hatch and look up is the underside of the roof.  If you have a wet attic roof you have a problem that must be addressed right away.  If things seem to be Ok but you can still identify black staining on the wooden sheathing of your roof (the roof deck composed of wood slats, plywood or OSB) you may have an indication of a prior wet attic roof.
Calgary-20130417-00178

Roofing Tar treats the symptom rarely the problem

Roofing Tar, or sealant, is used to address small penetrations such as nail heads.  Excessive amounts of tar are often a sign of prior leaking.  This should be taken apart and addressed properly during the re-roof process.  This could also be a result of the bricks being installed too tightly to the roof deck preventing a proper installation.

chimney

Options for vaulted ceiling insulation

Sometimes the best time to insulate an attic is prior to the installation of ceiling poly and drywall.  If the finished attic space is extremely tight and access is limited please consult your Insulation expert for ideas to create the right vaulted ceiling insulation plan.
IMG-20120720-00502

Melted plastic on electrical boxes is a sign of trouble

Melted poly on top of an electrical boxes (light fixtures, outlets, ceiling fans) is a sign of trouble.  Have an electrician inspect the installation to ensure it is safe. You can help by ensuring the light fixture below has the appropriate bulb and wattage to help reduce the chances of over-heating.  This overheated fixture is also a source of warm moist air into the attic and should be sealed.
melted poly on junction box

Soffits should be vented or lower roof intake vents employed

Soffits are designed to allow air intake into the attic space.  If they are blocked for any reason the intake ventilation must be created through Roof intake vents.  These are vents installed on the top of the roof but down near the Eave edges.  They must be installed on both sides of the roof to balance.  This is now common practice in New construction.
IMG-20130503-00151

Attic batt insulation must be installed properly

Attic batt insulation should not be block the edges of the attic space and hence restrict air intake flow from the soffit areas.  The attic batt insulation should be pulled back to allow an air space above, preferably with the aid of a cardboard stop (installed at time of construction) or retro-fitted with a styrofoam Air Chute.

batts blocking soffit (2)

Bare spots lead to attic insulation problems

Bare spots in the attic insulation can cause temperature variations within a room below but are also a prime culprit for Ice Damming on the roof above.  Excessive heat transfers through the ceiling and up to the roof above.  This localized heat can cause the under-side of the snow pack on the roof to melt only to later freeze.  This cycle builds resulting in an Ice Dam.  Ice Dams damage shingles and can lead to leaks.  Under-insulated attics are often easy to address and can be a quick and cost effective improvement to your attic insulation problems.
IMG-20130429-00146.

How well is your bathroom fan vent hose performing?

#1: where is this vent hose going?  Doesn’t do much good laying on the attic floor when it should be connected to the roof vent.

#2: that’s a pretty big hole in the ceiling.  How much air is travelling through that hole?  It must be sealed with poly and/or foam.\

 

IMG-20130509-00160

Bathroom fan vent pipe insulation issues

A bathroom fan vent pipe must be properly insulated to prevent condensation.  Breakdowns like this can create moisture that will travel back into the living spaces and cause damage.

bathroom fan pipe

poorly insulated metal bathroom fan vent pipe

Roof leaks are not always what they seem

Water damage on ceiling drywall isn’t always due to a roof leak or insulation issues.  Sometimes the work of other trades in the attic fails and causes additional moist air that is not properly ventilated.   It’s a good idea to poke your head into your attic at the first signs of water damage on the ceiling.

IMG-20130327-00492