How it Works: Roofing and Attic Ventilation

How it Works: Roofing and Attic Ventilation

It’s easy to forget about your attic and roofing. The attic is a dark space. You don’t go up there, except maybe to toss a box of junk in the corner. You just don’t think about it.

But forgetting about this place could be a major mistake. The very air that fills it could be dangerous for your home if you’re not careful.

Today, we’ll make the ins and outs of roofing and attic ventilation easy. That way, nothing scary finds its way out of your attic and into your home.

attic and roof ventilation Air and Moisture Accumulate

What’s the big deal with attic ventilation, anyway? It starts with air and moisture.

Imagine a greenhouse. Sunlight filters in, heating up the room. But the heat doesn’t escape and the plants stay happily warm.

A similar process happens with your roof and attic without ventilation. From the sun beating down and hot air in your home rising, your attic space fills with heat and moisture.

Without ventilation, that heat and moisture stays put and intensifies. It can cause a number of problems.

Decreased Energy Efficiency

This hot air can raise your bills by decreasing your home’s energy efficiency.

In the summer, temperatures in an unventilated attic can skyrocket to well over 100 degrees. That makes the rest of your home feel warmer, so your air conditioner has to work harder to keep you comfortable.

In the winter, more moisture is released in your home by your appliances. It raises with heat into your attic, where it’s absorbed into your insulation. Since wet insulation doesn’t hold energy in as well, your heater works harder.

Damage to Your Roofing

If you leave these issues unattended, they can cause serious damage to your roofing. Extreme heat in your attic can affect the shingles and wood framing of your roof, not to mention the ceilings in rooms under your attic.

In the winter, a poorly ventilated attic gets too warm. When snow comes, a warm attic can cause snow to melt and re-freeze into ice dams.

Around 50% of home insurance claims are caused by the weather, and ice dams are a big part of that. They can damage your roof and fall off to hurt anyone on the ground.

How a Ridge Vent Helps

Man Installing Ridge Vent

So, how can you protect your home? The US Federal Housing Administration recommends having one square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of floor space in your attic.

At AWS, we know the best solution is a ridge vent system. Let’s get into how it works.

Ridge Vents

A ridge vent is a small opening at the peak of the roof that runs all the way along the length of the roof. That allows hot air and moisture to escape your home. We also add a cap shingle, which is a long shingle running over the vent to allow outward air flow but prevent anything from getting in.

But the air doesn’t just flow out on its own. That’s why you need soffit vents.

Soffit Vents

Roofing ventilation

Side view of gutter and downspout on a house

Soffits are the part of your roof that overhangs on the side of your house. Vents are strategically installed here to create the air flow your attic needs.

Cool, fresh air flows in from the bottom of the soffit vents. That pushes the hot air and moisture out of the ridge vent, creating a consistent flow that keeps your attic adequately ventilated.

Handling a Gable Vent

Some older homes tackled the ventilation problem with gable vents. A gable vent is installed on the wall on either end of the roof to create air flow from end to end.

A gable vent is inadequate compared to a ridge vent system because it doesn’t create as much air flow. You can add a ridge vent system to a home with a gable vent, but you have to seal up the gable vents to prevent them from interrupting your ridge vent flow.

Protecting Your Home

If you want your attic to remain an area of the home that you don’t have to think about, it’s time to take control of your ventilation.

Adding a few simple vents can save you thousands of dollars in energy bills and damage to your home.

Roofing replacement is an easy time to create a ridge vent system. Contact us, and we’d be happy to assist you with your roofing needs!


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