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Condensation and Termites

Condensation, Termites and other Timber pests

Ceiling Insulation

When air is cooled, its ability to retain water vapour is reduced and it condenses (merges into large drops of water) on colder surfaces. In most cases this condensed water evaporates again, but sometimes a wall, floor or ceiling may remain wet for days, or even months.

This may lead to corrosion (rusting) of nails and fastenings, sagging of ceilings, rotting of framing timbers and encouragement of mould growth or timber pest activity such as termites.

There has been a trend in the warmer climes over the last 30 years to retrofit roof void insulation and air conditioning to older homes. During our Building and Pest Inspections we are seeing an increasing number of problems stemming from this combination of “improvements”. For Example: In a hot humid summer the occupier of a home has their air conditioning running. The ceiling sheeting is cooled buy the cooler air in the room below. The humid air in the roof void is then cooled by the cooler ceiling sheeting and condensation occurs. This condition in turn increases the moisture content of the ceiling joists and battens to a point were condition conducive to fungal decay, borers, and termites are created. When ceiling insulation is then introduced, evaporation of the condensation is prevented making the situation worse.

So why is this a termite issue?

When timbers moisture increases above 15% a commonly present soil bacteria called “Actinomycetes” multiplies rapidly in the damp timber environment. This bacterium produces CO2 and other gaseous compounds. These compounds also responsible for the present smell of freshly turned soil. Termites have evolved over millions of years to be attracted to these compounds and will move from the ground towards this damp timber and establish a feeding site. It is not uncommon for termites to bypass many meters of timber framing to establish a feeding site where there is a warm, high moisture and stable environment under the insulation in the roof void.

Building design must take many interrelated factors into account if condensation is to be eliminated. Such factors include orientation, temperature and relative humidity differentials, shading, ventilation, methods of heating and cooling, building techniques, use of materials of low or high thermal capacity, function of the building, and living habits of the occupants.

The aim should be to always:

  • Keep materials and structures above the “dew point” temperature
  • Keep air spaces well ventilated to allow re-evaporation

Moist air should be kept away from cold surfaces (e.g. by using a vapour barrier, i.e. a thin membrane of low water vapour permeability). Ventilation which encourages warm moist air escape is critical and an effective solution that minimizes condensation. This is provided in roofs with airspace above the insulation systems by ridge vents or end wall louvers.

ABIS building and pest inspections are conducted to the highest standard by building inspectors with a minimum of 10 years experience together with the highest professional qualifications in their field. ABIS has been in business over 27 years conducting both building and timber pest inspections.

Our highly recommended home inspectors are all long term trusted employees not here today gone tomorrow sub-contractors. ABIS Inspectors are supported by a unique computer aided inspection system and the latest inspection equipment such as high sensitivity thermal cameras costing thousands of dollars that others don’t often have.

When you book a pre-purchase inspection with ABIS, our friendly local (they know the area and are not in a interstate or overseas call centre) staff will make the whole process easy for you. Our Office team make all the arrangements with you, your agent, the vendor, the tenant (if there is one) and you will be sent an email to confirm the inspection time along with a pre-engagement letter which covers the scope of the inspection. Good communication and local knowledge are key to you getting the most out of your building and pest inspection. We are always happy to answer all your questions and you are most welcome to be on site when we do the inspection. Our technology, systems and processes also mean you get your high quality report shortly after your inspection is completed.

And all this for an incredible low price.

Service Areas

Area Map The Peninsula Moreton Bay Area East Brisbane Redland Bay Area Gold Coast Ipswich Brisbane West Brisbane Northside Brisbane Southside Logan City

ABIS The 1st Choice in Building & Pest Inspections