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Roofing Ventilation: What You Need To Know

Roofing Ventilation: What You Need To Know

The concept of attic ventilation is pretty simple, and while many homeowners understand the basics, not everyone is aware of the important role it plays in preserving the overall lifespan of your home. Proper roofing ventilation impacts everything from temperature regulation, the overall air quality in your home, and your roof’s lifespan. In hot Florida climates, good roof and attic ventilation is especially important for keeping humidity out of the house.

In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of good roof and attic ventilation, how much ventilation your home needs, and the most common types of exhaust and intake vents.

Why Is Roof And Attic Ventilation Important?

Roof and attic vents play an important role in helping increase airflow and circulation beneath your roofing system. By allowing new air to flow in while pushing old air out, you can prevent the hot air and humidity from becoming stagnant inside your attic. This is especially important in warm weather climates as attics without proper ventilation will become extremely hot and humid. Below are three reasons why proper roof and attic ventilation is important for your home:

It Preserves The Lifespan Of Your Roof

Without proper ventilation to create airflow, hot and humid air can make its way into the attic. Overtime, that hot air and humidity is absorbed by the roof which can lead to significant damage. When your roof is constantly absorbing heat from below, it can cause shingles to become warped or cracked and can even lead issues for your decking. Roof and attic vents prevent premature deterioration by ensuring constant airflow, which helps to maximize the lifespan and performance of the roof.

It Reduces Your Energy Costs

The temperature in your attic is naturally going to rise as your roof absorbs heat from the constant exposure to direct sunlight. A good roofing ventilation system will work to push the hot air out of your attic before it has a chance to flow into the other rooms of your house. By maintaining airflow in your attic, you keep hot air out of your home which will ultimately improve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs by easing the workload on your air conditioning unit and refrigerator. 

It Helps To Remove Harmful Moisture

High levels of moisture in the attic is bad news, as it can create the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. High levels of humidity can turn to condensation, which can damage the interior of your home as well as any property being stored in the attic. Proper ventilation helps to keep air flowing and pushes humidity out of the attic before it has a chance to do any damage. 

Types Of Roof Vents

There are two main types of roofing vents: exhaust vents and intake vents. Intake vents pull air into the attic, while exhaust fans push it out. Most roofing systems have some combination of exhaust and intake vents installed. Combined, both types of vents create air circulation that helps regulate the temperature of the attic. The most effective vents are ultimately determined by your roofing type, shape, and slope. 

Exhaust Vents

Exhaust vents push hot or humid air out from underneath your roof. Below are some of the most common types of roofing exhaust vents:

  • Wind turbines – Powered by wind, these exhaust vents have a turbine that is pushed in a circular motion in order to draw air out of an attic or crawl space.
  • Power vents – These exhaust vents have an electric or solar-powered motor that powers a fan, which pushes air out of the attic. They come in a variety of colors and have a low profile, making them less noticeable. 
  • Box vents – Box vents are fairly inconspicuous. They use external airflow to pull moisture and hot air out of the attic.
  • Ridge vents – These are one of the most popular types of exhaust vents. Ridge vents are installed at the peak of the roof and usually extend from one side to the other. As a result, they allow for a more even distribution of airflow, where other types of exhaust vents are only able to pump out air from a specific location.
  • Hip vents – Hip vents are similar to ridge vents; however, they are better suited for pyramid-shaped roofs that don’t have ridges. Instead, these vents are placed over the side hip seams and then are covered by shingles. 

Intake Vents

Intake vents do the opposite of exhaust vents — they pull air inside to effectively cool the attic or space beneath the roof. Below are the most common types of intake vents:

  • Soffit vents – Soffit intake vents are usually placed underneath of an eave and not directly on the roof itself. They allow fresh, cool air to enter the attic and circulate beneath the roof.
  • Drip edge vents – Drip edge vents function the same way as soffit vents, except that they attach to the drip-edge and are usually best suited for situations where eaves aren’t large enough to handle a soffit vent.
  • Fascia vents – Fascia intake vents are great compliments to hip exhaust vents. They’re hidden between the gutters and the roof tiles and extend across the length of the roof.

Home Much Ventilation Does My Roof Need?

Striking the right balance between air intake and exhaust is the key to an effective roofing ventilation system. Most vents list a net free area (NFA) which indicates the amount of air the vent is capable of cycling through. The National Association of Roofing Contractors recommends 1 square foot of NFA for every 150 square feet of attic floor space. If your attic has a vapor barrier, then the ventilation ratio may be closer to 1:300.  Keep in mind, your roof slope is also going to impact the NFA needed. Some guidelines suggest a 20 percent increase in ventilation for roof pitches of 7/12 – 10/12, or a 30 percent increase for roofs with slopes greater than 10/12. While this can serve as a guideline, it’s often best to consult with an experienced roofing contractor who can accurately calculate the amount of ventilation needed.

By optimizing airflow in the attic and maintaining a good balance between intake and exhaust, homeowners can maximize the lifespan of their roofing system, improve air quality within the home, and preserve and maximize your home’s value and condition.

Upgrading your roofing system is a perfect time to revisit your ventilation system and ensure there is adequate airflow making its way into your attic. For tips on how to improve roofing ventilation, contact us at Native Building Services & Roofing. We specialize in roof replacements and new construction roofing in the Oviedo area, and can provide a no obligation consultation to better understand your needs and the condition of your roof.

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