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I've recently bought a 100 year old wood frame house from a DiY guy who took decent care of the place. He didn't put any insulation in the attic though and my home inspector said insulation is a great easy home improvement project with very little downside or risk.

So among a few other projects, I started buying a batt of 19 faced insulation every time I go to the store, and then laying it piece by piece. My plan was to then buy 30 r insulation unfaced and lay it on top.

But...

We've had some exceptionally hot weather this summer. Today there's a fierce thunderstorm, and I'm sitting by the chimney and I hear drip... Drip... Crap. I run up to the attic, and I have two significant leaks. One from the chimney flashing, and one from the attic vent. Rest of the attic is bone dry.

I run to the basement and there's a stream of water running from the wall. I used to see lots of condensation on the floor but this is visible moving water. Woah, that's new.

Obviously these need fixed, and obviously my insulation needs to air dry now. But the timing has me suspicious. Did I cause the leak? Did the attic overheat and cause something to shift? Or did the ancient chimney just finally wedge the wood frame enough for water?

Should I pull the insulation out and can the whole project? Or fix the leaks and forge ahead?

Thanks for any help.

  • What type/style of vent? – Ecnerwal Sep 6 '15 at 2:59
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    There's no correlation between the insulation and the leaks in the roof. Those are just leaks you need to fix. The running water in the basement is an entirely different problem. And a potentially huge one. I'd suggest you focus on fixing these water issues first for no other reason that water will cause a lot of damage if not taken care of sooner than later. – DA01 Sep 6 '15 at 4:14
  • Today there's a fierce thunderstorm, Umm, there you go, uncommonly intense downpour, water pooling against flaky flashing and of course it's going to leak. Insulation isn't going to cause this to happen, it's just going to happen every time you have this much water hitting your roof. And lots of water going into the ground causes a fracture in the basement wall to stream water. I know a guy whose basement used to flood every time there's an intense thunderstorm, he wrote articles about basement water pressure and the need to have drainage. Again, not the insulation, but the rainstorm. – Fiasco Labs Sep 6 '15 at 4:26
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Correlation is not causation.

No, the insulation did not make your roof leak around the chimney nor at the vent. Being 100 years old (and odds are great someone did something sketchy during one of those years, though even the best construction/repair jobs don't last forever) did that. Rather than chase chimeras, fix the leaks.

  • Thanks. I know the leaks have to be fixed, but I didn't want to reopen them again by not fixing the cause. Just a coincidence! Phew... To the insurance company. – mhbmk2 Sep 6 '15 at 10:34

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