Dripping wet cedar soffits – cause? (not a roof leak)

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scandimod
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Dripping wet cedar soffits – cause? (not a roof leak)

Postby scandimod » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:47 pm

Another conundrum from rainier/cooler climes; any and all suggestions appreciated …

A few days ago we noticed that the tongue in groove cedar soffits were literally dripping wet along the entire north side of the house, where there is a row of clerestory windows between the beams. There was also moisture present to varying degrees on the other soffits, but it was hard to see because of the poor state of the soffit paint and/or its dark colour.

On this north soffit in the pics below, this past fall the cedar was restored and repainted with a light grey solid stain. The brown drips must be tannin leaching out from the cedar.

The moisture source can only be a roof leak or condensation, but there is no way the roof, a 2 ply torch-on membrane, is leaking. So what could be the source of the condensation? I can only assume it must be related to the amount of snow we’ve had in the last few weeks. At least 2 feet or more on my roof, with melting in between, so a layer of ice would have formed in there somewhere. I’m guessing the soffit would have been very cold, especially since the 2â€￾ of rigid insulation on top of the roof (under the torch-on membrane) extends only to the exterior wall (to create a built-in gutter).

Surely the condensation can’t be caused by heat radiating from the windows and hitting the underside of the cold soffit … could it be that the outdoor air temp was warmer than the underside of the soffit and condensed on it? It did warm up quite a bit this past week and now we have been whacked by extremely heavy rainfall. Still, I would have thought that outside air circulation would take care of any moisture formation.

Now that most of the snow has melted off the roof, the soffits have pretty much dried off underneath, maybe because they have warmed up. But now I’m wondering whether I should be shoveling snow off my soffits in winter to prevent this happening again … the thought of climbing a ladder every year to clean off the soffits has left me in a cold sweat. Any thoughts, suggestions about what likely caused this problem? Has anyone else ever experienced it? Thanks.


Uninsulated soffit/gutter on north side

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The problem

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Note how wet the unpainted cedar is

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Underside of fir beams also wet (some beams were restored with WoodEpox and are not yet painted/stained)

Image

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