Maybe you already understand how important roof ventilation can be, but in order to protect a major investment like a roof and the home that sits under it, there are certain guidelines to follow when it comes to roof ventilation. The flow of air in and out of your intake and exhaust system really is important to the life of your roof and home.
There are ways to create a flow of air within the attic of your home to protect it and your roof. Ventilation works when the air flows, and in order to maintain that flow, there are sources that create it, which include both mechanical and natural means. Mechanical means require a source of power, and natural means operate on the stack and wind effect.
Stack and Wind Effect
The stack effect refers to hot air rising and creating an increased pressure at high spots in an attic. The escape of hot air is called exhaust and it cannot escape without an entrance (intake) for lower pressure cooler air; whereas, the wind effect has to do with the wind that blows against a roof and increases the amount of intake and exhaust. Both of these processes produce a natural air flow to maintain a vented attic.
Types of Roof Ventilation
Every home has a roof ventilation system that is geared to that home. When ventilating a home, there are code requirements to fulfill, climate concerns, and the overall design of a roof and ceiling. All these factors have to be taken into consideration when thinking about a roof ventilation system.
With roof ventilation systems there are main types that include:
1. Exhaust vents
Exhaust vents simply allow the escape of exhaust, and an everyday type of exhaust vent is a ridge vent, which is installed where two roof planes or ridges meet. They are usually made of copolymer that is molded and can take strong impact. They are installed underneath the last layer of shingles and provide a roof with a seamless appearance.
More visible exhaust vents are wind turbines, gable louvers, roof lovers and power attic ventilators that are placed on the outside of a roof. All of these vent sources, including the ridge vents, do not require electricity. Wind turbines also don’t require power, but they are dependent on a steady flow of wind and are not as productive as ridge vents.
A mechanical exhaust vent source is a power attic ventilator, which requires a source of power. This type of option is used with specific roof designs and in areas where a steady flow of wind is lacking.
2. Intake Vents
Intake vents are also fabricated from copolymer materials, and they are found at roof edges and can be installed at a drip edge, under the shingles, or under the soffit at the eaves of a roof. Intake vents work along with ridge vents to permit cool air to come into an attic space, which forces any warm air to go out through the ridge vents.
Benefits of Roof Ventilation
Understanding venting and how to do it is important, but the actual benefits of roof ventilation are equally important, particularly when it comes to protecting your investment. Those benefits include:
1. Lengthening Your Roof’s Life
With proper ventilation, a roof’s life can be extended, especially when a roof is faced with serious issues like snow or ice buildup (ice damming), which can cause serious damage to the edge of a roof. This damage occurs because of heat from an attic that combines with the sun’s heat and melts any snow or ice on a warm roof. Water is produced through the melting process and it runs down to the edge of the roof and eventually refreezes. A buildup can occur at the roof’s edge, which can create a backup behind or beneath roofing materials and cause damage to an entire roof system as well as the attic and walls of a home.
If a roof is vented well, any warm air can escape properly before it can melt snow and ice on a roof. When a roof is void of icicles and large areas of ice, and there is some snow, you’ll know that proper venting has taken place.
Ventilation is just as important when the weather is warm. Rising temperatures can cause a roof’s temperature to double and if an attic is improperly vented, the attic will be scorching hot. With a poorly ventilated attic, there is no way for heat to escape, which can cause damage to a roof and its shingles. A properly and evenly vented roof will allow hot air to escape and will keep both the attic and roof cooler.
2. Energy Cost Reduction
An increase in outside temperatures can mean heat buildup and if a roof is properly vented, heat will escape and reduce the impact on an air conditioner. Lower utility bills, as well as the reduced strain on an air conditioner, will definitely be of benefit.
3. Temperature Differentials
An inadequately vented roof can mean temperature differences throughout a house. One part of a home can be a number of degrees warmer while another may be cooler. These temperature extremes can mean that proper ventilation is inadequate. Proper ventilation means hot air will escape and cool air will come into an attic space and keep a house reasonably comfortable throughout the year.
Protecting a home and its roof through proper ventilation is important. If you have questions or concerns with the ventilation of your roof, or just have general questions concerning ventilation, complete the online form and a representative will get back to you with the answers you need to properly ventilate your home.