As simple as a roofing structure may seem, it is actually somewhat complex. For a functional roof to stay in good shape, it must not only be strong and weatherproof, but also well ventilated. Ventilation is a critical roofing requirement. Part of proper roof maintenance is ensuring that a roof is well ventilated. Poor ventilation is responsible for many serious home and roofing problems. Periodic inspections by qualified roofing services are recommended in order to test ventilation, and keep a roof in its best possible condition.
Why Roofing Ventilation Matters
A roof is what separates the inside of a house from the outside elements. Outside air temperatures differ from those inside a home, and the roof is what is in between. When these two air temperatures meet, a lack of ventilation allows a number of detrimental things to happen:
- Reduced Energy Efficiency - Poor ventilation that does not allow the release of overheated air during warmer weather makes a house more difficult to keep cool. In the winter, an overheated attic promotes condensation, which can cause a host of other problems.
- Condensation - When the interior temperature of the attic is drastically higher than the temperature on the other side of the roof, condensation forms on the inside of the roof. This moisture an cause damage, from promoting the growth of black mold and fungi, to rotting of the roof structure and decking due to constant dampness.
- Shingle Damage - Even without condensation, heat under the roof often damages the underlayment and shingles, causing them to deteriorate, buckle, dry, crack, and loosen. Poor ventilation can shorten the life of a shingled roof and be responsible for leaks and other damage.
- Ice Damming - Hot air under the roof melts the snow layer in contact with the roof, frequently leaving an intact crust over it. After melting and refreezing a few times, ice builds up on and under the shingles, which can mean considerable damage, causing the roof to leak.
Prevent Roofing Problems with Good Ventilation
All of the above-mentioned roofing problems can be alleviated through good ventilation. The purpose of roof ventilation is to prevent the attic space from becoming too hot, causing the conditions referenced above. An attic, or the interior structure of a roof, should be cooler than the interior of the house year round to prevent heat buildup and condensation. Insulation between the attic and the rest of the house is what keeps a home interior well adjusted. Therefore, the goal for good roof ventilation is to provide a means for hot air to escape from the attic space so the underside of the roof stays cool. This is why checking attic ventilation is so important during routine roof maintenance.
This can be achieved when roofing services use good insulation, efficient roofing material, and radiant barriers. Above all else, a roof must be adequately vented to promote air passage through the roof and out of the attic. Ridge and gable vents in the top of the roof allow rising hot air to escape, and also permit the passage of wind through the attic space, which facilitates ventilation.
Homes that do not have ridge vents, gable vents or some other form of ventilation installed in the roof are susceptible to the damages caused by poor ventilation. All roofs should be inspected by experienced roofing services who can test the ventilation system, and make suggestions for improving it if necessary. As part of every home’s regular roof maintenance, all vents should be periodically checked to ensure they are not blocked or damaged, which could be keeping them from providing the critical ventilation necessary to keep the roof in its best condition!