Often the attic attracts the old odds and ends that are unwanted in your home. They could be heirlooms, seasonal equipment, old clothes or the iconic treadmill. Attics are great places to store things we don’t want think about. Accordingly, attics aren’t something you should have to think about. Attics are an important part of the house with significant effects on the health of your roof and energy conservation. Attic ventilation is important.
If you have noticed signs of damage to your roof (including curling shingles and mildew growth), the culprit may actually be your attic. While there are other factors that could be causing your roof to deteriorate (like poor installation), in most cases when a roof is prematurely aging, it will be poor attic ventilation that is at the heart of the issue.
Without good ventilation, moisture builds up in your attic, which slowly eats away at the materials in your roof. Since heat rises, the hot air in your home will be concentrated in your attic. If your attic doesn’t have the proper ventilation, it may be growing mildew year round. It is vital to have the proper vents that will allow warm air to escape without allowing in too much air from outside.
The Dangers of No Attic Ventilation
In the hot months, attics that don’t have the proper ventilation will often register temperatures well over 100 degrees. These extreme temperatures are stressful on building materials for many reasons. During the winter months, lack of ventilation is also a problem and can cause damage to your home. Here are several issues which can be caused by poor attic ventilation.
- Rafters begin to deteriorate
- Roof decking also deteriorates
- Shingle deterioration
- Ice dams are more likely to form
- Mold and mildew growth
Why a No Attic Ventilation Causes Problems
Many of these problems are easily avoided with proper air flow. During the winter, a ventilated attic helps prevent moisture from lingering on the insulation and other areas of the attic. If the moisture remains for too long, mold and mildew will begin to grow in the attic. During the hot summer months, a lack of air flow will again cause moisture and high temperatures will damage shingles.
It is legal to build an attic with and without ventilation in any hydro-thermal zone. However, that does not mean it is wise. In addition to moisture and shingle damage, the high temperatures in an attic with no ventilation causes an added strain on your air conditioning. The attic, acting as a heat box, forces air down into the rooms below. The air conditioning system will have to work twice as hard to cool the rooms beneath the attic.
Every roof should have a basic ventilation system. Air enters through the soffit vent (located next to the gutter, it then passes up the air flow space provided and exits through the gable or ridge vent. This ventilation space is normally about 1 ½ inches. It seems counterproductive to add insulation to keep the house warm, then build a vent to allow cool air to flow, but this system will ensure the roof stays healthy and will keep the house insulated. Do not block these vents with things you store in your attic. We find that home owners make this mistake all too often.
Dangers of too much ventilation
When insulating one’s attic, many homeowners make the mistake of mounting too much insulation in the roof’s eves, which makes it difficult for the air to move in and out of the attic as necessary. Make sure to never cover soffit vents with insulation, because this will stop natural air flow. Soffit vents tend to be the most effective way to ventilate your attic. We recommend a contiguous air vent in conjunction with soffit vents for encouraging the best natural air flow.
The best way to ensure that you properly vent your attic is to hire a professional. There are a number of methods for creating natural ventilation, including venting the roof deck or attic, and none of these have to involve ripping off your rooftop. Make sure to speak with a professional before attempting to remedy your attic ventilation problems to ensure that it is done correctly and doesn’t cause further harm to your roof.
If you are experiencing problems like deteriorated rafters or shingles, it’s possible it could be related to a lack of ventilation. Let the professionals at All Weather Tite in Port Charlotte, Florida, help you determine what the right solution is for your roof. We are roofing experts with years of experience in venting roofs and attics, and would be happy to help you make sure that your home is in good condition.
Our team specializes in proven roofing solutions which will withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. You can contact us for a free estimate, or with any questions about our products or service.