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Residential Leak Investigation

Architect > detaiLAB
Project Type > Single Family Residential

DetaiLAB was engaged to investigate a leak on the 2nd floor and the garage below.  The home owner reported ice forming on the roof edge.   Prior to detaiLAB's investigation, the owner received conflicting opinions regarding the cause of the leaks.   Based on the reported issues, detaiLAB suspected the attic was improperly ventilated and conducted a study. 

In the winter, the attics of ventilated roofs should be close to the outdoor temperature.  Water leaks can occur if snow melts and refreezes on the roof surface.   Infrared thermography revealed that during strong west winds, air was being pulled out of the attic on the one side.   With traditionally designed homes, this air exfiltration could be replaced from another eave.  However, home designs such as this include a finished attic on one side of the home, reducing opportunities for eave vents.  This issue as well as other construction issues created a ventilation imbalance.

Based on detaiLAB's research, this phenomena does not appear to be well documented or understood in the industry.  DetaiLAB provided recommendations for addressing the imbalance.  

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