Sources of Attic Rain

Calgary has seen some severe Attic rain episodes this Winter.  IDEAL has been called to dozens of homes that are experiencing water damage in their Attics, ceiling Drywall and in extreme cases water “raining” into their living spaces.  We’ve talked before about the causes: penetrations that allow moisture in the Attic, insufficient insulation causing heat loss & ventilation problems.  What we’ve seen the most this winter is Bath fan & Dryer vent exhaust pipes that are not fully 100% exhausting hot moist air out of the roof vent.

Why is this happening?  Well the standard exhaust vent for bath & clothes dryers is called a Gooseneck.  It is curved in shape & contains either a flapper or grate (or both) to manage air flow & accessory ingress.  But what this standard aluminum vent does not have is a dedicated internal pipe or collar for said bath fan or dryer vent hose/pipe to clamp onto.  Instead the standard method in both new construction and renovations is to push the hose/pipe up to the interior opening in the Gooseneck vent and use a piece of chloroplast cardboard or sheet metal to hold in place.  In effect the exhaust hose/pipe is adjacent to the opening of the Gooseneck vent, not actually connected.

The issue that many Calgarians have experienced is the hot, moist air that these exhaust pipes expell is spilling out of this connection and coating the underside of the plywood roof deck with moisture.  During prolonged periods of cold weather this moisture causes frost to build that over days and weeks can become quite thick and prevalent.  Once this cycle begins the connection of hose & roof vent begins to build with ice and subsequently opens up further allowing even more moisture to spill into the Attic.  Lastly our classic Calgary chinooks blow in and quickly warms our climate causing the thick frost to melt quickly.  The ensuing melting, or Attic rain, quickly overwhelms the attic insulation, ceiling vapor barrier, drywall and eventually comes raining down into your living spaces.

The solution that IDEAL advocates for is to replace the standard rooftop Gooseneck vent with one that has a dedicated interior collar.  We’ve talked before about the Primex vent which is an excellent product for this application.  When we replace & install the Primex we can ensure a proper connection between the hose and gooseneck and hence provide greater assurance that moisture will be vented outside as designed in reduce the chances that it will be trapped in your Attic space.

 

there is an air space between this exhaust pipe and the gooseneck roof vent which allows moist air to spill into the Attic

Note:  you can see in this photo that there is a space between the metal flange used to hold the bath fan hose up against the bottom opening of the Gooseneck roof vent.  If ice begins to form in this gap it will quickly grow over times of prolonged cold and push the gap even wider.  Eventually a large portion of the bathroom or dryer warm/moist air that the homeowner is attempting to vent will instead be spilling into the attic and causing frost to grow on the plywood roof deck.  When this frost melts Attic rain & damage ensues.

How to hire a Contractor

IDEAL has been working with the Better Business Bureau for decades.  They do a terrific job of identifying credible companies as well as supporting consumers with legitimate concerns.  The BBB recently shared this FAQ sheet on how to hire a contractor.  It clearly lays out some important factors to consider when choosing a reputable company to work on your home.  Check out the link below and feel free to ask your IDEAL representative for any of our corresponding documentation.

 

Tip Sheet – Hiring a Contractor

Open vs. Closed Valleys

There are 2 different methods to roof valleys: open vs. closed.  What are the differences?  Are there advantages to either application?  Open valleys refer to trimming back the shingles along the valley metal, hence exposing the flashing and allow water to run-off.  In closed valley applications the field shingles are installed across the valley.  Closed valley applications can pose some challenges in the Alberta climate.  If water does get behind the shingles in the valley it can freeze and cause the shingles to crack (freeze-thaw cycle).  Water that collects in these valleys can lead to the shingles deteriorating at a faster pace, as they are in the photo below.

Grand Sequoia shingle incl. vented ridge

Grand Sequoia shingle incl. vented ridge

field shingles deteriorating in closed valley application

field shingles deteriorating in closed valley application

Gooseneck Roof Vent

Household appliances that are exhausted through the Attic space must be connected to the proper roof vent.  Bathroom fans, Clothes dryers and Kitchen hood exhaust fans are all vented using a type of Gooseneck Roof Vent.  Goosenecks are installed much like an exhaust vent but do hold one key difference: an interior connection that allows exhaust pipes & hoses to be fastened directly to the vent.  This provides for continuous air flow and eliminates any heat or moisture from escaping into the unconditioned Attic space.

gooseneck-vent

gooseneck-vent

Moisture, condensation, mold and wood rot can all result from breakdowns & errors in how vent hoses/pipes are exhausted.  A very common error we find in Attic inspections is a bath fan vent pipe simply pointed at or leaning against a turtle exhaust vent (pictured below) instead of connected to a proper Gooseneck.  Although it may look harmless the gap between the vent pipe and hole in this roof is a recipe for problems.  Although some hot moist air will escape of out of the turtle vent, much will spill back into the Attic space.  The plywood in this picture looks quite new which may indicate that it was deteriorated and replaced during the last roof replacement.  Where most likely the roofer made an error and installed an exhaust vent where a Gooseneck Roof vent should have been used.

bath fan exhaust pipe pointed at incorrect turtle exhaust vent

bath fan exhaust pipe pointed at incorrect turtle exhaust vent

The good news is that this is a simple fix: the shingles can be taken apart in this area, the vent pipe can be replaced with a new pre-insulated flexible exhaust hose, the hose connected to a new Gooseneck roof vent and the shingles put back together to continue to shed water.

