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MARLEY ETERNIT - Social Housing Provider Heeds Ventilation Advice

A registered provider of social housing in the north east of England welcomed advice from leading roofing manufacturer, Marley Eternit when it helped to resolve issues with roof ventilation.

The project included the re-roofing of 62 homes in Bedlington, South East Northumberland, which are owned and managed by the Bernicia Group, and it serves as an important reminder of the need for ventilation.

Bob Miller, project coordinator at Bernicia Group, said: “Initially, we believed that roof void ventilation would not be required as a vapour-permeable underlay was to be used. Marley Eternit had advised us to provide ventilation at the eaves and ridge but we felt that this would be over-specifying.

“However, a few weeks after completing a property a tenant discovered that areas of the underlay were covered in droplets of condensation and that the insulation beneath was wet. On investigation we found that the contractors had failed to leave the recommended gap in the underlay along the line of the ridge

“We asked the contractors to return to rectify the situation and the problem cleared up very quickly. This really does prove that the use of a vapour-permeable underlay does not remove the need for adequate ventilation.”

In cold and damp conditions condensation can form on the underside of roof tiles as well as the roof underlay, causing water droplets to form in the batten void and roof space. This can cause damage to timber battens, rafters, fixings and insulation, as well as any items left in a loft space. In the worst cases the build up of condensation and moisture can be so severe that it penetrates the ceiling causing damage to rooms below.

Charlotte Hughes, campaign manager at Marley Eternit, said: “There is a bit of a roofing myth that if you use a vapour permeable underlay, then you don’t need to think about ventilation. However, that is definitely not the case. The only exception to this is when a building has been designed so that no warm moist air can get into the roof space, which is very unlikely in the UK as most of our buildings do not meet PassivHaus standards for air tightness yet.

“BS5250 ‘Code of practice for the control of condensation in buildings’ is currently being revised and will aim to clarify the recommendations concerning roof ventilation and the guidance to be adopted when using vapour permeable (LR) and impermeable (HR) underlays.”

Bob Miller concluded: “The advice we received from Marley Eternit was incredibly useful as, without it, we would likely have needed to consider further costly work to the roofs to rectify much greater problems.”

The project used Marley Eternit’s Thrutone fibre cement slates along with dry fix fittings and eaves ventilation.

E-mail Marley Eternit


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