Your Place: Call and expert to assess insulating A-frame

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Q: We have a tall A-frame-type cabin. After a frost and then a thaw, or when the temperature hits 70 or higher, condensation happens inside our house and water drips from the beams onto our nice wood floor.

We leave our ceiling fan on when we go to work and some windows open, but still the drips. What can we do?

A: Improper ventilation and insulation of home attic space can produce high humidity levels and trap moisture that produces condensation. But from what Iíve seen, a lot of A-frame houses donít have attics, so condensation moves down to the next level.

You need to reduce the humidity level in your living space so the warm, damp air that rises and condenses on the cooler ceiling doesnít rain on your parade (and floor).

Iíd suggest getting in an insulation contractor to see what can be done to correct the problem before mold and mildew get started. The corrective action you have taken just isnít enough.

The first summer I moved into my current house, I noticed dampness on the floor of my normally bone-dry basement. It was summer, the humidity levels in the basement were high, and condensation was forming on the outside of the air-conditioning ducts ó enough to drip on the floor.

A properly sized dehumidifier solved my problem, even though some experts tell me that dehumidifying a space simply creates dry space for more humid air to penetrate the basement walls. Meaning that the dehumidifier has to run pretty much all the time, adding considerably to your utility bill.

Q: I would like to move my laundry room to the second floor of my rowhouse. I know this comes with risk. Is there anything I can do to minimize the risk.

A: Your plumber or contractor would be the best judge of this. Reinforcing the floor and putting a catch pan under the washer would solve potential shake-and-leak problems.

Moving the laundry room is a good step for resale, however, because most buyers would rather not go to the basement to do their wash.