Condensation and moisture transport in cold roofs: effect of roof underlay
Essah, E. A., Baker, P., Sanders, C. H. and Sasic Kalagasidis, A. (2009) Condensation and moisture transport in cold roofs: effect of roof underlay. Journal of Building Research and Information, 37 (2). pp. 117-128. ISSN 1466-4321
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09613210802645973
Cold pitched roofs, with their form of construction situating insulation on a horizontal ceiling, are intrinsically vulnerable to condensation. This study reports the results derived from using a simulation package (Heat, Air and Moisture modelling tool, or HAM-Tools) to investigate the risk of condensation in cold pitched roofs in housing fitted with a vapour-permeable underlay (VPU) of known characteristics. In order to visualize the effect of the VPUs on moisture transfer, several scenarios were modelled, and compared with the results from a conventional bituminous felt with high resistance (200 MNs/g, Sd = 40 m). The results indicate that ventilation is essential in the roof to reduce condensation. However, a sensitivity analysis proved that reducing the overall tightness of the ceiling and using lower-resistance VPUs would help in controlling condensation formation in the roof. To a large extent, the proposed characteristic performance of the VPU as predicted by manufacturers and some researchers may only be realistic if gaps in the ceiling are sealed completely during construction, which may be practically difficult given current construction practice.