Moisture Control for Your Northern Michigan Custom Home - featured image

Moisture control is one of the most critical concerns when building a quality custom home. Northern Michigan’s climate has abundant rain and snow that must be managed to maintain a dry and healthy home.

Excess or unwanted moisture inside your home can lead to mold and mildew, wood rot, damage insulation, and even attract termites and other pests.

Lakeshore Custom Homes takes special care and consideration when planning and building your new home, from the foundation to the roof and everything in between.

Keeping Moisture Out of The Home Is the First Line of Defense

Site Prep and Foundation

Preparing your building site is the very first step. Next, we examine the building site and determine the proper grading to help move water away from the house.

Then the foundation is designed with drainage to move water away from the house. Next, waterproof coatings are added to the exterior of the foundation to keep moisture out. Finally, depending on the water table, a sump pump system may be required and, if so, designed to evacuate the water efficiently.

Vapor barriers are used in crawl spaces to prevent moisture that can rise from the soil.


Before exterior siding is applied, we wrap the home with a water-resistant membrane. This membrane protects the wood from any moisture that might find its way past the siding and protects the home during construction. In addition, we use treated wood in appropriate locations to ensure longevity.

This wrap is carefully overlapped into window and door openings so that when the windows and doors are installed, a waterproof barrier is present to help avoid moisture from finding its way inside. In addition, windows and doors receive flashings to create an overlapping physical barrier and help move moisture away from their framework.

Any holes to accommodate exhaust fans, dryer vents, plumbing, electrical outlets, and utilities also receive similar treatment to keep moisture out. Additionally, caulking is used where necessary to create a pliable seal that can accommodate temperature changes and avoid cracking over time.


Modern roofs are designed to move water, ice, and snow away from the house and protect the underlying insulation and air gap within the attic space.

Shingles and a water-resistant underlayment protect the underlying roofing materials and allow the water to drain away. In addition, gutters and downspouts provide a means to direct the water further away from the home and foundation.

Regardless of which roofing material you choose, we always follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines to achieve the best results and protect your investment.

Special attention is given to roof valleys, dormers, gables, chimneys, skylights, and vents since these all need appropriate flashings.

Ventilation of the attic area is essential so that this space remains dry and allows the insulation to create an effective thermal barrier. In addition, ventilation helps eliminate condensation that can occur as outside temperatures fluctuate. Soffit and ridge vents are the most common method of achieving this. However, other techniques might be used depending on your individual home design.

Special Considerations for Ice and Snow

During the freezes-thaw cycle of winter and as winter ends and spring arrives, melting snow and ice need proper drainage.

Step flashings are critical in northern Michigan due to our large snowfalls. We are mindful of how snow may drift and accumulate on your roof. When the snow melts, it could seep behind the siding. To prevent this, we install appropriate flashing that creates an additional barrier and directs the moisture away.

Ice barriers prevent water from collecting between the edge of the shingles and the underlying wooden roof structure. A special membrane underlayment is used to protect the wooden roof decking. Heated eaves are a potential option that can help prevent ice dams. Contact us so we can discuss the pros and cons of this based on your roof and home design.

Controlling Moisture Inside Your Home

While Northern Michigan isn’t terribly humid, our changing seasons and variable weather mean that all homes will have a certain degree of moisture inside.

One of the ironies of creating a tightly sealed home is that while it can keep moisture out, it can also trap moisture inside. This means that extra attention to ventilation is important.

Cooking and bathing are two significant sources of moisture that can be controlled with ventilation. Range hoods and bathroom ventilation fans are the norms in modern homes.

Condensation from central air systems can be controlled by insulating ductwork. In addition, whole-house dehumidifiers and moisture extraction systems can help manage the interior air humidity making your home healthier and more comfortable.

Winter will usually mean a drop in humidity. While this is welcome to an extent, too dry of air can make it feel cold, damage wooden furniture, lead to dry, itchy skin and eyes, and can even impair one’s immune system. A well-planned heating and cooling system can address both summer humidity and winter dryness.


Landscaping can play an essential role in managing moisture too. In addition to grading, what you plant can assist in helping to absorb water and minimize erosion. Certain plants absorb more moisture from the soil than others. Also, be sure to leave enough space between the house and shrubs and plants to promote airflow.

Avoid planting trees with wide-spreading root systems, as these can crack or damage the foundation or drainage system. Keep this in mind if your home has a leech field and septic system.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

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