You may not realize it, but your roof is the most significant form of protection for your home. Your roof keeps out the elements and provides insulation, so your home stays comfortable and energy-efficient.
Unfortunately, most modern homes lack adequate roof ventilation. Improper roof ventilation can cause major structural problems for your home. It also makes your home less energy-efficient and increases your energy bills.
In this roof ventilation guide, you’ll learn exactly why proper roof ventilation is one of the most impactful aspects of roof maintenance.
To understand the importance of roof ventilation, you need to understand how proper roof ventilation works. Proper attic ventilation requires intake vents on the soffits and exhaust vents on the roof ridge or peak.
The intake vents draw cool outdoor air in, and the exhaust vents release humid air from the home interior. In this way, the vents create a continuous airflow throughout the entire attic space.
Modern roofs pose a major problem when it comes to proper ventilation. This is because modern roofs are air-tight due to the use of advanced insulation methods and materials.
But an airtight roof is a good thing, right? Yes, modern roofing technology allows for increased energy efficiency. But when outside air can’t get in, it leads to inadequate ventilation and causes trapped heat and condensation.
Trapped heat and condensation will eventually lead to structural issues in your roof, attic, and can spread to other parts of your home. This is why proper roof ventilation is so vital.
The benefits of roof ventilation range from preventing structural damage to improving the energy efficiency of your home. Here’s what you need to know about the specific ways poor roof ventilation can damage your home.
When an attic doesn’t have proper ventilation, it tends to overheat and fill with moisture. Eventually, this built-in moisture will lead to rot and mold. The rot can spread throughout the wood, insulation, and shingles.
Where does all this heat and moisture come from? Homes produce far more heat and moisture than most people realize. Taking a shower, doing laundry, and cooking all produce heat and moisture.
The moisture these activities produce rises toward the ceiling and can end up getting trapped in your attic, especially if your attic floor is not properly insulated. When the heat meets the cold roof barrier, condensation occurs.
Trapped condensation breeds mold and mildew more quickly than you might realize. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to start growing.
Properly ventilating your roof and attic will ensure your insulation remains dry and hot, humid air is able to escape.
Rot and mold are not the only problems built-up condensation can cause. When moist air condenses in your roof, it drips onto your insulation and reduces its effectiveness.
Improper ventilation can also cause your air conditioning to work harder during the hot summer season. If the heat can’t escape your attic, the temperature inside your entire home will rise.
A properly ventilated roof will allow that hot air to escape in the summer and prevent moisture from building in the winter.
When your roof and attic are properly ventilated, you will see the year-round benefits on your energy bill. A cool attic in the summer and a dry attic in the winter increase your energy savings.
Speaking of hot summers and cold winters, an airtight roof will increase the temperature of your home in the summer and cool it in the winter. The opposite of what you want.
When an attic isn’t ventilated, heat gets trapped there and then spreads to the interior of your home. The same happens with cold air in the winter.
Have you ever had the experience of walking up or downstairs and noticing a major temperature change? This is often the result of the ineffective attic and roof ventilation.
When hot and cold air is able to escape your home’s roof properly, you will experience far more consistent and comfortable temperatures inside your home all year.
All that heat building up in your attic in the winter risks the creation of ice dams. Ice dams occur when snow on your roof melts, and then refreezes in your gutters and eaves.
The cycle of freezing and thawing creates water to pool underneath your shingles, boards, and roof decking. It can even reach your walls, sheathing, and damage your walls and ceiling.
When your roof has proper ventilation, it directs the warm air from your home to exit through the roof. That means heat won’t build up in your attic and cause it to overheat.
Proper ventilation also helps keep your attic close in temperature to the outdoors. This prevents the snow on your roof from melting and refreezing into ice dams.
When a roof is not properly ventilated, the lifespan of the roof shortens. This is often the result of mold and rot. When heat builds in a roof, it can also cause damage to the framing, rafters, and underlayment.
Effective ventilation will increase the lifespan of your roof and all of its components.
If you suspect your roof may not have proper ventilation, the best thing you can do is contact a certified roofing specialist. They will be able to assess your roof’s ventilation and take certain important factors into account.
A professional roofer will look at the climate in your area, the age of your roof, as well as the architecture and condition of your roof components. They can even recommend ways to repair or ventilate your attic properly.
Your roofing expert can recommend installing soffit vents and ridge vents to allow cool air in and hot air out. They may recommend sealing your attic floor or insulating the roof’s top plates as well.
Proper roof ventilation is one of the most beneficial aspects of roof maintenance. It increases the lifespan of your roof and prevents mold, rot, and costly damage to your home.
Ventilating your roof can also improve the comfort of your home and reduce your energy costs. To find out more about the advantages of roof ventilation or to schedule a roof inspection, contact Pitch Masters Roofing today.