Replacing a Roof With Wet Insulation

Every roof eventually has a problem with leaks or needs some maintenance. In our introduction to replacing roofs we suggested that there are a variety of reasons a roof may need replacement. Here is the first one.

Is Your Roof Leaking on a sunny day?

Perhaps you've noticed an odd phenomenon. It rains one day and of course your roof leaks. You put a bucket under it until the rain stops and carry on with your business. A few days after the rain it the weather becomes sunny and hot, and suddenly the roof starts leaking again! Though this may be confusing at first there is a simple explanation for this common occurence, though it almost certainly indicates a problem with your roof. 

When water held in a roof in the insulation heats up, the water and the roofing materials all expand causing the water to move much more freely, and perhaps falling into your building as an annoying leak.

Is Your Roofing Insulation a Sponge?

Insulation in the roof can potentially hold water when a leak becomes serious enough. This is especially true of Fiberboard type insulations. Fiberboard insulation is a natural fiber insulation that is inexpensive, and no longer in common use. It is no longer in common use because it has the unwanted capability of holding water. When it dries after having been wet it will lose it's structure and disintigrate. Quite often when replacing a roof this is the type of insulation we remove before inststalling the new roof. The insulation is often in such bad condition that it must be scooped away with shovels, as seen here in this photo.


For this reason Kevin Lyman Roofing Co. will only install Polyisocyanurate insulation, a modern insulation with low water absorption, high r-value (insulation ability), strong fire resistance, and long life-span. 

What Lies Beneath: Subsurface Problems Lurking in a Roof With Wet Insulation

A roof with wet insulation is a problem that will only lead to more problems if it isn't fixed right away. As we've already noted, the insulation itself will quickly deteriorate. As you may have already noticed, the roof can begin leaking at odd times as the water stored in the roof finds it's way into your building in hot weather. Aside from these problems, the screws holding the insulation in place will begin to pop up through the rubber adding more holes to the roof. Finally the water sitting in the roof can cause the deck of your roof, the part underneath the insulation and the rubber, to rust or deteriorate. This compromises the structural integrity of the roof, creating a potentially dangerous and potentially very expensive to fix situation. An example we have encountered is pictured here.


If you have a roof that leaks on warm sunny days, there is a good chance the insulation has become saturated with water. If it is an older roof there is the possibility that it was installed with fiberboard insulation. We recommend calling for an inspection right away as any problem you have will only become worse over time. On the bright side, if you do have a roof with wet insulation there is always the possibility that we can fix it without having to replace the roof. The situation may call for either a simple patch if caught early enough, or a small sectional replacement.

What You Need To Do About It

The point is any problem like this can only get worse without care. So when your roof is leaking, don't delay and call for inspection and maintenance right away! It will save you from bigger and more expensive problems in the future. 

Brian Lyman