Attic ventilation is a crucial component of any residential roofing system. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked. Not all attics have adequate ventilation, which is why it pays to give it as much attention as the rest of the roof itself. After all, good ventilation can help ensure the health and performance of your roofing system, as well as have a positive effect on your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. HomeGrown Roofing and Contracting would like to offer some advice on this, to help homeowners avoid long term attic and roofing issues.
The Basics of Attic Ventilation
A well-built residential roofing system has a balanced system of vents, along the soffits and at the topmost part of the roof. The soffit vents are the intake vents, drawing cool, fresh air into the attic. The higher vents are the exhaust vents, allowing warm, humid air to escape the attic. The continuous air circulation keeps attic temperatures within acceptable levels.
The Benefits of Proper Attic Ventilation
Proper ventilation in your attic helps address excess heat and moisture that can otherwise wreak havoc on your home. Heat and moisture buildup in an attic cause predictable but different problems in hot and cold climates; areas with hot summers and cold winters can suffer the effects of both.
Proper Ventilation helps lower attic temperature.
When it’s hot outside, the sun beating down on the roof can increase the temperature in the attic.Exposure to this excessive heat can warp the roof sheathing and distort and prematurely age the shingles. If the attic floor isn’t evenly and adequately insulated, that heat can radiate down into the finished living areas and make it more difficult and costly to keep the living space comfortable. A balanced and effective attic ventilation system helps exhaust superheated air from the attic, reducing the chances of premature deterioration of shingles and other roofing components.
Good Ventilation reduces the risk of ice dams.
During the cold weather months, warm air escaping into the attic from the heated living space below rises to the underside of the roof deck. As the roof deck warms, the bottom layer of accumulated snow on the rooftop begins to melt, causing water to trickle down the roof. Once the runoff reaches the cold outer edge, it refreezes into ice, or can create an Ice Dam. Proper ventilation can help prevent the formation of ice dams. Allowing cold winter air to pass through the attic keeps your roof’s temperature cooler, and helps prevent the cycle of snow melting and refreezing that can cause damaging ice dams.
Humidity, generated from your living area or from outside, that enters a cool attic condenses into a liquid when it meets colder surfaces.
Over time, that moisture can cause deterioration of the roof system and interior structural elements or ruin the attic insulation. In a warm attic, the moisture can allow mold and mildew to flourish and put added strain on the home’s cooling equipment
Proper Ventilation will increase your roof’s life span.
Proper attic ventilation can help extend the life span of your roofing system. Promoting continuous air circulation in and out of the attic minimizes condensation, rot, mold and other issues that may compromise your roof’s performance.
If you decide to your attic or roof’s ventilation yourself, be sure to keep safety in mind. Instead of climbing up on the roof, walk around the outside of your home and look up from ground level using a pair of binoculars. If you head up to the attic, make sure the space is well-lit, that you have a sturdy walking path, and are wearing appropriate protective gear.
If you would like to learn more about proper roof or attic ventilation, or any of the other services provided by Home Grown Roofing and Contracting, check out the many other blog posts on our website.