The Cost of Frost in the Attic

By Joey

Minnesota’s unpredictable winter weather can wreak havoc on a home.  In the last month alone, temperatures have plunged to -30 degrees F and risen back to nearly 50 degrees F. It is these large fluctuations in temperature that can reveal symptoms to underlying problems in a building or structure.
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How is Frost Formed in the Attic?

On a recent inspection, we discovered frost on the underside of our client’s roof deck. This is an obvious indicator that the attic system is failing somewhere.  Typically, this means there are open airways or bypasses that are allowing warm air from inside the building to move up into the attic. When the warm air meets the cold attic components, condensation is formed and freezes when the temperatures drop. The colder the temperatures become, the more frost will accumulate. This is not a problem until the temperatures warm up and the frost begins to melt, permeate existing insulation, and leave visible stains on ceilings.

The issue propagates significantly as moisture continues to penetrate the roof deck. Over time, constant exposure to water (and warm meeting cold in the attic) can lead to delamination of the roof deck plywood. The integrity of the home is at risk when this happens. The solution to this problem is a very expensive one…replacement of the roof deck. Prevention is the best medicine here.



Will adding insulation fix the problem?

No, adding insulation alone will only propagate the frost issue. The attic needs to be addressed in this order:

  • Seal attic bypasses
  • Add insulation
  • Implement proper ventilation

I cannot emphasize how important it is that any open airways leading to your attic be sealed. This is the most important step to creating a healthy attic and eliminating frost accumulation on the roof deck.

Juno Construction is unique because we understand the science behind what makes a healthy functioning home. We will do the job one time, and do it right. With the temperature swings we are having, your home may be susceptible to water damage and plywood delamination. Look for symptoms such as ice dams, leaks, and frost in the attic. If you notice any of these symptoms call Juno Construction today!

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