Go Back   InterNACHI Inspection Forum > >

Notices

Interior Inspections Contains discussions about the interior portion of a home inspection. This includes stairs, walls, floors, ceilings, smoke detectors, etc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11/14/06, 10:20 AM
Joe Funderburk, CMI's Avatar
Joe Funderburk, CMI Joe Funderburk, CMI is online now
Certified Master Inspector
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Hickory Grove, SC
Posts: 10,285
Send a message via Yahoo to jfunderburk
Default Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Did an older home yesterday. The batt insulation had a very thick, non-porous, vapor barrier (it was not Kraft paper) against the ceiling. On top of that, they added another layer of batt insulation with the vapor barrier face up.

The ceilings had yellow streaks throughout the house. There were no signs of leaks. The attic was not well ventilated (only 2 gable vents.) Below is what I said in the report. Does this sound reasonable? Could there be any other cause for streaks? (Sorry, a photo in the living area does not show the ceiling stains well.)

"The thick, non-porous, vapor barrier in the attic traps the rising moisture next to the ceiling. The result is condensation and subsequent moisture stains on the ceilings below. We can elaborate, but we suggest that you have an insulation specialist comment on the current installation method and consider complete removal and re-insulating the attic."

"The attic is insulated with multiple rolls of batt insulation. The multiple vapor barriers trap moisture next to the ceiling and may result in condensation and subsequent ceiling stains. We can elaborate, but we suggest that you have an insulation specialist comment on the current installation method and consider complete removal and re-insulating the attic."

Photo 2 shows the vapor barrier which was against the ceiling. Photo 3 shows stains on the attic side of the ceiling.

Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?-111306-101-jpg Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?-111306-107-jpg Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?-111306-109-jpg



“The things that will destroy America are peace at any price,
prosperity at any cost, safety first instead of duty first,
the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”
Theodore Roosevelt


Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
Inspecting Upstate SC & Charlotte Metro, NC
Angie's List Super Award Winner 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.
Ph: 704-351-1776
www.aohomeinspection.com


Last edited by jfunderburk; 11/14/06 at 10:27 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11/14/06, 1:04 PM
Thomas H. Dietrich's Avatar
Thomas H. Dietrich Thomas H. Dietrich is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northampton County - Pa
Posts: 1,953
Send a message via Yahoo to tdietrich1
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

You might have the right idea, condensation. Photo #3 looks like pooling of water, and all the photos appear to have a very dirty attic.

The insulation layer looks 'thin' so the walls could be getting very cold in the wintertime, and getting a layer of moisture. That allows dust, smoke, etc to stick to the walls and discolor it. The idea about insulation and it's associated moisture barrier is to prevent penetration of moisture into it. Once inside,ventulation should allow for easy escape. It looks like there is moisture barrier on the 'exit'/attic side. That barrier should be removed to prevent moisture from becoming trapped in the insulation.

IMHO, defer to an insulation/energy expert, since the attic might need to be fixed, and added to.

later,

tom
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11/14/06, 2:40 PM
Doug Edwards Doug Edwards is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,103
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Sounds like "ghosting" streaks from the thermal bridging where the insulation allowed for themal differentials to exist. http://www.buildingscience.com/resou..._on_carpet.htm
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11/18/06, 1:33 AM
Kenton Shepard, CMI's Avatar
Kenton Shepard, CMI Kenton Shepard, CMI is offline
Certified Master Inspector
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Lyons, CO
Posts: 6,282
Send a message via ICQ to kshepard
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dedwards
Sounds like "ghosting" streaks from the thermal bridging where the insulation allowed for themal differentials to exist. http://www.buildingscience.com/resou..._on_carpet.htm
Good one Doug.

Joe, any stains on the roof sheathing indcating leakage? Sounds like the lower layer of insulation was installed correctly, with the membrane toward the warm side. The upper layer would have been installed incorrectly with the membrane toward the cold side. Condensation would have had to competely soak both layers of insulation before reaching and soaking through the ceiling to discolor the ceiling interior.

Seems like the thermal differential theory would require a long time and big differentials to cause that, and seems like stains should be brown rather than yellow. Have you seen this on other homes in South Carolina?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11/19/06, 12:27 AM
Joe Funderburk, CMI's Avatar
Joe Funderburk, CMI Joe Funderburk, CMI is online now
Certified Master Inspector
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Hickory Grove, SC
Posts: 10,285
Send a message via Yahoo to jfunderburk
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Ken,

No stains on the roof sheathing--no roof leaks. I'm thinking that since the vapor barrier membrane was non-porous, that the moist warm air that naturally rises through the ceilings gets trapped unde the vapor barrier and soaks the ceiling. The stains on the ceiling in the attic seemed to indicate that. The ceiling stains were not just where the ceiling joists were. They had no regular patten and were scattered throughout.

