Attic vents are an essential part of every roof. Proper attic ventilation is critical to prevent the buildup of warm, moist air under the roof that can cause mold, mildew, and even rotting of the roof structure itself. When performing roof maintenance, it is important to check under the roof for signs that attic ventilation is not sufficient and needs to be improved with the addition of attic vents. Professional roof companies explain that there are two main attic vent types: intake and exhaust vents, which every home should have for proper ventilation to keep the roof free from damage. If either of these are missing, homeowners should arrange for roofing services to add them as soon as possible.
How Attic and Roof Ventilation Works
To keep attic spaces cool and dry, expert roofers assert there must be both intake vents and exhaust vents under the roof and within the attic space. For warm, moist air to vent through the attic, there must be a supply of air coming into the attic to create airflow. Intake vents bring in that air, which then circulates with the warm, moist air from the house and escapes through the exhaust vents. Proper attic ventilation prevents heat build-up in warmer weather and keeps the space under the roof dry and free of condensation. Such heat build-up can be extremely damaging to rafters and decking, causing premature decay of a roof.
Intake Attic Vents
Intake vents allow air from outside the home to flow into the attic space to create the air movement necessary to push warm, moist air out of the exhaust vents. There are a few common types of intake vents used in homes to achieve this:
- Soffit Vents - Small aluminum vents with screened mesh behind them, placed in the soffit along the length of the roof to allow air to easily enter the attic space.
- Gable Vents - Triangular-shaped vents set at the ends of the roof at the top near the peaks.
- Static Vents - Cylindrical vents in the actual rooftop that are covered by vent hoods to prevent rain and snow from entering the vent.
Exhaust Attic Vents
Exhaust vents make up the second part of the attic ventilation plan. These vents provide an escape for attic air, which roofers say allows more air to be drawn into the attic through the intake vents to keep air circulating. The common types of attic exhaust vents are as follows:
- Ridge Vents - Flat vents placed along the length of the roofline at the very top just below the peak to allow hot, moist air to rise and escape the roof area.
- Static Vents - These are cylindrical vents that pass through the surface of the roof which can act as intake or exhaust vents.
- Turbine Vents - Turbine mechanisms installed on the surface of the roof that spin when the wind blows, causing the turbine to suck warm air out of the attic space.
- Fan Vents - Electrically-powered vents typically used when ventilation problems exist. These are installed on the roof surface and suck warm and moist air out of attic spaces.
Experienced roofing companies know that most homes gain good attic ventilation using the simpler types of roof vents, although some may need additional ventilation to keep roofs cool and dry. The best way to determine whether adequate attic ventilation exists is with regular roof maintenance and attic inspection. Residential roofing services can easily check for evidence of moisture under a roof and make recommendations on the best ways to correct any ventilation problems!