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Does Your Home Need Roof Ventilation?

Ventilation means air flow—is that something your roof needs?  For some homes, it really depends on the climate.  Any home that’s exposed to a hot summer or a cold winter will need proper ventilation in its attic and a part of its roofing system.

Roof Vent

How It Works

The attic is the underbelly of your roof.  It’s an essential component to keeping every part of your roofing system intact and lasting long.  The concept of ventilation in terms of helping your roof means air flowing through the attic to keep temperatures regulated.

For hotter months, this prevents summer heat from becoming trapped in the attic and spiking your home’s internal temperature.  For cooler months, this ventilation means healthy air flow to prevent the cycle of freezing.  Without air flow during the winter, snow will melt unevenly, then freeze with the possibility of forming ice dams.  Ice dams are dangerous, wreaking havoc on your roof’s integrity, not to mention they’re a potential hazard should they slide off and hurt someone.

What It Is

Specifically, roof ventilation can be achieved in the form of exhaust vents or intake vents.  Exhaust vents allow air to escape, and the most common style is a ridge vent.  A ridge vent is installed at a roof’s ridge, the meeting of two roof planes.  The ridge vent sits beneath the final layer of shingles, so to the naked eye, its seamless appearance makes it as if it’s not even there.

There are styles of exhaust vents for roof ventilation that are visible and don’t exactly mesh seamlessly with the roofing system.  Depending on the style of roof, your climate, your home’s structure and its needs, you might need one or more styles of exhaust vents.  A home can have ridge vents on the roof and something like an exhaust fan, roof louver, or a wind turbine to increase the roof ventilation.

Intake vents are another method of roof ventilation, and like ridge vents, they’re hard to see once they’re installed.  Intake vents are placed at the eaves beneath the soffit, at the roof’s drip edge, or at the roof’s edge underneath the shingles.

decorative asphalt shingles on the roof of a brick house

Its Benefits

Ventilation is good for your roof, that’s why professional and seasoned contractors will look for ways to ensure there’s plenty of ventilation included in your roofing system.  Here’s why air flow is a good thing:

The Roof’s Lifetime: a ventilated roof is a happy and healthy roof.  A roof that’s happy and healthy lasts as long as it should—even longer than expected.  Consider the issue of ice dams in the colder climates.  Ice buildup occurs frequently at the edges of roofs and the gutter system, and this buildup is known as ice damming.  The heat from the attic and the heat from the sun targets the snow on the top of your roof, causing snow to melt and slide towards the roof’s edge.  The snow will refreeze, and this is where it becomes dangerous.  The backup can occur behind or even underneath parts of the roofing system, causing unseen damage to the entire structure and places like your attic and walls.

Similarly, ventilation keeps your roof cool in the hot months.  Shingles can take a beating from UV radiation.  Hot air stifles in the attic and the extreme temperatures can degrade the integrity of the system.  Ventilation pushes the hot air out (hence the exhaust vents), circulating it from the outside to keep the attic, roof, and roof’s surface cool and regulated.

A well-ventilated roof is easy to spot in the winter because even though it may have snow, it’s clear of icicles hanging off the gutters.  Warm air is circulated through the attic, keeping the roofing system healthy.  This prevents ice dams and water damage, thus extending the life of your roof.  Over time, you’ll notice that poorly ventilated shingles will be discolored or misshapen.  Good ventilation will keep your shingles intact, not to mention damper down extreme temperatures in the attic.

Energy Savings: now that you understand how ventilation works, especially in the months that dish your roof with extreme temperatures, it makes sense that by having ventilation, you’d save tremendously on energy costs. Air flow will allow you to regulate the internal temperature of your home more efficiently, which means you won’t need to crank the air conditioning in the summer or the heat in the winter.

A More Comfortable Home:  better air flow and strong ventilation makes for a much more comfortable house to live in.  No longer will you have to experience an upstairs that’s far too hot or too cold, a living room that won’t heat up, and walking on a floor that’s as cold as ice.  All of these issues can be attributed to poor ventilation, and once the proper venting is installed, you’ll notice a huge difference.

Time for a New Roof?

Now’s the time to replace your roof with high-performance shingles that are durable, resistant to strong weather conditions, and eye appealing. Most of the time, asphalt shingles are drastically better than slate, solar, shake, wood, and tile. All the benefits from great energy efficiency to great exterior protection from extreme weather conditions. Speak to a specialist and get a free quote online today.

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