As a commercial building owner, you know that when it rains, it pours. It’s crucial to keep your roof well insulated, but if you’ve ever encountered wet insulation, then you’re probably looking for guidance on how to handle it.
Well, look no further! We have you covered with a complete guide to identifying saturated insulation.
So, let’s get started.
For commercial building owners, especially in the Pacific Northwest, saturated insulation is a serious problem that can have significant consequences when left unchecked. Simply put, it occurs when moisture accumulates in your roofing material and insulation, causing it to become wet or soggy. Wet insulation can lead to mold growth and water damage, as well as decreased energy efficiency inside your building.
Generally speaking, wet insulation typically occurs due to:
- Improper installation or maintenance of the roofing materials
- Inadequate ventilation of the attic space
- Environmental conditions such as heavy rain or snowfall
However, it’s important to note that it can also be caused by condensation from an interior source such as plumbing leaks or humidifiers.
So here’s the deal—there’s good news and bad news. The bad news: wet insulation is a leading contributor to structural damage. The good news, however, is that it’s easy to identify. Here are 10 warning signs that you should watch out for.
- Visible Water Stains: First and foremost, look for visible water stains on the ceiling or walls of the building’s interior.
- Discolored Insulation: When your insulation becomes discolored or sags, it’s most likely due to moisture absorption.
- Standing Water: Another telltale sign of wet insulation is standing water on top of the roof surface, near pipes, drains, or other penetrations through the roofing system.
- Odd Smells: If you notice unusual odors inside your building, check for wet insulation, you could be smelling mold growth due to excess moisture levels under your roof.
- Peeling Paint: If you see peeling paint around vents and other rooftop equipment, this is often a result of condensation/moisture buildup.
- Rust Spots: Oxidized metal surfaces, such as nails and screws, are another good clue to look for. Because they’re used to secure roofing materials in place, if you notice rust, it’s safe to assume water has made its way under your membrane.
- Algae or Moss Growth: If your commercial building has a flat roof with algae or moss growing on top, this is often due to excessive moisture levels.
- Warping Shingles/Tiles: Look for warping or buckling of roofing materials caused by moisture-related expansion and contraction.
- Cracks Roofing Membrane: Cracks in your roof, while preventable, often go unchecked. Over time, this could allow water to enter your building’s interior.
Have you noticed one or more of the above signs? It’s essential to take action now to prevent further damage to your commercial property and its insulation material.
When attic insulation absorbs water, the effectiveness of your response time can either prevent or perpetrate additional damage. To keep your wet insulation from spiraling into something bigger, consider the following actions.
Before you go out and buy new insulation, you need to investigate and identify the cause. After all, what good will dry insulation do if your roof leak is still there? As a helpful tip, consider enlisting the help of a commercial roofing company—most providers even offer free assessments for commercial properties.
With an expert’s help inspecting your roof for leaks, cracks, and evidence of condensation, it’s much easier to determine the cause of the wet insulation and take steps to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Just because some of your insulation is wet doesn’t mean all of it needs to go. If you’ve determined that any existing insulation can be salvaged, it’s important to take steps to dry it out as soon as possible. This can include using fans and dehumidifiers in affected areas as well as putting a protective tarp over any exposed material until it’s completely dry.
As stated earlier, if you have wet insulation in your building due to a roof leak, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible. After you’ve identified and sealed off all of the leaks, begin removing the old wet insulation from your building. Just be sure to use a vacuum cleaner or other protective gear to prevent yourself from inhaling any harmful particles that may be released during this process.
If you find that there are any leaks in your roof, don’t be afraid to hire a professional. As experts in commercial roofing and insulation, they know exactly what precautions you need to take to prevent further damage from occurring inside your building’s walls or ceilings. That’s why, if you suspect saturated insulation, the first step should always be partnering with a roofing specialist to provide an assessment of the problem, identify the source of the wet insulation, and advise on the best course of action to take.
At ROOFCORP of America, we handle the tough jobs anywhere they occur. When it comes to roofing maintenance for companies in Seattle, Colorado, Nevada, and more, we’re your top choice. Whether you’re dealing with wet insulation and need timely repairs or simply want to inspect your roof for potential issues—rest assured knowing we’re here to help.