Even the most expensive, highest-quality roof in the world can be ruined when a roofer or home owner cuts corners on ventilation. It’s something that’s easy to overlook and ignore, especially when you’re not up in your attic or on top of your roof very often – if at all.
The extra dollars you spend on ventilation are paid back by the cost savings on your utility bill and the extended life of your roof.
A problem for all seasons
When a roof isn’t properly ventilated, condensation will build up and potentially cause rotting in the roofing materials as well as the roofing deck and support beams. This can happen anytime during the year.
In summer, poor ventilation will also keep hot air trapped in your attic and increase your utility bill. The increased heat will also shorten the life of your roof.
Ventilation is also an issue during winter. Warm air trapped in your attic can melt the snow and ice on your roof everywhere except for the eaves. When this happens, melted water will build up behind the perimeter ice and soak under the shingles and into your house. When these ice dams collapse, they can also rip off shingles and gutters.
Even though some roof vents come with winter covers, it’s usually a bad idea to use them.
Staying in balance
Too much venting can be a problem too. A properly ventilated attic will be a negative pressure zone – outside air will be pulled in and hot air continuously expelled. Too little venting and there won’t be enough air flow.
But if you have too much venting there won’t be any difference in outside or inside air pressure and air won’t flow through at all – rendering all your vents useless. Any unnecessary openings in your roof can be a source of leaks and animal access – so it’s important to find a middle ground.
There are all sorts of options when it comes to roofing ventilation – powered fans, passive fans, under-eave soffits, ridge vents – but the right combination depends on the unique characteristics of your roof. Your roofer should be able to recommend the right ventilation solutions for your particular situation.
If you’d like advice on ventilation for your roof, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call or e-mail and we can visit with you to determine your ventilation needs.