Using atomic force microscopy we investigated how local capillary phenomena are affected by the deposition of a self-assembled 1,4-benzenedimethanethiol (BDMT) layer on epitaxially grown Au(1 1 1) and Ag(1 1 1) films. Force-distance curves monitored at varying relative humidity show clear differences in the adhesion forces on the different samples, which can be explained in terms of a change in the wetting behavior due to the presence of the molecules. Moreover, we found that not only the chemical structure of the molecules but also their orientation strongly influences the strength of the capillary forces. A detailed analysis of the measurements shows that condensation of water vapor on Au(1 1 1) films is drastically enhanced due to the vertically aligned BDMT molecules, while on Ag(1 1 1) water condensation is reduced due to a parallel molecule orientation. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.