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Don’t Sweat It: How to Prevent Condensation in Your Industrial Roofing

Condensation is everywhere you look, yet people never seem to take notice. That’s because most condensation forms in areas that are quickly fixedplaces like your car windshield or bathroom mirror

However, condensation also forms in places susceptible to water damage. Just because you paid the big bucks for an excellent industrial roof, doesn’t mean that the roof is free from future problems.

Even the best-designed roofs can suffer from condensation issues. To help your roof stay in tip-top shape, let’s break down how to prevent condensation.

How Does Condensation Form?

Condensation forms when warm, moist air collides with cold surfaces. Ultimately, the cold surface can’t hold the excess water and so condensation forms on the surface.

Most often, we see this happening on windows and other glass surfaces that act as a barrier between inside spaces and the outside world. (Usually, that condensation doesn’t cause harm. You simply wipe down the surface and you’re on your way.)

For example, imagine a cold winter morning and you’re starting your car. The cold air outside your car cooled down your windshield, so when you start the car (and turn on the heat) you’re creating an environment where the windshield is much cooler than the air inside your car.

The warm air from inside your car heats the windshield until the outside of the windshield starts to warm up. The cold air outside the car meets the warm windshield and condensation forms. To get rid of the “fog” you need to turn on the cold air to lower the windshield’s temperature and offset the difference between the outside and inside windshield temperatures.

Now let’s look at an example of harmful condensation.

Imagine you’re taking a shower and the hot, moist air comes into contact with the colder bathroom walls. That clash causes condensation on your walls (something you’ve probably experienced firsthand).

Wet bathroom walls encourage mold growth which can, in turn, cause respiratory problems and other illnesses. Industrial roofing condensation brings about similar issues. While mold growth is a real problem with industrial roofs, excess moisture can also cause structural damage. That’s why we need to learn how to prevent condensation!

Condensation and Your Roof

Condensation forms because your metal roof stays colder than their air around your building, especially at night when the temperature drops (and your roof is cool) but the inside of the building is being heated.

The warm air in your building rises to meet the colder roof and the excess moisture condenses under the roof, usually on the underside where the water droplets are out of sight and out of mind.

That condensation can lead to corrosion, and at best, you’ll end up with a leaky roof. At worst, your roof system is compromised, and, there’s no reason to risk disaster when there are perfectly acceptable ways to prevent condensation.

How to Prevent Condensation

Preventing condensation is very possible if you understand why condensation happens (see above). Stopping moisture buildup is all about temperature differences and air moisture content.

Solution #1: Control Your Moisture Levels

Without moist air, condensation can’t form. Preventing moist air isn’t always possible, but you CAN try to limit how much moisture floats around your building. For instance, make sure your building has adequate drainage. Standing water encourages moist air.

You also need to vent your heaters outside the building. (That hot exhaust holds water and can cause condensation to form.)

Even washing down floors can cause moisture to hang in the air. Always ensure you’re using proper ventilation when washing the floors and using fans to help speed up the drying process.

Solution #2: Ventilation

Ventilation can help warm, moisture move out of the building before it can condense on or under your roof. Since hot air rises, vents closer to the ceiling will encourage air circulation and prevent condensation. You’ll often find these vents under eaves and along the roof ridges.

Solution #3: Insulation

Insulation is sort of like cheating Mother Nature. If your roof never gets cold, it can never form condensation.

While you can’t prevent the roof’s outside from cooling, you can insulate the underside.

Insulating the underside of your roof keeps the underside warmer than the outside air which helps to stop condensation from forming. Plus, the insulation itself acts as a barrier between the warm, moist air and the colder outside air.

In addition to insulation, you can also add a vapor membrane specifically designed to block water vapor from penetrating your insulation. Membranes are a particularly effective solution.

Your Roofing Solution

You’re probably not an architect, an insulator or a meteorologist, so dealing with condensation isn’t your bread and butter (and that’s fine).

No one’s suggesting that you start physically adding vents to industrial buildings, put up insulation on your own or try venting your own heaters. Instead, talking about how to prevent condensation is simply arming yourself with knowledge (rather than teaching a trade).

Knowing how to prevent condensation is essential to finding the best professionals to prevent the situation in the first place. That’s why we’re here to help!

We can help design and outfit your building to prevent condensation from forming on the underside of your roof. Our experts will help keep your roof dry and your building in great shape for years to come.

If you’re ready to battle condensation, get in touch with us. We’re here to help!