I'm of the opinion now that no vapor barrier is best for an attic. Think about it...blown insulation doesn't have a vapor barrier in most cases.

The color of the stains can be debated. They were definitely water stains, however.

The attic had very poor ventilation, as I stated. I thought that may contribute to the conditoin.

Thanks for everyone's comments.



“The things that will destroy America are peace at any price,
prosperity at any cost, safety first instead of duty first,
the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”
Theodore Roosevelt


Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
Inspecting Upstate SC & Charlotte Metro, NC
Angie's List Super Award Winner 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.
Ph: 704-351-1776
www.aohomeinspection.com

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11/19/06, 1:09 AM
Dwight C. Chew, PE Dwight C. Chew, PE is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 317
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

I think you already mentioned that the real problem is the lack of sufficient ventilation in the attic area. Cold moist air on a warm surface will create condensation. Mother Nature hasn't changed the recipe.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11/19/06, 10:40 AM
Mario A. Kyriacou, CHI's Avatar
Mario A. Kyriacou, CHI Mario A. Kyriacou, CHI is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI) ®
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,607
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfunderburk
Ken,

No stains on the roof sheathing--no roof leaks. I'm thinking that since the vapor barrier membrane was non-porous, that the moist warm air that naturally rises through the ceilings gets trapped unde the vapor barrier and soaks the ceiling. The stains on the ceiling in the attic seemed to indicate that. The ceiling stains were not just where the ceiling joists were. They had no regular patten and were scattered throughout.

I'm of the opinion now that no vapor barrier is best for an attic. Think about it...blown insulation doesn't have a vapor barrier in most cases.

The color of the stains can be debated. They were definitely water stains, however.

The attic had very poor ventilation, as I stated. I thought that may contribute to the conditoin.

Thanks for everyone's comments.
Joe

Here is some info on air, and vapour barriers.





'Imagination is more important than knowledge' (sometimes)
Mario Kyriacou CHI CMI-
NACHI Canadian Member of the Year 2007

http://www.360degreesbuildinginspections.com


Tel.# 647-716-6132
e-mail torontohomeinspector@yahoo.com

Last edited by mkyriacou; 6/5/07 at 1:05 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11/25/06, 9:45 PM
Peter Doane's Avatar
Peter Doane Peter Doane is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 2,046
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Looks like water penetration to me (Roof leak?) The only place I find condensation issue stains are around the perimeter walls as the water condences on the roof decking then run down to the lowest point,.. but anything is possible. Call it out to be further investigated.



Peter Doane
Realty Check Inspection Service
NACHI ID# 05120681
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11/25/06, 10:05 PM
Kenton Shepard, CMI's Avatar
Kenton Shepard, CMI Kenton Shepard, CMI is offline
Certified Master Inspector
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Lyons, CO
Posts: 6,282
Send a message via ICQ to kshepard
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dchew
I think you already mentioned that the real problem is the lack of sufficient ventilation in the attic area. Cold moist air on a warm surface will create condensation. Mother Nature hasn't changed the recipe.
Other way around...warm moist air on a cold surface creates condensation. Cold air hold less moisture. As the temperature drops, vapor turns back into liquid.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11/29/06, 10:42 PM
dplummer dplummer is offline
Active Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Collingwood, ON
Posts: 235
Please Note: dplummer is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI or its members.
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Mice, rat, squirrel urine. Doug
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11/30/06, 12:05 AM
Michael R. Boyett's Avatar
Michael R. Boyett Michael R. Boyett is offline
Retired Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Boerne, TX
Posts: 4,906
Default Re: Batt insulation causing stains on ceilings?

Yep, don't totally discount that possibility.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question about exposed styrofoam insulation. mlong Exterior Inspections 11 10/30/16 11:50 PM
Batt insulation over suspended ceiling smcarthur Interior Inspections 7 3/11/11 10:58 AM
Vaulted Ceiling Insulation rcooke Canadian Home Inspectors 4 1/22/07 1:24 PM
New Old Insulation rcooke Canadian Home Inspectors 1 12/13/06 6:25 PM
Common Defects List by Age of House trausch Inspection Education & Training 10 6/12/06 5:52 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 7:50 AM.
no new posts