making decisions about roof replacements

making decisions about roof replacements

How To Determine Whether You Need A Smart Vapor Retarder

by Lorraine Fisher

Traditional vapor retarders can trap moisture in roof cavities during the summer. The roof cavity is the space in-between the inner and outer section of the roof. This trapping of moisture increases the risk that the cavity develops mold problems and rots, which can lead to expensive repairs. Vapor diffusion can result, which can cause moisture to travel to other parts of your building. This is especially a problem if you live in a location that has a cold climate. Fortunately, there are smart vapor retarders that eliminate this risk and you may not even need a vapor retarder at all.

The Benefits Of Smart Vapor Retarders

During periods of high humidity, the vapor retarder becomes more permeable and allows moisture to escape. This allows for the wall to dry more quickly. They are hygroscopic, which means that they absorb water when exposed to humidity in the air. This process opens valves that allow for the water to escape.

What Vapor Retarders Are Made Of

The three main types of materials used for smart vapor retarders are paper, nylon and polyethylene copolymer. The paper is usually reinforced with fiberglass to hold it in place.

Determining Whether you Need One

To determine whether you will need a smart vapor retarder, purchase a software program designed to analyze moisture dynamics. You will need to determine if there is any ventilation, which would make a vapor retarder unnecessary. However, if you aren't sure, it is better to install one as an insurance policy.

Situations Where You Won't Need A Vapor Retarder

The challenge of installing a water vapor retarder is that water moves from the warm side of the building to the cold side. Therefore, you will need different and often contradictory strategies for dealing with water vapor issues. Also, if your building is made from materials that can store water, this can cause further complications. While masonry might act as a buffer and protect your home from moisture, brick veneer can transform into a reservoir that can store water.

Vapor retarders are not even necessary when the materials that the building is constructed from are enough to protect it from moisture. Also, in some areas with an unusually high level of moisture, retarders might not be enough and barriers may be necessary instead. Vapor barriers have a permanence that is low enough to resemble a floor covering, while vapor retarders can have a greater permanence.

If you are having a difficult time protecting your roof from moisture and improving the energy-efficiency of your home, it is best to hire roof contractors specialized in energy-efficient roofing. 


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making decisions about roof replacements

Is the roof on your home ready for replacement? If so, do you know what type of roofing you are going to have installed to replace it? Will you have the existing roof removed, or just have the home re-roofed? You will face several decisions while you work to replace the roof on your home. Scroll through my site to find a great list that can help you decide what product and method of installation will be best for your home. Hopefully, the information provided will take some of the confusion and stress out of this big, important home improvement project.