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Roof Condensation Issues

Roof Condensation Issues

There is always the possibility that a roof can leak, especially if it has not been regularly maintained.  Condensation is also a problem in metal buildings.  Water condensation can form on the roofing and walls throughout the building causing extensive damage.

Condensation forms when the air cannot hold any additional moisture.  As warm air, which can hold the moisture, cools down, it reaches a saturation point and drops of water begin to form. Building condensation often happens when the building interior experiences high humidity. There are several reasons why this occurs in a building structure, including:

  • Improper construction practices
  • The way the building is used
  • Issues with the heating and air conditioning system
  • Gas-fired heaters
  • Human breathing

Condensation is more than a little bothersome; it often causes serious issues.  Common problems include corrosion, mold and mildew growth, insulation that is compromised and no longer effective, and even insect infestation.  When metal walls and fasteners are exposed to moisture, they tend to oxidize and deteriorate, weakening the structure and reducing the overall life of the building.  For employees or tenants with asthma or allergies, mold and mildew can present significant health risks, not to mention the nasty odors it produces.

If you are a commercial property owner and you have a metal building, one of your regular maintenance steps should be ensure there is no condensation within the structure.  In addition, maintaining a relative humidity of 30-50% inside the building is an important way to avoid excess moisture accumulating.  There are several fairly easy ways to avoid or eliminate condensation, such as:

  • Thoroughly insulate your property. When good quality, vinyl-backed insulation is used on the walls and roof of a metal building, warm air will not come in contact with the cool metal panels.  This will prevent condensation from ever forming.
  • Use fans to circulate air and encourage evaporation.
  • Appropriate ventilation is a must. Use ceiling fans to push warm moist air out of the building.  Oil and gas heaters should have vents that will move hot air to the outside of the property.

If the building’s insulation becomes damp, major and very costly problems occur.  Fiberglass insulation is used in most metal buildings.  If the fiberglass collects moisture, it can no longer insulate properly.  The insulation can be dried, but not necessarily before mold and mildew begin to grow.  The best way to prevent moisture from reaching the fiberglass batting is to seal all ends.  This can be done by pulling the vinyl-backing around each end and securing it; taping down all batting edges with vinyl tape will also work well.  It is important to remember that the insulation in a metal building must be uninterrupted.  If not, any metal spaces that remain exposed will still be susceptible to condensation.

Roof condensation issues are often found when a professional contractor is completing an initial earthquake retrofit assessment.  A thorough, multifaceted retrofit inspection is designed to find any weaknesses that exist with a commercial property. An experienced seismic retrofit contractor will be looking for a number of possible concerns, including any potential roof condensation issues. Strengthening and repairing any issues found with an earthquake retrofit will ensure a safer environment for employees, tenants, and customers when the earth starts to shake and roll.  If you’re pondering a commercial property investment or already own commercial property and would like to have full understanding of roof condensation concerns or earthquake safety issues, call Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit today.

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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