2020 Boise Idaho Real Estate Blog
Is your attic black? Main The Durable Green Home
have water or poor vapor barrier in the crawl space? here is what your attic might look like. Thi is typical of homes in the valley. what is happening? read more...
a recent Home Performance Assessment ( not your typical energy audit, got to www.onpointadvantage.com to find out more) revealed water intrusion in the crawl space with basically a non-existent vapor barrier ( which from my experience in over 1000 homes now is the way 99% of them are) and black sheathing in the attic. we were there for a Basic Home Assessment ( hate to call it an energy audit because we do so much more and everyone in town is giving FREE ENERGY AUDITS just to sell equipment or windows, this is not what we do) found high humidity levels in the home and black sheathing in the attic. We look at the home as a system and how each component interacts with each other and then make recommendations on energy improvement but with the focus on Health, Safety, Durrability first. We don't wan to make it worse.
So what is going on with this home? The attic has an attic fan and some gable vents but no baffles at the eaves.  The home is very leaky (about the average rate we see on most homes 8 ACH 50 tested with blower door) the vapor barrier in the crawl basically does not exist (if it does not cover all the dirt you are going to have problems) some areas are partially covered most are not. To make matters worse there is water coming into the crawl space in various locations from rain, leaky exterior faucets (condensates drains are big issues as well) poor drainage, raising the humidity in the crawl. There is no air sealing done in the crawl ( caulk for foam penetrations between home and crawl) and also a interior door with no seal as an access, this is a multi story home so static pressure and just normal air flow draw the moisture out of the crawl and home ( no fans in bathroom, partial working one in other) through the penetrations in the ceilings ( no air sealing, attic access leaks excessive) through the fiberglass blow in insulation ( insulation does not stop air and moisture) condenses on the cold sheathing in colder months, turns to water and is turning the plywood black, causing rot and eventually bad mold, and causing structural damage as well ( photo shows plywood sagging between rafters). This roof will have to be torn off and redone in 2-5 years if not sooner. New roof was put on five years ago, this is NOT GOOD! I feel like the HOMES on Homes guy! 
So how do we solve this? Ventilation? NOOOOO, that would make it worse! Fist we have to solve the Water Intrusion put down a complete vapor barrier. Air seal the crawl and attic, ventilate the baths, and then we can increase ventilation in the attic. Then the home can be retested for leakage (blower door test) to verify that we have solved the air infiltration problem. Perfect example of how saving these issues without looking at Whole House improvements can cause more damage. Call us today before you remodel or make improvements to your home, don’t let costly items like this come back to haunt you, or continue to get worse.
Posted by Tad Duby at 5/5/2010 9:28:00 PM
Comments (2)
Re:Is your attic black?
Thanks for chiiming in Tad. We need to hear from you more information. You have good stuff.
Posted by on 5/5/2010 7:32 PM
Re:Is your attic black?
thanks Trey, it really burns me up in the wet time of the year. we have water and mold remediation contractors all over town charging people to get rid of the water in the crawl and getting insurance money to do it. what they don't do is FIX THE PROBLEM. they just Dry out the crawl space ( thats a joke) and put down another crappy vapor barrier, treat some black stuff and then they are gone. no fixing the drainage, no air sealing to prevent further rot down the road, no health and safety testing. Its a SCAM. now i Do have to say that there are a few,VERY FEW that will fix the problem, Insureance does not pay for that however.
Posted by on 5/6/2010 5:49 AM
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Michelle Penick, Build Idaho Client Real Estate Services

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