What You Need to Know About Metal Roofing & Condensation
When many homeowners think about installing a metal roof, they mistakenly believe that it will be like living inside a tin can. However, metal is among the most energy-efficient roofing materials currently available. It reflects solar heat, so it keeps your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. But there is one caveat: if a home doesn’t have adequate insulation, condensation can develop, and that is bad news for any roof.
What Causes Condensation
Condensation occurs when warm or very humid air mixes with a much cooler surface. When you open the window in the morning to let in some fresh air, you may have noticed tiny droplets of water on the windowsill. And if your home is not well insulated, moisture from condensation can develop on any surface even inside the walls, ceiling and underneath the roofing materials. The good news is that metal roofs don’t absorb moisture like other materials within your home construction, such as concrete, drywall, and wood. Since moisture is a catalyst for mold, mildew and other issues that can accelerate the normal wear and tear of those materials, it is essential to minimize or prevent the development of condensation when installing any roof, including metal.
How to Prevent Condensation
There are a few ways to prevent condensation from developing underneath the roof. An experienced metal roofing contractor should perform a roof inspection before installation and look for any air leaks that will increase the likelihood of condensation.
The best way to prevent condensation from developing within your home is with a moisture barrier. Most traditional homes have an attic, a crawl space sandwiched between the ceiling and roof deck. An attic that is already insulated provides a breathable space that will prevent moisture from developing underneath the roofing system. But if you reside in a colder climate and your attic is not insulated, a vented attic can achieve similar results.
In attics without insulation venting the attic to form a vapor barrier can help prevent condensation from developing between the ceiling and roof deck. It is done with the installation of drywall in the attic and a coat of latex paint. It will provide a breathable space and prevent the accumulation of condensation underneath the metal roof.
The underlayment is a weather-resistant material that is installed to prevent water from accumulating in the roofing system. In an asphalt shingle roof, for example, the underlayment is usually paper or felt coated in asphalt. But that is not applicable for use with a metal roof. A metal roof needs a stronger underlayment material like polypropylene or similar breathable material for a more durable solution. It will not only offer another layer of moisture protection but will also reduce noise and is recyclable.
As you can see, there are several effective solutions for preventing condensation from forming underneath a metal roof. It is best to consult with an experienced metal roofing contractor who can inspect your roof and determine the best solution for your home.