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Condensation in my house.

Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
I have an older home in Central British Columbia. It has a mudroom/storage room built onto it that is not heated or insulated. In the five years we've owned it we've had issues with water dripping from the ceiling in the mudroom, but not in the house. The amount of water varies, and this most recent spate of dripping has been rather bad.

At first I thought it was a roof leak but cannot find any evidence of one. Last night, out of exasperation and a hope that I could at least dry the floor I put a space heater in the mudroom. This morning there was no water dripping from the ceiling, leading me to believe that the problem is condensation, not a roof leak. This hypothesis is supported by the wild swing in temperature we've had lately (-25C to 3C), which would increase humidity and condensation as a result.

I plan on buying a dehumidifier this weekend, but what are the long-term fixes to this problem? I realize that I'll likely need to get a contractor in on this, but would like to know if any of you have had experience with this.

TL;DR: Fucking water is pooling on the ceiling in my mudroom?

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Posts

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Do you have an attic or do you have some way to access the roof above your mudroom?

    Chances are you will need a contractor. It may be a leak from another part of the the house, or a pipe, it could also be condensation. How well is your mudroom vented, is there venelation in the roof cavity?

    If it is condensation you'll need someone who does HVAC to vent the area properly, if it is a leak you'll need a roofer, and maybe a plumber to fix the leak. In all cases you'll want to replace the part of the ceiling that got wet. Hopefully you can just sheetrock it.

  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    Luckily for me, the area above my mudroom is roof. There's a bit of sloping gap between the ceiling and the roof, probably two feet before you hit the side of the house, but it's essentially unfinished. In order from top to bottom, there's shingles, roof plywood, empty space, and then the slats that make up the ceiling in the mudroom. No ventilation, so that's probably a must. There is no plumbing anywhere near the mudroom. The house was built in the 40's, I can literally see every bit of plumbing in the house just by walking into the basement. I just fixed all the plumbing, so I know it's not an issue.

    I am planning on checking the attic today just to cross the leak possibility off the list, but I'm pretty sure it's not the issue.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    I would not expect condensation if your roof is done properly. I'd be looking for leaks. But then again, you may have inadequate insulation or something that's causing condensation and leaks to penetrate.

    http://www.human.cornell.edu/dea/outreach/upload/attic-condensation-2.pdf

  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Inadequate is an understatement. There is literally no insulation in the mudroom above the ceiling panel. Pretty sure there's nothing in the walls either.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    I assume no vapor barrier either? I would figure in an area that's high traffic and in between a warm zone (house) and a cold zone (outside) you're going to get a lot of issues with this.

    I'd be weary of mold too, that's a prime area for it, especially if you're getting water. Is the roof to the mudroom (foyer?) joined with your structure's main roof?

    I'm no contractor but that seems like it'd be an obvious cause of a TON of moisture.

    Hot air from the house enters attic, cold air is seeping in from uninsulated mud room, water fucking everywhere.

    Maybe call Mike Holmes too while you're at it.

  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    The roof of the mudroom is joined to the house, but the room as a whole is essentially a separate structure from the house. It is, for the lack of better phrasing, an attached room sharing one wall. The mudroom does not share attic space with the house.

    EDIT: There is likely air from the house entering through drafts in the interior door, and air from outside entering through the exterior door. A weatherstripping project is in my future, for starters.

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  • bean23bean23 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    First you should rule out a roof leak for certain. Get a helper to look in the attic with a flashlight and use a water hose to poor water on the roof. If there is a leak, the water should reflect the light. If you have a roof leak, you need to learn what kind of leak you have as they all have different fixes (I've only had one of them, but I remember having to look it up and there are about 5 different types of leaks with different solutions).

    If you've done this, then you can be sure it is condensation. An easy way to fix this is to go buy some insulation that contains a desiccant (basically it drys things out - removes moisture). A dehumidifier might not be ideal because you only want to run it when it is rainy or foggy out and you may not be home to turn it on. Insulation will also pay for itself as you'll spend less on heating and cooling.

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  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    bean23 wrote: »
    First you should rule out a roof leak for certain. Get a helper to look in the attic with a flashlight and use a water hose to poor water on the roof. If there is a leak, the water should reflect the light. If you have a roof leak, you need to learn what kind of leak you have as they all have different fixes (I've only had one of them, but I remember having to look it up and there are about 5 different types of leaks with different solutions).

    If you've done this, then you can be sure it is condensation. An easy way to fix this is to go buy some insulation that contains a desiccant (basically it drys things out - removes moisture). A dehumidifier might not be ideal because you only want to run it when it is rainy or foggy out and you may not be home to turn it on. Insulation will also pay for itself as you'll spend less on heating and cooling.

    I'll be checking the attic this afternoon when I get home from work. Pretty sure it's not the issue though, given how effective the space heater was at stopping the drips. It's literally night and day.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Yeah If it was a leak I'd expect a space heater to exacerbate the situation. You're most likely looking at condensation and I bet insulation would be the most cost effective once you get a better look at the attic space above it.

    You might consider checking out wall insulation in there too. Last thing you want is some mold getting there and spreading to the rest of the house.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    is holmes on homes only in canadia, or does he come to the US? i have a feeling if he saw my house his head would explode.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Oh yeah, mold, bah you might want to spray an anti-fungal agent up their too. So lack of venelation, no insulation, constant hot and cold coming into the same room. You've got some projects coming up.

    First insulation. Learn how to use the foam gun, and do all the areas around your windows and doors, then put it in the attic. This will save you a lot of money. Go now, do it. It's cheap.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    is holmes on homes only in canadia, or does he come to the US? i have a feeling if he saw my house his head would explode.

    He makes exceptions, especially if you're in Maine and the upper states.

    I would love to see it. Especially since he's like my idol, I use his motto myself when programming.


    As for the mold... you might need to tear down drywall, dry ice the frame + roof, then insulate and drywall again.

    If there's no mold, you might get away with throwing up some insulation and then venting the attic properly.

  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Okay, home from work, checked the attic, no wet spots as far as I can tell. It must be said though that the attic does not encompass the entirety of the roof. There is a storage area at the front of the house that could be called attic space that is likewise dry. The two other areas that may be wet are inaccessible without punching holes in walls. However, given the amount of water that I was getting over the last two days if there were a leak in the roof in either of those areas there would be visible water damage in either the bathroom, the bedroom, the main hall, or the stairway. There is no visible water damage in any of these areas.

    I left the space heater on all day and there has been nary a drip as far as I can tell, save for a spot where a nail is poking through the ceiling. I'll be taking a better look at that when the ice clears. The floor and the ceiling of the mudroom are dry.

    I've got a roofer coming by on Saturday (I called him earlier in the week when I was thinking that is was a drip) and I will be speaking to him about venting. I will also likely speak to my stepfather about taking out the ceiling (there are eight 6x1 tongue-in-groove slats that make up the ceiling of the room.) This shouldn't be that much of a chore as the ceiling only extends 48 inches or so out from the wall away from the house and is open at one end. I'm not even sure why they put those slats in, save for there to be something to hang a light from. It would probably look better without if it were done properly.

    Thanks for all the help, guys. My outlook about the whole situation has improved dramatically.

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