Snow is here.. time to spot those houses with poor roof insulation

This is a pet subject of mine...  here are some I spotted this morning..

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Comments

  • I think maybe you have too much time on your hands!

  • I find those pictures strangely compelling... 

  • I'm a building surveyor...  I see houses every day and this issue of melting snow on roofs is always a good one to illustrate to people that money is literally being wasted through the roof.

    Its very disappointing to see so many houses with roof conversions that have this problem.  Solid insulation boards used in conversions are really good products but so so often the workmanship in their installation is poor.  I see this over and over and also generally with modern houses.  Its such an easy bit of DIY to tackle, and not even very expensive.  Some energy companies give the stuff away for free!

     

  • Wilkie, that's exactly what I thought, lol, still, an interesting thread. image

  • I did notice the houses with poor insulation from the train this morning, but I didn't take any photos.

  • Our local council was doing free loft and cavity wall insulation last year so it seemed silly not to take them up on the offer.  Sadly no snow so I cant see if its working...

  • As you said, on the whole it seems to be those with loft conversions that have the problem.

  • As a building surveyor can I ask you about my house. Upstairs in winter all windows in the morning are covered with condensation so much you can't look out, there are puddles on the windowsill. They are all double glazed. I have heating low (18C) but then don't feel I need more. Not any other houses around have this problem. There is the same in the hallway and in the bathroom, downstairs is condensed at the bottom of the windows only but then we are mainly downstairs in winter. Also the frames of the windows upstairs have mould on, the surfaces that touch each other when closing or opening and the wall next to the window get mould on and I have to remove it every week or so. I can't get my head around it, is the heating too low or the windows are to blame. The window pane is so cold in winter. I remove all water daily, open windows and wipe up all condensation but by the time I go to bed it's back to being the same and I have to start over in the morning. Any ideas?

  • We get lots of enquiries about condensation issus every winter.  Its a common problem and can be made worse by the lifestyle of the occupier.

    In simple science terms, condensation occurs when there is an imbalance between humidity, thermal insulation, ventilation and temperature.   As temperatures drop, the humidity will seek to condensate on cold surfaces.   Window are obviously vulnerable areas.  This is especially prone where ventilation is poor.  A common observation will be in your bathroom after you have had a shower.  The mirror and window may be steamed up.

    Modern double-glazed windows, especially cheap ones, can be to blame too.  Older plastic framed double-glazing had frames that weren't insulated.  This means that as well as heat loss through the glass, you get heat loss through the frame itself.

    Interestingly, you can get condensation on the OUTSIDE of the window if you have Pilkington K glass double-glazed windows and a north facing elevation.

    Condensation will alos occur in roof spaces that have thermal insulation but poor natural ventilation.

    A short-term fix is to use a de-humidifier.   Longer-term though you have to pay attention to natural ventilation, especially in poor heated (or low temperature) environments.  Another example is those with electric storage heaters and peple who dry damp washing internally.

    So..  you need to raise the air temperature ensure natural ventilation occurs and particularly that you use externally vented extract fans in the bathroom and kitchen during and after use.  Thermal insulation will slow down heat loss and will encourage a warmer internal wall surface temperature.

    Some types of construction (concrete for example) are just prone to it but in almost all cases it is fixable by amending your lifestyle and remembering to ventilate the house and keeping it warm.

    In your case, the windows may well be to blame, but also you need to consider these other aspects I mentioned.

     

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    This is condensation within a roof.   That is actual water drops you can see on the roofing felt.  This roof is insulated but has no ventilation.  Installing ventilating roof tiles on the back and front slopes will fix this.

     

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    This is quite severe condensation on old 1970's Everest double-glazed windows...  this is entirely due to the lifestyle of the occupier.

  • I have an extractor in the bathroom (but no window), but water condenses inside the pipe which goes up (and out), and drips back down (fortunately straight into the toilet).

    This has also caused three extractor fan motors to blow over the years, as they get wet from the condensation getting in them.

     

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    This is very severe.  This is a bathroom with severe condensation.  The fan doesn't work.  Look closely though and you'll see a fungus on the wall.  It is called peziza and it occurs because the wall is saturated.   One of the risks is dealing with this is that as the structure dries out, the moisture content lowers to the range where dry rot can occur.  At the moment it is too wet.  Therefore, you can solve one problem and create another.   Fixing this needs to be handled very carefully.

     

  • Mine's nothing like that, thankfully!  Just the dripping into the toilet.

  • I don't have that issue.... the heating would have to be on for it to happen

  • the ones with snow on the roof could just have no heating on..........

     

    Our loft conversion was done to planning permission and building regs....couldn't believe the amount of wood.insulating boards.chicken wire etc went to make it...........

    the majority just seem to have a few boards put upimage

  • OrbuttOrbutt ✭✭✭

    Wilkie - I had a similar issue with a dripping extractor fan. Have you checked the hose that goes between the fan and the outside world? Mine had a loop in it, so the extracted air condensed and settled in the hose until it built up to a level where it started dripping.

