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Attic Water Damage

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Attic water damage is more common than most homeowners realize. Ice dams and condensation are characteristic winter weather phenomena, especially in cold, snowy climates. However, even in warm climates such as in Dallas, attic water damage is typical as well. Leaky roofs cause loss issues not only to the attic, in terms of wet insulation, electrical shorts, and content damage, but also to ceilings, walls and flooring inside the home. Unfortunately, because this area of the house is not frequently visited, homeowners usually discover attic water damage accidentally or when other areas in the house have been visibly affected.

Roof Ice Dams

Ice dams are formed when there is an accumulation of ice or snow at the eaves, or lower edges of the roof. When attic temperature is above freezing, ice and snow begin to melt and the resulting water re-freezes on the colder eaves and gutters, forming icicles. As this melting and re-freezing pattern replays over several days, ice dams are formed and more and more water is collected behind them. These pools of water then back up on the roof and leak into the attic through the shingles, causing roof, attic and ceiling damage, mold and content loss.

Condensation

As warm air in the home rises into the cold attic, condensation takes place. Water vapor in the air comes in contact with cold attic areas, leading to wood rot, mold and structural damage. Excessive moisture and condensation problems cause home owners significant expense.

Roof Leaks

Roof leaks are caused by a combination of factors, such as poor construction, poor maintenance and storm damage. When the first line of defense, namely the roof, fails to stop water from coming into the home, attic water damage is likely to take place.

Attic Insulation Damage

One problem with attic leaks is wet insulation. Cellulose insulation has a propensity for soaking in water and holding on to it. Therefore, it does not dry well and is not an effective insulator when wet. When insulation absorbs enough moisture from roof leaks or condensation, it may becomes heavy and weigh down on the ceiling, causing damage. In extreme water damage cases, ceilings can sag and cave in.

Attic Mold Damage

Another issue with leaks and attic water damage is mold. Wood rot and mold cause structural damage that is costly to repair. Moreover, mold can produce toxins and irritants that cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.

Contents Loss Due to Attic Water Damage

Roof leaks may cause content damage. People often store possessions in their attics, but these items are subject to water damage from condensation, roof leaks and mold. Content restoration companies can salvage many water damaged belongings rather than replacing them, so consulting with a restoration professional can save irreplaceable heirlooms and mementoes stored in the attic.

Prevention

Preventing attic water damage is possible with few simple precautions.

  • Insulate the attic with proper insulation
  • Use dehumidifier to control moisture and humidity in the house
  • Install ventilation vents to cool warm attic air during winter (reducing ice dam scenarios) and cool hot attic air in the summer (removing moisture)
  • Seal cracks, holes and openings in the ceiling that allow vapor to move up into the attic and cause condensation

Restoration Companies

When attic water damage does take place, promptly calling professional restoration companies for advice is recommended. As each scenario is different, restoration specialists can evaluate a homeowner’s needs and recommend specific repair solutions. They can also implement safeguards for potential future water damage throughout the house.