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Learn How to Handle Moisture Condensation on Flat Roofs!

June 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 241

Most know that a roof's purpose is to protect a building by keeping the bad weather outside and the good climate inside. No matter how this structure is built, keeping it water-tight is always a primary concern. Many types of roof construction do this very well, resulting in very few problems with decay, moss, mold, or leaks due to pitch or material type and durability. In the case of flat roofs, keeping them completely dry can require quite an effort as it is no secret that this type of roof is not the easiest to keep problem-free.

Problem Identification In a perfect installation, flat and slightly pitched roofs are able to stay water-tight and keep dry underneath. Unfortunately, many of these roofs are either not perfectly installed or inappropriately maintained. Pitched roofs tend to draw attention to themselves when issues arise, which allows for more rapid handling of the indicated problems. Flat roofs tend to be completely ignored until leaking actually happens - out of sight and out of mind.

Condensation While the prevention and repair of leaking flat roofs can be rather difficult, one thing that is often overlooked is preventing condensation under the structure. Although condensation is not an actual leak, enough condensate will begin to drip and essentially act the same way as a leak in damaging the interior of a building. Condensation can be the by-product of a leak somewhere along the line and even the smallest amount of wetness under a roof and/or between its layers is enough to cause moisture problems.

First and foremost, in order to prevent and correct condensation problems, any point of water entry needs to be located and correctly repaired, which is often easier said than done. Blistering, buckling and cracking of a building's flat top surface can be a cause as can leaks in the corners and joints of the parapet wall. The tar, caulk, duct tape and flashing that is often used in an attempt to repair such areas are not much help, which is exactly how more serious problems arise.

Replacement At this point, what is basically required is an entire new roof, with a few new adjustments to allow for modern technology that leaves a more lasting effect. The addition of a vapor retardant, insulation and a watertight membrane can be added. Foam sealant sprayed around any protrusions such as vents and ducts should be used instead of any kind of flashing or caulking to create a more watertight seal.

Ventilation Once a roof's surface has been repaired, the job of adding ventilation should begin. Little to no ventilation is responsible for much of the damage occurring to flat roofs and needs to be remedied. Depending on the surface, it can be accomplish either through the addition of breathers and vents, installation of a continuous air/vapor barrier, or both. In more severe cases of leaking and condensation, more drastic measures including adding space above ceiling rafters and insulating under the surface can be used before the final surface is replaced and sealed.

Of the many different problems that can arise with all types of roofing, moisture and water on flat roofs can be one of the toughest ones to handle. The best method of prevention is meticulous care and correct patching when leaks are found as well as ensuring there is some type of ventilation between the vapor barrier and the ceiling. If all else fails and major repair must be done, it is unwise to waste time and money in the hopes of getting away with just a repair when replacement is the best option. Flat and almost-flat buildings are unforgiving when it comes to moisture retention; this must always be kept in mind in order to handle condensation problems on a flat roof!

Christopher Hunter is an expert in roofing information. To find out more about Roof Houston, go to our main website at:

Source: EzineArticles
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