Roofing ventilation is an essential part of any roof system. Without proper ventilation, your roof could face several issues and require frequent repairs. This could affect the performance and life span of your roofing, making it ineffective in providing protection for your home and ultimately shortening its service life.
That is why roofers pay special attention to the roof ventilation and ensure it is designed and maintained accordingly. As for homeowners like you, it is important to equip yourself with correct knowledge about this critical part of your roof system and have a good understanding of the best ways to care for it.
To give you more information about roof ventilation, residential and commercial roofing expert KLIM Roofing & Construction offers a comprehensive guide below.
What Is the Purpose of Roof Ventilation?
The main purpose of roof ventilation is to keep your attic cool in the summer and dry during the cold months. Roof ventilation also promotes natural airflow and air circulation, preventing hot, moist, or stale air from staying inside your home. Its function is also crucial during the winter when warm air can get trapped in the attic and cause snow on your roof to melt quickly and then refreeze. This results in ice dams on your roofing, which can damage the shingles and gutters.
How Does Roof Ventilation Work?
A roof ventilation system ensures a continuous flow of air through the attic space, preventing overheated air and moisture from causing damage in your attic and roofing system. It also helps reduce the impact of fluctuating temperatures and moisture conditions inside and outside your home.
In order for roof ventilation to be effective, it’s critical to have the correct design and construction of the system. The roof design should have plenty of air space to enable airflow under the roof and eaves. Furthermore, the roof ventilation system should be able to balance the intake and exhaust ventilation under the roofing. This will cause the attic to be slightly pressurized, preventing conditioned air from escaping too quickly through the vents.
What Are the Main Components of Roof Ventilation?
Your roofing contractor will help you figure out how much venting is needed. And once this has been established, they would have to split this amount between the intake and exhaust, the two critical parts of roof ventilation.
Intake ventilation is basically where the air enters your attic. It is typically located near the edges of the roof, ideally in the soffits. Exhaust ventilation, on the other hand, is where the air escapes from your attic. It is located close to the peak of your roof.
Some homes have mechanical ventilation, which requires a power source to operate. But even without powered vents, your roof ventilation system can naturally cycle air through your attic as long as it is set up correctly. A quick way to tell if you have a well-ventilated home is by going to your attic and feeling a draft as air enters the soffit vents and exits through the ridge vent.
What Are the Different Kinds of Roof Vents?
Different types of vents can be used for roof ventilation. The most commonly installed are static vents, gable vents and ridge vents.
- Static vents typically have horizontal openings. These are vent-covered holes in the roof, which enable air to move freely.
- Soffit vents are designed to have perforations, but they are basically installed like solid soffits. They can have a continuous design or fitted between rafter tails.
- Baffles are fitted between the rafters. They ensure fresh air can flow into the attic without interference from the surrounding insulation.
- Ridge vents are installed along the peak of the roof. They provide an external baffle to increase airflow and provide uniform ventilation throughout your attic.
- Gable vents are inserted in the ends of the attic. They are often used along with other kinds of vents.
How Many Roof Vents Are Needed?
Your contractor can provide the best answer to this question since different homes have unique and specific roof ventilation requirements. However, as a rule of thumb, one vent is needed for every 300 square feet if a vapor barrier is installed in the attic. If there is no vapor barrier to consider, you should have one vent for every 150 square feet.
What Are the Benefits of Roof Ventilation?
Whether you have asphalt roofing or PVC roofing, a correctly designed roof ventilation system can provide you with several benefits. Below are some roof ventilation advantages to name a few:
Roof ventilation reduces indoor temperature extremes
One issue that you may notice if you have indoor temperature extremes is when your upstairs rooms are significantly warmer than your living room downstairs. In ranch-style homes, you may feel that your feet are cold when it doesn’t really feel cool in the room. These may seem minor inconveniences, but oftentimes indoor temperature extremes occur due to poorly vented roofs. That said, you should work towards having proper roof ventilation to help improve comfort inside your home.
Roof ventilation contributes to a longer roofing life span
Due to the many roofing issues that can be prevented with roof ventilation, you can expect your roof system to last longer. Ice dams, for instance, pose a serious threat to your roofing, and they can cause severe roof damage. By simply setting up your roof ventilation correctly, you can avoid such problems and ensure the structural integrity of your roof.
Roof ventilation helps reduce energy costs
During hotter months, roof ventilation allows heat to escape your home. This can reduce the workload of your air conditioner. Obviously, an air conditioner that requires less power to run means lower cooling expenses.
What Building Components Complement Roof Ventilation?
Apart from roof ventilation, you also have to consider other building components to ensure your attic remains mostly cool and dry throughout the year. Take note of these tips so that you can maximize the benefits of your roof ventilation system:
- Insulation prevents unnecessary venting of cooled and heated air. It ensures that the conditioned air remains in your living space where it belongs, allowing your ventilation system to circulate only the attic air and make sure it is vented along with excess heat and unwanted moisture.
- Sealing all protrusions into and out of the attic will help stop unwanted airflow, moisture, or heat from getting inside your attic. Have a professional roofer assess your attic so that you can identify such protrusions and how they can affect roof ventilation.
- HVAC components should be properly installed and working. Any ducts running through your attic should be sealed. They should also not cause the attic insulation to be compressed. If you have bath fans, make sure they are not venting into the attic or within three feet of vented soffits.
Whether you need help with low slope roofing or another roof design, KLIM Roofing & Construction is committed to providing you with excellent services from start to finish. Each member of our team is skilled and trained to ensure quality in any job we handle, so you can have peace of mind that your project will be handled satisfactorily. Call us at (425) 485-5546 or fill out our contact form to request a free quote. We serve customers in Bellevue and Seattle, WA.