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Roof Ventilation

Is attic ventilation important?

Is attic ventilation important?

Roofing and Attic Ventilation

Let’s talk about roof ventilation for just a moment. I’m sure this is not a topic that’s on your mind all the time but since you are reading this, I’m guessing that it is right now. Let me start by saying that roof ventilation plays a key role in many aspects of your homes day-to-day functionality. Ensuring that you have the proper and balanced amount of ventilation in your attic can help ensure your home and roofing system have a longer lifespan. Not to mention how ventilation can and does have a direct impact on the overall comfort and health of your home and Family. The added benefits of having proper and balanced roof ventilation is that your energy costs and future home repairs may be greatly lowered.

Roof Ventilation
Photo credit: https:buildingscience.com

Having  proper and balanced ventilation in your attic helps to reduce the excess heat and moisture that can otherwise cause major problems down the road and in some cases, immediate problems. It should be noted that the problems that are the result of poor or inadequate ventilation can and will be different in the different climate zones.

When the outside temperature is hot, the roof takes the initial heat beating but ultimately transfers the heat directly into your attic ultimately causing an increase in temperature within your attic space. Additional issues that often occur is the roof deck can begin to warp causing your shingles to greatly reduce not only it’s effectiveness but it’s overall life span. Once the heat is transferred into your attic space, your next line of defense is your homes insulation. If you do not have proper insulation, then your homes living space will then  become uncomfortable, thus requiring you to utilize your air conditioning system more often and for longer periods of time. Other problems that a shingle roof can sustain as a result of poor ventilation is blistering, curling and becoming brittle. These are all issues that can eventually cause leaks. Unfortunately, many times, issues like blistering are not covered by insurance companies because it can be considered a manufacturer defect.  

If you are in an area where you see freezing or below freezing temperatures, you have to worry about the warm air from your living space, getting into your attic space. We all know heat rises, so the heat will start to warm the underside of your roof deck, melting any snow or ice on top. Water will then drain down your roof towards the freezing edges of your home. once the water reaches the edge of your home, the water can refreeze. If the water refreezes, it can form what is called an ice dam. The ice dam can then push the draining water underneath the shingles causing all sorts of problems like leaks. To help avoid this issue, proper and balanced ventilation can help move this warm air out of your exhaust vents. In a sense, we need to give the air a path of least resistance outside of our home instead of allowing it to heat up the bottom of the deck. Something else that needs to be mentioned here, especially for our cold climate friends, is that you need to ensure that your roofing contractor is utilizing Ice & Water Shield along the perimeter of your roof and also in every valley, along all walls and around every penetration. Many times, our homes problems are moisture related. Humidity, is generated from within the living space of your home in many ways. Breathing, cooking, showering and even the building materials in your home release moisture. When these vapors escape our living space and enters into the cool attic, the vapors can condenses into a liquid. Eventually, the moisture can cause deterioration of the roof system, interior damage and even could cause health issues for your family.

Spotting the Signs of Improper Ventilation

Poor or inadequate attic ventilation can cause a variety of problems that reveal themselves in different ways.

Here are some less noticeable and some seriously noticeable things to watch out for:

  • An unexpected increase in your utility bill
  • An uneven or wavy appearance of your roof. This is indicative of a warped deck.
  • Any water stains beneath the roof deck. 
  • Any increased discomfort relating to allergies or respiratory illness. This may be related to the growth and spreading of fungi spores.

What to Do About a Poorly Ventilated Attic

If you believe you may have a ventilation problem, we suggest to have your attic inspected by a trusted roofing contractor. Make sure that the contractor you use is familiar with building codes and uses best practices. Your contractor should be able to tell you how much ventilation you need. Typically, minimum code requires one square foot of net free ventilation for every three hundred square feet of attic floor space.

Some of the solutions could include:

  • adding additional exhaust vents or ridge vents, or even Installing continuous soffit vents along the outer edge of the eaves
  • Consulting with an Insulation professional

If you would like more information concerning your roof ventilation system, or would like for us to provide a free inspection, please contact us today. 817-576-8797. You can also reach us by email at rick@fortisroofing.com.

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