Soffit seepage?

Had a past client ( 2 years ago ) call in regard to something showing up on his soffit. Went over to investigate, reached out an open window and touched substance. Slightly like creosote, dark, sticky. Since I was in charge of the construction, I know there is no ventilation since we used spray foam insulation against the bottom of roof sheathing. We did use 2 rows of ice and water sheild from eve up. Then, a heavy duty building paper ( not felt ) up to the ridge. There is no attic access ( vaulted ceilings )
I’m thinking I may have to remove some of the soffit in order to view. There is a stone fireplace chimney directly above this area that doesn’t show on the pics ( providing I’m able to download them )
Any thoughts/ideas will be appreciated!

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Can you rule out honey bees ? I witnessed similar sticky stains as honey leaking out from between clapboards on an old church. The stud bays were full of honey comb, top to bottom.

Thanks for the thought John, I forgot to mention, I did touch the material oozing out, it was sticky, and touched it to my tounge ( yuk! ) and it did taste oily. I’m pretty sure its a bi-product of the ice and water shield, but can’t figure how it’s getting through the sheathing and t&g soffit material,
or why.

could it be pine sap from green wood?

Since it doesn’t appear that the roof leaks, it does seem that something must be getting “cooked” to a high enough temperature to “release” something, be it pine sap or asphalt oils form modified bitumen. You said you built and insulated this detail, did you foam up the roof overhang completely solid ?? Is this the warm or shady side of the house? does the opposite end/side have the same detail and behave the same ?
just wondering,

Yes I was in charge of the project and believe they only sprayed several inches of foam on bottom of sheathing, very little in the soffit area. The problem area is on the sunrise side of the home, no other areas are effected. I might add, this portion is a about a 6/12 pitch, the rest of the home is 12/12 I’m thinking heat build up, but how is it getting “through” the sheathing onto the top of the soffit?

If the chimney has leaks and the damper is open, condensation containing creasote ???

Try to light it with a match.

Here’s something to consider.
This occured to me because I just came from a tenant’s house. She was complaining about the “syrupy gunk” on the ceiling and walls of her shower.
I went over to look and, after some investigation in the garage, found that she had used oil-based paint to repaint the bathroom. I love tenants who paint, but in this case her boyfriend chose the wrong paint. The oil in the oil-based paint is heavier than water, so when the paint becomes wet from her long, relaxing showers, and since oil and water don’t mix, and since oil is heavier than water, the heavier oil is separating from the paint and coagulating on the surface. I suppose the water is taking it’s place in the paint? The paint was alligatoring, even though she said they had only painted it last Labor Day.

  1. One NEVER isulates the roof decking. Insulation, even on a cathedral ceiling is supposed to be on the ceiling, not the roof side.

  2. One ALWAYS ventilates the underside of the roof.

  3. I have seen this many times in such situations where there is no ventilation under the roof decking. Unfortunately, in all thos cases the roof decking (OSB) was rotted.

Oil in paint is now heavier than water? Perhaps the area was not prep’d correctly.:wink:

Any chance of vermin entry? Perhaps a nest of squirels or chipmunks? Condensation causing feces to wash through soffit? Lack of soffit vents appear to be absent as well.

Raymond Wand
Alton, ON

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Seeing these photos, I will have to agree with Raymond that the inadequacy of proper soffit vents has cause moisture to accummulate in the area caused by heat loss at the soffitit area and impoper ventilation of the attic space.

Moisture could have also caused rusting of all the nails that were used to nail the bead board I observed.

Hope this helps.


Thanks guys for the comments, I think come springtime weather, I have the effected soffit removed for a good “look see” . I’ll let everyone know what I found for future reference.

In this case, yes, because it’s not 100% oil. It’s a mixture of gunk, but its base is oil. There’s also heavy oil and light oil, though. They sell at different prices and are used to create different products. I believe lightweight crude is the most popular because it is the most versatile as far as what can be made from it.

I wouldn’t be taste testing anymore of the stuff until I found out for sure it is not squirrel crap (or rat) as someone mentioned.

i don’t mean to be nit picky (but we all should), oil is “atomicly” lighter than water. that’s why in an oil spill the oil floats. not sure if that affects your theory, but thought i’d mention it.

You’re not being nitpicky, just uninformed. There are many different types of crude oil, the most popular being lightweight crude because it is so versatile in what can be made from it. Yes, lightweight crude floats. Heavy crude does not because it has more gunk in it.

Also keep in mind that oil-based paints are just that, “oil-based.” That means that there is much more in them than oil, and it is that “oil base” that separates from the paint and creates a gooey, syrupy gunk.

Also remember that in a bathroom, you have steam, which definitely is lighter than all oils. Steam rises. Since there is no where to go while you’re taking a shower or bath with that inefficient or non-working exhaust fan, it will force itself into the paint, forcing the “oil base” out, thereby creating that syrupy gunk.

At least that’s what Peter Gaeta of Gaeta Painting tells me. He says don’t put oil-based paints in bathrooms because it’s not a question of “if” you’ll get syrupy gunk, it’s a question of when.

I think it is ‘rot juice’, especially if the roof decking is OSB.

Ray. i had no idea that oil could sink. thanx for the education. it also makes me think of the cases when you have a ventilation soffit running threw the lav. and the humidity causes duct work and hardware to rust, even metal corner bead will show curosion threw the paint. that theory could also apply, if not for the “goowy” part.