It’s Time for an Attic Ventilation Intervention

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By Brannin Travis; Partner at Beacon Restoration, LLC - Denver
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Out with the hot; in with the cool. Helping homeowners understand attic ventilation is priority when we replace roofs. 

Roofing contractors should be bringing your ventilation up to par when replacing your roofing system, because it is just that – a system, composed of many different, yet equally important components.  Unfortunately, many consumers are not aware of the importance of this aspect of your roofing system, and homes are all too often under-ventilated.

So, folks, it’s time for an attic ventilation intervention!

Contrary to what you might assume, proper ventilation is just as necessary in the cold winter months as it is in the hot summer months. Without proper ventilation, warm air can accumulate at the peak of your attic and cold air toward the floor of your attic, creating favorable conditions for the formation of an ice dam.

Ice damming occurs when ice backs up out of gutters and crawls underneath the shingles, oftentimes causing the plywood under the shingles to rot. A similar issue can occur from condensation build up inside the attic space.

Adequate air circulation, paired with proper insulation can help prevent these problems, and inadequate air flow can lead to costly repairs -- so take your ventilation to heart!

You may want to ask your roofer about a product called Ice & Water Shield; it is city code in some areas, and in areas where it is not, we feel it is an upgrade worth considering.

In the summer season, bringing that cool air in and pushing the warm out is vital to increasing the longevity of your shingles. Improperly vented attic space in warm weather can cause “blistering” on the exterior of your shingles. The heat from an under-ventilated attic can make the shingles so hot from within that raised bubbles – blisters – form on the exterior of the shingles. 

A hot attic space can also play a significant role in raising the temperature inside of the home, which can overwork cooling units and lead to premature repair or replacement of these system components.

But don’t go overboard – too much of a good thing can be no good at all if you start cutting in vents without a solid plan. 

Ideally, you should have 50 percent intake to 50 percent exhaust.  Not enough, or too much, intake or exhaust will confuse the other. It is also a good idea to use just one type of vent, avoiding vent combinations (i.e. power vents with Ridge Vent, or turtle vents with Ridge Vent.) Since the mechanics of different vent types vary, combining styles is a sure way to confuse your ventilation system and decrease its effectiveness.

It may sound obvious, but check your existing vents for blockage.  I can’t tell you how often we find that clients have the proper number of intake vents but they are completely blocked by insulation. This is probably the easiest fix of them all! 

What's the best way to prevent having to deal with any ventilation issues? Have a roofing contractor come and take a look at your system – this is something most will evaluate at no charge.

If you do happen to have poor attic ventilation, addressing the problem now may end up saving you money in the long run. Spring has sprung, and now is the time to invite a reputable roofing contractor into your home to evaluate your roofing system and prevent future problems!

 

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