Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Need Honesty
Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
Need Honesty

I have noticed dark lines on the ceilings in my home that define where the trusses are in my roof. A roofer who inspected my roof told me I have condensation in my roof & that I needed to have triangle vents installed at each pitch of my roof & a Whirly Bird Vent. The Insulation guy told me the roofer doesn't know what he's talking about & that the problem is I don't have enough insulation in my roof-he never inspected my roof. I am single there is not excess water used in my home, I don't use any type of space heater, no fireplace, etc. I keep my thermostat set at 66 in the winter months and rarely run my AC in the summer. I am very scared because any research I've done seems to suggest my soffit vents are blocked and that my roof is not venting properly, but no one seems to agree. They all have numerous different "thoughts" but I need an honest answer. I'm desperate that if I don't have this corrected the problem could progress. The house was built in 2005, and does have a dry basement. Please help!

A. Spruce
Re: Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
A. Spruce

The only way anyone is going to know what is going on is to do an inspection of your attic and venting system, from there suggestions can be made as to what is going on and what needs to happen. Odds are, some of the soffit vents are blocked by insulation, gable and roof vents may be blocked with cobwebs and dust, the fixes for these things would be to move insulation or install baffles at the soffit vents, and to clean obstructions from other venting locations.

As far as the ghosting inside the home, this is a fairly common thing. Basically, the truss/joist/framing does not have the same insulation value as the insulation, allowing the truss/joist/framing to be colder than the open areas of the ceiling and walls, which results in warm air condensing, dust collecting, and the ghosting that you are seeing. Since this is a surface issue, simply maintaining a good painted surface will be all the protectant you need. If your home has not been painted since it was built, then you are well past time for a fresh coat of paint, inside and out.

It sounds to me like the roofer suggesting the additional venting is looking for some easy money to line his wallet with. While additional venting may be needed, by your description, there was not enough investigation to know if you even have a problem, much less require the "fix" that was suggested. I would recommend finding a general contractor to come have a look and do a thorough inspection to ascertain if there is a problem and whether or not any repairs are needed.

Please keep us updated as you move forward.

Need Honesty
Re: Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
Need Honesty

Thank you for your response. What is the best way to determine if I have condensation in the roof? With all the insulation up there, it's hard to tell if indeed my ceilings are damp?

A. Spruce
Re: Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
A. Spruce

If you have an attic moisture problem, it should be evidenced by visible surface moisture on the framing and underside of the roof deck, possibly mildew/mold. If you've got moisture on the back of the ceiling it's going to be evidenced by mold/mildew, and possibly visible moisture, but not likely, UNLESS you have a roof or waterline leak. If you've got a roof or waterline leak, then you'd also likely have some serious water stains visible on the ceiling.

As I said, interior ghosting is not indicative of attic condensation. If your roofer never went into the attic, then how would he know if you've got a condensation problem?

Need Honesty
Re: Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
Need Honesty
A. Spruce wrote:

If you have an attic moisture problem, it should be evidenced by visible surface moisture on the framing and underside of the roof deck, possibly mildew/mold. If you've got moisture on the back of the ceiling it's going to be evidenced by mold/mildew, and possibly visible moisture, but not likely, UNLESS you have a roof or waterline leak. If you've got a roof or waterline leak, then you'd also likely have some serious water stains visible on the ceiling.

As I said, interior ghosting is not indicative of attic condensation. If your roofer never went into the attic, then how would he know if you've got a condensation problem?

Sorry, let me clarify: I had a roof come out and he went up into the attic and took photos. He stated my roof is not leaking, but that there is condensation. Then I had an Insulation person come out and he said---without ever going into roof, that the ghosting is caused from lack on insulation.

DaveNJ
Re: Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
DaveNJ

I went through this last year - we had spotting in my upstairs bedroom ceilings so we checked the attic & roof. No leaks, but it was very humid up there with drip stains on our boxes and a damp underside of the roof plywood. Tested for mold - bingo! We had it. We did a few things: addressed the insulation all the way to the soffits with baffles, made sure the bathroom fans vented to the outside (they just went into the attic), treated the mold and put in a new attic fan which had a thermostat AND humidistat.

Now, I'm finding that it's still humid up there as the fan seems to be running way too often here in the winter. I'm going to put in an insulation barrier over the attic ladder opening as soon as I get some good recommendations here...

Dave

Need Honesty
Re: Condensation in roof and dark lines/ghosting on my ceiling that outlines trusses
Need Honesty
DaveNJ wrote:

I went through this last year - we had spotting in my upstairs bedroom ceilings so we checked the attic & roof. No leaks, but it was very humid up there with drip stains on our boxes and a damp underside of the roof plywood. Tested for mold - bingo! We had it. We did a few things: addressed the insulation all the way to the soffits with baffles, made sure the bathroom fans vented to the outside (they just went into the attic), treated the mold and put in a new attic fan which had a thermostat AND humidistat.

Now, I'm finding that it's still humid up there as the fan seems to be running way too often here in the winter. I'm going to put in an insulation barrier over the attic ladder opening as soon as I get some good recommendations here...

Dave

Okay, so here is the latest....no condensation in my attic, I've been up there. Have had one roofer, two insulation companies and two general contractors come out. The baffles are simply cardboard propped up. In one section the cardboard has fallen down. At this point and after much research, thinking may truly have a venting issue. I am leaning toward the following: need intake soffit vents cleaned out, new baffles installed and more insulation added. Recently we had 4 inches of snow. Oddly enough, only the trusses in my cathedral ceiling show melted snow from outside view of the roof....I also need ceiling painted with Kilz, the paint. Sound like I'm on the right path??

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.