Proper ventilation is an essential element to keep roofs in their best condition. Ventilation is something that every roof company will usually address with homeowners after diagnosing any roof problems or installing a new roof. There are many different types of roof vents that roofers install to help ensure that homes have the right degree of ventilation for air flow efficiency and to prevent damage to roofs. Depending on the home architecture, the type of roof, and the amount of ventilation required, a roof company may suggest different types of vents to keep the air properly flowing.
The Importance of Roof Ventilation
Ventilation under roofs serves many important purposes. It keeps homes cooler in the summer, keeps the roofing surfaces cooler in winter, and prevents condensation under the roof. When there is insufficient air flow through an attic, it is harder to keep a house cool in the summer. In the winter, a warm roof increases the chance of ice formation and ice damming, which can be very damaging to the exterior roof surface. Therefore, keeping a low air temperature in the attic is important in every season and climate.
Warm air in an attic can cause the formation of condensate on the underside of the roof, which can be very destructive. Condensation can cause mold growth as well as wood rot, seriously damaging the roof structure over time. Heat under roofs may also result in damage to shingles and exterior roof surfaces. Good attic ventilation that is properly installed by experienced roofers can prevent all of these problems.
Different Types of Roof Vents for Different Needs
Some homes have great natural ventilation as long as there is a place for fresh air to flow in and another place for warm air to flow out. Some homes need a little help in obtaining that flow through the use of roofing vents to facilitate air movement, such as the following:
- Ridge and Soffit Vents - Many typical homes with peaked roofs have ridge vents at the top of the roof along the ridge and soffit vents at the bottom of the roof in the soffit. These passive vents work together to provide the basic ventilation that a house requires, letting cool air in through the soffits and allowing hot, moist air to escape through the ridges. Homes with different types of roof angles or additional venting needs may have other types of vents as well.
- Gable Vents - Situated on the flat side of a pitched roof, gable vents are commonly installed by roofing companies on many homes. They help soffit vents allow cooler, outside air into the attic space so that hot, moist air is pushed out of the ridge or other exhaust vents.
- Static Vents - Box vents and off-ridge vents that are higher up on the roof serve the same purpose as ridge vents, i.e.. allow warm air to escape from the roof. Roofs may have multiple types of static vents to promote adequate warm air exhaust.
- Wind- and Power Vents - For homes where there is not enough natural ventilation and cool air to enter the attic, a roof company can install turbine and power vents. Turbine vents are powered by the wind, while power vents are run by electricity. Both of these vents are used to draw hot air out of the attic, which also draws cooler air in from the soffit and other lower vents.
Ventilation is essential for energy efficiency and to avoid serious damage to roofs. Homeowners experiencing cooling problems or any of the concerns mentioned above should discuss their attic ventilation with an experienced roof company. With proper attic airflow, homeowners can avoid serious roof problems and enjoy a cooler home and better air quality all year round!