    In my case, I lifted the hose and about a pint of water poured back into the bathroom image

    I've since shortened the hose so that the air has a much shorter journey to the outside. Also, I leave the fan running for for a bit longer to dry any condensation.

    Any use? 

  • DTHAS I have the condensation on the inside of my roof as in your picture. The issue is my house is 260 years old with original stone flags that have been "turned" in the past so would fitting ventilating roof tiles work and can you get them looking like old flags?



    p.s this is the best thread on here in a longtime
  • Seren...  don't be fooled just because you have a Building Regs certificate.   Have a look at these photos.. this is a roof conversion, with a 'valid' Building Regs completion certificate.  I think the Building Control officer must have been blind or simply couldn't be bothered to look at the work properly.  It didn't even have a fire door!

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    The steel is second hand, there was no structural engineers calculations for it.  There is no padstone to spread the load on the party wall, no fire protection and no Party Wall notice.

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    This is the roof insulation. Rubbish.  It wouldn't comply with Building Regs 20 years ago let alone now.  

    The owner of this property was unaware of these problems and is now taking legal action against both the building contractor and the Building Control inspector.

     

  • Keggi wrote (see)
    DTHAS I have the condensation on the inside of my roof as in your picture. The issue is my house is 260 years old with original stone flags that have been "turned" in the past so would fitting ventilating roof tiles work and can you get them looking like old flags?

    p.s this is the best thread on here in a longtime

     

    Is the house Listed..?  If so, then definitely not.

    Installing ventilating tiles in a stone flag roof would be unsightly and inadvisable.  If you have gable walls, perhaps you can install 9" air bricks in the gables to get cross ventilation?   Can you show me a few photos of the house and roof..?

     

     

     

     

  • I'll try to find a photo of poorly installed roof coversion insulation.  The two main products used are by Celotex and Kingspan.  Both are excellent products but they need to be installed with considerable care and accuracy.   Simply having the correct thickness of boards won't guarantee that they will work.  This winter, have a look around at houses with roof conversions and they will almost always be the ones that have the snow melt first.

     

  • I was suprised when as part of having the loft converted ...we were told we had to have the beam downstairs uncovered so that it could be checked............I couldn't see why as that was done prior tyo us moving into the house.( terrace house 2 rooms knocked into 1)

     

     was so glad that they made us do it as the attempt that was done was already bowing the ceiling and was 2 piece of thin corroded metal fixed together and was only supported on a n internal wall........

    so we had to have a massive beam fitted there first as well as some more upstairsimage

  • Have a look at this thread from 2010..   I put a sequence of photos showing the same house over a period of days..  the house has a roof conversion and the snow melt is clearly visible.

    http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/clubhouse/spot-the-houses-with-poor-insulation/168602.html

     

  • This is particularly good example...

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    I have several photos of this house...   

  • seren nos wrote (see)

    I was suprised when as part of having the loft converted ...we were told we had to have the beam downstairs uncovered so that it could be checked............I couldn't see why as that was done prior tyo us moving into the house.( terrace house 2 rooms knocked into 1)

     

     was so glad that they made us do it as the attempt that was done was already bowing the ceiling and was 2 piece of thin corroded metal fixed together and was only supported on a n internal wall........

    so we had to have a massive beam fitted there first as well as some more upstairsimage

     

    That's really good Seren.   I've seen overloaded walls when this hasn't been looked at.

     

  • Thanks for in depth answer. I am sure that it's the windows are to blame. It's a housing association, ex council house and they were probably fitted to be as cost effective as possible which means cheap. I come from Poland and my mum has double glazed windows there as well and winters there are so more severe and she has not got this problem. When you touch the window pane it's warm, in my house the window pane is freezing cold. My bed is actually next to the window and when I had only a blind I could feel a draught from the window so had to have extra thick curtains fitted to rectify this problem. Surely if the windows were properly fitted there would be no draught. In my mum's windows when you move the handle to horizontal position it means that the windows are closed but not sealed and when you move it upwards it totally seals it. I haven't got anything like that. I tried to have higher temperatures upstarirs but even though the radiator are fully on it does not seem any more warmer. I think it goes through the roof straightaway. I have had surveyers round from the housing association but they always came on the day it was warmer or windy and there was no condensation. I have got a dehumidifier but it uses lots of electricity and the results are meagre to say the least.

  • Trickle vents and windows that can be 'locked open' will allow some minimal ventilation.   It doesn't sound like yours have either of these...

     

  • ..and an Orbutt in a Pear Tree wrote (see)

    Wilkie - I had a similar issue with a dripping extractor fan. Have you checked the hose that goes between the fan and the outside world? Mine had a loop in it, so the extracted air condensed and settled in the hose until it built up to a level where it started dripping.

    In my case, I lifted the hose and about a pint of water poured back into the bathroom image

    I've since shortened the hose so that the air has a much shorter journey to the outside. Also, I leave the fan running for for a bit longer to dry any condensation.

    Any use? 

    The hose goes up from the bathroom ceiling to the ridge of the roof, at a very steep angle, so no loops.  I think part of the problem is that it's a long way.  Insulating the hose may help, so I'm going to look into that next.

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