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Community and Q&A

Virginia: High wind and rain lead to cathedral ceiling stains

shaskill | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

I know, can lights are bad. Our builder was supposed to know better. We have 13! Ceiling stains occur even when we are away for a month or more. Obvious mistakes are ridge vents that allow rain to blow in, ridge only partly vented.

Where do I find professional help to diagnose and recommend repairs? Our builder hopes the issue will go away and ends up asking us what do we think should be done. We need to pursue an independent, potentially legal approach. The house is 4 years old, 3600 ft. elevation in the open on the Blue Ridge. Real winds and horizontal rain are not uncommon. I need names of possible companies, individuals that can advise for fees.

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  1. charlie_sullivan | | #1

    You could try BPI and Resnet to find certified professionals.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    If you know that these stains are associated with high wind and rain, then I don't think these stains have anything to do with the recessed can lights. This sounds like a case of a leaky ridge vent.

    The simplest solution is simply to remove the ridge vent, and to install cap shingles at the ridge (or, if your roof doesn't have asphalt shingles, a metal ridge cap with an adequate lap over the top courses of roofing).

    Building codes don't require ridge vents, even for unconditioned vented attics. For more information on code requirements for attic vents, see All About Attic Venting.

  3. Dana1 | | #3

    BTW: Swapping out the 65-75W R30s for 8-9W dimmable LED R30/BR30s would mean never having to change a high-ceiling bulb again, and would cut down on the air conditioning load. They're pretty cheap when you buy them by the case- you could swap them all for about $100.

    I recently did this for a friend using some MaxLite HC8BR30DLED27 warm-whites (which were subsidy priced at $2/pop by the local utility). You can buy them via internet for about $7/per in 4-packs. The dimming range was very decent, as was the color rendering & overall light quality. There are numerous others.

  4. Expert Member

    Hey - don't forget us up here. Our Canadian codes do require that roof ventilation be (roughly) equally divided between soffits and the roof peak.

  5. shaskill | | #5

    Thanks all. Will have my metal roof repaired with high wind ridge venting over the entire length. Guess while I am at it, I will put seals on then cans and install LED bulbs.
    Ceiling has been patched several times and with correct lighting you can see the entire ceiling is in waves. I worry the insulation is damp from the improper venting. Is it feasible to blow air up the soffits and measure output at the ridge or will it be possible to see down to the soffit when the ridge vent is being replaced? Again thanks

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    Q. "I worry the insulation is damp from the improper venting."

    A. Do you have access to the attic? If so, the easiest way to tell if you have damp insulation is to go up there and feel it.

    Q. "Is it feasible to blow air up the soffits and measure output at the ridge?"

    A. No. Attic venting requirements aren't based on scientific principles, and researchers have learned that creating an airtight ceiling is much more important than attic venting. Again, I urge you to read All About Attic Venting.

    Since an airtight ceiling is important, it's good that you are planning to address those recessed can lights. Here is a link to an article with more information: Recessed can lights.

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