Eavestrough, Downspouts, Soffit, Fascia

Did you know that IDEAL also offers all soft metal work including eavestrough, downspouts, soffit, fascia?  Our qualified installers can install new or replace existing Eavestrough, Downspouts, Soffit & Fascia.  Is your existing wood fascia rotting or paint chipping?  IDEAL can clad it with new aluminum in a variety of colors to choose from.  Aluminum fascia is available in a variety of heights and can even be ordered in custom dimensions such as the shadow board detailed in the photo below.

Does your current wood soffit have limited venting that is preventing adequate air flow into the Attic?  IDEAL can remove the current wood soffit and install new vented aluminum, at any depth required.  Are your eavestroughs sagging, overwhelmed by winter rains or missing from key roof lines on the House?  IDEAL can install new 5″ eavestrough, add leaf guards to manage foliage or even upgrade to a 6″ product to accommodate excess water and deciduous materials.  Downspouts can also be upgraded to larger dimensions to manage coniferous trees whose needles can often clog a standard downspout.  IDEAL will assess your property and help design the appropriate downspout alignment to make sure the water run-off is moved away from the House and foundation, minimizing potential ice pools and water ingress.

Metals - Soffit, custom Fascia

Metals – Soffit, custom Fascia

HomeStars Best of 2016 Award

IDEAL Insulation & Roofing is proud to be recognized as one of HomeStars Best of 2016 Award winners for Calgary, AB.  HomeStars is one of the most trusted online forums connecting consumers with residential contractors.  It has become a valuable tool to promote current jobs as well as communicate with prospective clients.  When our customers tell us that they read positive reviews on our company we know that they are speaking of HomeStars.  To be selected as a HomeStars Best of 2016 Award winner exemplifies the role that they play in our business and our communication with future clients to come.  Thank you HomeStars!

HomeStars Best of 2016

HomeStars Best of 2016 Award

 

Qualified Roof Inspection

It’s not always easy to know what kind of shape your roof is in.  How long should my shingles last before needing replacement?  Do I have enough ventilation?  Is my roof installed properly or am i susceptible to leaks?  Roofs are dangerous and due care must be taken whenever anybody climbs on top of your Home.  If your roof is 10 years or older it is probably time for a Qualified Roof Inspection.

Asphalt shingles can crack, lose their granules or simply blow off in a high wind storm.  Your roof may be reparable, but timeliness is important before your roof deteriorates too far.  Once shingles begin to lift (curl) and lose their granules en mass they often begin to fail quite quickly.  Hidden issues could be present that are not evident from the ground, like this example where a piece of metal Fascia has fallen off and left the rake edge exposed to the elements.

Don’t let your roof go past the point of repair.  IDEAL Insulation & Roofing can provide you with a FREE Qualified Roof Inspection where our team will assess your current roof and provide a quote for the appropriate scope of work.  To learn more about IDEAL’s roofing capabilities check out our roofing page HERE.

roofing missing fascia

roofing missing fascia

Drip flashing can help prevent rotten plywood under shingles

When roofing your home it’s important to consider all factors of a proper Roofing system.  The underlay, venting and flashing all play a role in how well your roof will shed water and prolong the life of the asphalt shingles.  Drip flashing can help prevent rotten plywood under shingles.  It is installed along the Eaves of the roof, the lower horizontal edges of any roof, and is designed to prevent water from creeping back up under the shingles as it travels towards the eaves trough.  This is particularly important in lower sloped roofs where water is shed at a lower rate.  Just as any penetration in a wall such as a window or door must have proper flashing, the Drip flashing plays an important role in prolonging the health of your roof deck and subsequently the shingles.

the absence of drip flashing can lead to water penetration and damage to wood substrate

the absence of drip flashing can lead to water penetration and damage to wood substrate

Trees overhanging roof can cause damage

Too often trees are planted too close to the home and/or grow to overtake the roof line.  Trees overhanging roof can cause damage to the roof shingles as well as issues in drainage.  Rubbing can cause excessive granule loss leading to shingle failure.  Debris such as branches, leaves, sap and seeds can end up in the Eavestrough and eventually clog the Downspouts.  Make sure to prune your trees back away from your Home to prevent damage and prolong the life of your roof.

trees overgrown roof can cause damage

trees overgrown roof can cause damage

 

Roofing Downspouts

Potential granule loss at downspouts

Prolonged water flow from roofing downspouts draining on to a lower roof line can result in excessive granule loss and potentially lead to more serious water ingress issues. Extending your down spouts to meet the nearest eavestrough or re-directing a downspout directly to ground level can help avoid these issues and extend your shingles lifespan. At IDEAL we are happy to consult with you to address these issues as well as any and all of your roofing needs.

focused water runoff from upper downspouts to lower roof lines can lead to excessive granule loss

focused water runoff from upper downspouts to lower roof lines can lead to excessive granule loss