E-mail from prospective client

I recieved this, off my web site e-mail: (name obsured)

"Mr Decker:

I thought I would email rather than call as there are many factors in play here and hard to get them all.

We bought a new construction brick single family home in May 2007 just 30 days after it was finished. The 3rd floor is master bedroom, 2 addtl bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and laundry. Flat roof above that is rolled asphalt I think…not a typical Chicago flat roof.

The 3rd floor was rather humid early and once it got hot outside the returns in the ceiling and recessed can lights on the 3rd floor would drip water. The builder came and sealed the inside of the returns w/ foam insulation. I disagreed and asked about too much condensation in the roof space. We had a roof guy out with thermal imaging, installed 3 turbine vents, another bathroom vent, and still 60% humidity on that level. Finally when they were installing the vent and had the ceiling open (after me asking many times about ventilation) the builder conquered there was too much insulation (blown in) in the roof space. They went into the ceiling in 2 spots and removed insulation, also insulated around the duct work I think.

Since then it is still humid but we did not see signs of water - until 12/08 when it leaked into a closet from where the furnace pipe exits on the roof. And again this winter of 09 when one of the turbine vents leaked. I believe the roofer has corrected these sealing compromises.

To the matter at hand…when it gets hot/humid out the humidity level on the 3rd floor is incredible. 2 weeks ago I noticed the recessed cans looked like a bit of mold around it. When I reached up to inspect I could feel heat coming down from the recessed cans in the ceiling and there was condensation on the light bulbs. In the 2 weeks that have passed with nice hot weather there is now mold around 2 ceiling fans and about 4 recessed can lights. As well as water dripping out of the sconce on the wall going up the stairs to the roof.

The builder sent a contractor out today to look and he thinks it might be the wrong vents on the roof and said there is still too much heat in the roof space. But I can tell by the look on his face he’s guessing.

Our last place was a townhome with a flat rubber roof and I don’t remember so many vents on the roof. Our neighbor does not have all these vents. I have been on the Internet for 3 days straight trying to figure out if its the poorly ventilated roof or if there is water coming in somewhere or where to turn.

I ran across your name at some random contractors site post and was impressed by your web site.

I know this is not enough to go on but I needed to try and reach out to someone that could possibly help. So far our builder is helpful but I wonder if that is even because he knows there is some problem somewhere.

This is keeping me up at night so truly hope someone can help.

I have attached a couple pictures of the fans/ lights.

Could humidity in the roof space be causing all this?

Any insight is appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

(Name Withheld)"

Given the problems with masonry buildings, in the Chicago area, what do you think?

Turns out that the “builder” was a California “Architect” who built three properties in this area, then went back to California.

Truth: California ia NOT Chicago! Different climate, weather, construction and building techniques and standards and what the heck was he thinking.

Going there on Friday and doing a consulation.


  1. The builder grouted between the structural block and the brick veneer.
  2. Parapet wall coping not flashed.
  3. interior walls were (going in) the structural block, the unfaced fiberglass insIlation (in 1 1 3/4" gap with furring strips) then 10 mil plastic then the 5/8" drywall.
  4. Space between the ceiling and roof (flat) was filled with blown-in cellulose.
  5. The Chicago area has 3 humid seasons and is in its third year of ecsessive rainfal; (usually, rain at night with 80 - 90 degree days).


Are points 1-3 assumptions? Or is that what the owner has stated. You said that you are going there on Friday to do a consultation, so can I assume that you haven’t been there yet.

Does the rolled roofing have a ballast on it? Hopefully a lighter colored rock would be able to deflect some of the sun/heat. It’s just a thought that it could be an additional factor. If the roofing leaks have been properly addressed, would a closed cell icynene be able to alleviate the humidity/heat problems?


So… what was the verdict??


“My consultation fees are $100/hour.”