Over the last year, I’ve been asked by several do-it-yourselfers how to prevent either interior condensation or external ice damming from occurring at their homes.

Most of these issues are located around second-floor bathrooms, which are rooms that have elevated concentrations of interior moisture and Wintertime heat. Inevitably, it comes down to proper insulation techniques.

Any home built prior to the 1970s, most likely, will have inadequate wall and roof insulation. The roofs in older homes typically have smaller structural members, which provide insufficient space for standard fiberglass (batt) insulation used in residential construction. If an older home received a major remodel, the new installation techniques might be incorrect. Or, they may neglect the transition to the areas not remodeled, thus creating a roof ventilation problem. When insulating an older home, the most appropriate solution is never straightforward.

This article Remodeling for energy efficiency (originally published in Fine Homebuilding by the building envelope gurus at the Building Science Corporation) highlights a few excellent home remodel examples for increasing insulating to an existing residence, while preventing condensation within the exterior wall and roof cavities caused by vapor migration. For homeowners who are considering a remodel or new home construction, their website has additional information on this subject.

The Wisconsin’s Uniform Dwelling Code doesn’t provide much help discerning the best solution for your property, and depending on which contractor or builder you talk with, you’ll get a different answer. Different insulation combinations, roof configurations, and other materials require different solutions. At Hoffmans Architecture, we help homeowners navigate this issues by providing the most appropriate solution for their home, through graphic details, material specifications, and by reviewing a contractor’s bid and proposed solution. If you’re considering an improvement to your property, please contact Aaron Hoffmans, AIA at 414-600-1180 or for a consultation.