Humidity Gone Rogue

Frozen attic condensation can cause a frost like appearance on the inside of your attic

Rogue : a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel.

Seems funny to apply the word “rogue” to humidity. But during midwest winters it fits. Here’s why:

Every winter is bound to have a couple days to a couple weeks of below zero weather. When temperatures start to rise, homeowners start to notice brown spots on their ceiling that resemble roof leaks. This could be a sign of a roof leak it could also be a sign that your home’s humidity was too high during the cold temperatures causing frozen attic condensation.

Furnace humidifiers are often forgotten to be adjusted during winters and create too much humidity. This moisture freezes when it hits your attic
Furnace humidifiers are often forgotten to be adjusted during winters and create too much humidity. This moisture freezes when it hits your attic

Many homes have humidifiers on their furnaces. Almost all new homes have this or homes with real wood floors. It’s a great thing to have but homeowners need to be mindful of appropriate humidity levels. If the humidity is set higher than it should be during negative temperatures, the moisture rises up to the attic and before it can escape, it hits the bottom of the snow covered roof and freezes. Sometimes icicles even form off the nails! Once the weather warms up and one of the first things to thaw is attic condensation. Depending on high the humidity has been set on your house, this can be a decent amount of moisture coming down – thus causing brown spots on ceilings. It looks identical to spots from roof leaks.

What is the appropriate level of humidity for your home?

If the outside weather is…

  • 20 to 40 degrees, humidity should be less than 40%
  • 10 to 20 degrees, humidity should be less than 35%
  • 0 to 10 degrees, humidity should be less than 30%
  • -10 to 0 degrees, humidity should be less than 25%
  • -20 to -10 degrees, humidity should be less than 20%
  • below -20 degrees, humidity should be less than 15%

This will prevent attic condensation, mold, or any other issues caused by overly humid and warm air.

What about you?

These guidelines are the optimal levels to make your home comfortable, but what about the people living in it? Dryer air is not always the best for us to live in but there are ways to keep both you happy and your home comfortable. Instead of using whole house humidifiers use individual ones when you are using the room. Use programmable timers to turn on and off humidifiers. Buy indoor humidity sensors – these range from $5-$50. Click here to see the “indoor hygrometers” on Amazon.com

 

It’s so easy to forget to monitor or change your humidity. Many people don’t even realize this is what’s going on until it’s too late – brown spots appear! If this happens to you, don’t  panic but it’s still good practice to have a trusted roofer inspect to confirm no roof leaks.

 

EnviroDri vs. House Wrap

You may or may not have noticed a few new construction homes in your city that get this black coating instead of any house wrap paper products. The black coating is an exciting, newer product called EnviroDri; we believe EnviroDri is more efficient in function and cost savings than any other type of house wrap. This product streamlines the construction process and eliminates any worry a potential homeowner might have about any leaks or energy efficiency.

Homes need to have some sort of water resistive barrier over the sheeting to prevent water from entering the house from the outside but breathable for moisture to escape from the inside of the home. Typically, house wrap was been used as this water-resistive barrier; it is taped onto the home in large paper sheets. Any place the house sheeting meets another piece of sheeting the seam should be taped then the wrapping should be layered to provide protection as the house settles with age. Since the wrapping is put up in large sections, it’s common practice to add staples through each section to prevent the wind catching the paper and ripping it before the siding can be installed over it. As you can imagine already there are a few possibilities where this form of house wrap can fail. Any place the paper has been mechanically fastened (stapled) on to the home is at risk for a leak since the barrier has been penetrated. This is a very low risk, but, still a possibility. Depending on how fast your home is built, there could be a good span of time where your house sits with only house wrap on it while it waits for the siding or brick install; strong winds or storms can pull this house wrapping off or tamper the seals if not installed properly. While it is in the manufacturer’s installation instructions to overlap over sheeting seams, the installer might not follow this in efforts to cut their own material costs. Let’s say everything was installed properly and you been living in your home for a few years without any leaks or problems but a storm comes and blows off some siding. Your house wrap in that section is now exposed and if the storms or strong winds continue, the house wrap could become shredded in the exposure.

EnviroDri is a water resistant membrane that is sprayed onto your home after it’s been sheeted. The membrane and the wooden underlayment function as one unit once the membrane is cured. All seams have a water resistive “mesh” applied over and then sprayed again by the EnviroDri membrane. The mesh flexes with the seams the house settles, effectively protecting it throughout the shifting. Since EnviroDri is sprayed on there won’t be any mechanical fasteners piercing the barrier, so absolutely no risk of leaks due to that. Since the membrane is adhered to the sheeting, if your siding blows off your house is still protected from any storms or high winds.

EnviroDri is more energy efficient than any other form of house wrap. It’s more efficient because it’s a tighter protection than any form of house wrap because there is no space between the sheeting and the barrier. This allows you to go from a a 2×6 wall with R-19 insulation to a 2×4 wall with a R-13 insulation and still see energy improvements. The attic insulation can also go from a R-50 to an R-30. All of this saves money on materials and energy in the long run.

Learn More Here

Why wouldn’t you want your house EnviroDri’d?

Don’t Cut Corners On A New Garage Door

Steel Door with Carriage Style Overlays
Steel Door with Carriage Style Overlays

Thinking of sprucing up the exterior of your home? Why not start with your garage door? Garage doors typically make up about 30% of the home’s front and are the primary entrance to most homes. You can easily get overwhelmed with all the choices garage door manufactures provide; it helps to identify your budget, lifestyle, and design desires.

Budget will often times limit your options; but with the market’s demand for a greater variety, most styles are accessible for any price range. Make sure you take in account your lifestyle needs to know where your priorities lie when creating your budget. Do you spend lots of time in your garage? Do you have children? Is your garage attached to the house? These questions will help you determine the material you need for your garage door to be durable and enjoyable. If your garage is attached or you spend a decent amount of time in your garage, insulation will be key. If you have children, a thick-gauged steel door might be desirable as it can withstand bikes, balls, or anything that could cause a minor dent.

Before and After New Garage Door
Before and After New Garage Door

While each manufacturer has their preferred building techniques, all doors stick to 3 basic skeleton structures: single-layer, double-layer, and premium. A single layer door is simply an outer skin of steel, fiberglass, or wood; it is low-cost and low-weight but low on insulating factors. Double layer doors are more rigid in construction and have an interior layer of polystyrene or polyurethane between two layers of steel, fiberglass, or wood; these doors are mid-range in insulation value. Premium doors are similar to the double layer’s construction but are made with a higher quality outer shell material and thicker polystyrene, making these doors the maximum insulation.

Garage door profile

All garage door companies provide an array of styles but don’t drown in the options. Most garage door brands have online visualizing tools that help you picture what your dream door looks like. Another place to start minimizing options is deciding what material fits you best. Aluminum and glass doors are frequently being used for their contemporary and modern appearance but can break easily and have low insulation values. Steel doors have the most versatility of all materials, as they can be embossed with a wood grain or stucco texture, have carriage style overlays, or even be primed and painted with any exterior house paint. The gauge of steel determines the price, dent durability, and the insulation value. Wooden doors easily create a beautiful and classic appearance. They are made from moisture resistant wood but will still need periodic maintenance. Wooden doors are on the lower end for insulation and the higher end of price.

When you take all of these things in consideration, you should have a good grasp on what you want and need from your garage door. Knowing that the garage door you pick fits you functionally and aesthetically is the best investment you can make.

Garage Door