Why Roof Ventilation is Important
You want a beautiful roof with quality shingles in a color that matches your home, neat detail work, and straight, clean lines. We can do that. However, what’s going on underneath your roof, in the attic space, is just as important.
The movement and temperature of air under your roof can affect the lifespan of your roof, and can dramatically change your heating and cooling bills. So let’s learn a little bit about what happens in your attic.
What is the attic?
Under the decking of your roof is a space of open air or insulation, this is called the attic. Even if there isn’t a walkable space, every home has this area for ventilation.
How does my attic temperature affect my home?
Because heat rises, this space under the roof can trap hot air rising through your home and create a stuffy, stifling pocket of air. Signs of this warm air getting trapped can vary, but you may have noticed this the last time you went looking in the attic for that old box of baseball cards.
Is hot air bad for my attic?
In the warmer months of spring and summer, trapped hot air can affect the temperature of your entire house. The hot air sitting in the attic space will drive up your cooling costs.
During the winter, the problems are different. Your furnace isn’t heating your attic, but poor insulation of your home could lead to hot air getting into your attic space. When snow sits on your roof, hot air in the attic can melt that snow, creating water and ice that will threaten the integrity of your roof. Ice dams may build up over time, and they can damage your shingles and even the roof decking underneath.
Fixing Attic Ventilation
Unless there is a way for the hot air to escape, it will continue to build up and be trapped. That’s why most building codes require some type of roof venting. With a ridge vent installed, the hot air can rise out of the attic space.
Many types of venting exist such as box vents and wind vents, but we recommend ridge venting for almost all homes. Ridge vent runs the length of the building’s peak, providing a way for air to escape, while keeping the ridge watertight.
Soffit is installed under the eaves of roofs, to close the underside of the overhang. With vents installed in the soffit, hot air can rise out the ridge vent, sucking cool air in through the soffit vent.
A successful ridge vent and soffit vent setup will create a continual cycle of fresh air under your roof, keeping temperatures normalized as well as preventing damaging moisture buildup.
Talk to a Roofing Professional
Whether you’re installing a new roof or improving your old one, talking to a professional roofer about your ventilation needs is a must. Make sure your roof installer carries high quality venting materials and is prepared to provide excellent ventilation for your roof.
Remember, your roof is about more than what you see on the surface!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2020.