Roof Leak Prevention: 6 Tips For Proper Attic Ventilation

Attic ventilation is an important part of home construction, yet most homes have either no ventilation or not enough of it. Inadequate attic ventilation can lead to a host of problems, with roof leaks being among the most common.

In order to prevent these issues and extend the life of your roof, you need an attic that literally “breathes.”

Roof Leak Prevention: 6 Tips For Proper Attic Ventilation

The Importance of Attic Ventilation

With proper attic ventilation, you allow for warm, moist air – which naturally rises – to safely escape your home rather than building up in the form of condensation. This helps you keep humidity levels under control, which not only helps maintain the health of your roof, but also helps to keep home heating and cooling costs more manageable.

Without proper attic ventilation, warm and moist air has nowhere to go, creating potentially dangerous attic conditions in the form of condensation, mold and mildew. This, in turn, can make your paint blister and peel, compromise the structural integrity of your attic, create weaknesses in your roof and reduce the efficiency of your insulation.

Another problem that can result from improper attic ventilation is specific to the winter months: ice damming. A lack of attic ventilation can cause ice to build up in your eaves and gutters, which can buckle or fall off under the weight, causing serious and expensive damage to your home.

Bottom line: a well-ventilated attic offers many benefits

  1. It prevents mildew growth and rot on your roof’s framing and sheathing by reducing moisture buildup.
  2. It helps prevent ice dams in winter by keeping your roof colder.
  3. It extends the life of your shingles by keeping the roof cooler in hot weather.
  4. It reduces cooling costs in the warm season.

Improving Attic Ventilation

There are many different options available to provide adequate ventilation to your attic space. The most common are:

  • ridge vents – installed at the peak of a sloped roof, the ridge vent allows damp, warm air to escape from the attic,
  • soffit vents – a vent installed into the underside of your home’s eaves that permits fresh outside air to be drawn up into the attic,
  • gable vents – usually installed on the exterior wall of your attic, gable vents are cheap, easy to maintain, save money, and maximize the area in your roof since you won’t have to waste space and money running a whole-house fan,
  • powered attic fans – most controversial of all vent systems, they’re intended to cool hot attics by drawing in cooler outside air from attic vents (soffit and gable) and pushing hot air to the outside, but don’t always work as well as intended.

Your roofing contractor will be able to help you select the right option for your home. Remember: more is not necessarily better.

6 Tips For Proper Attic Ventilation

  • Attics should be insulated to R-38, which is about eighteen inches of insulation material.
  • Most building codes require 1 square foot of venting for each 150 square feet of attic space.
  • If there are portions of insulation that have been eroded down, remove it all then install full eighteen inches of new insulation material in its place (instead of simply adding more on top).
  • Homeowners should avoid attic fan ventilators with blocked soffit vents, according to Energy Star. Turbine or fan ventilation systems are unreliable, as their moving parts are sure to break down over time. Soffit and ridge venting systems are a much better solution.
  • Be aware of all soffit vents around the perimeter of the house and take steps to ensure these vents remain unblocked by debris, insulation, or outside materials.
  • Install a thermometer in the attic that can remotely tell you the area’s temperature so you can monitor the situation on an ongoing basis.

Have Your Attic Ventilation Checked

A small investment today can save you thousands of dollars down the road, not to mention hours of inconvenience.

If you’re unsure whether or not you have adequate attic ventilation, or if your attic is not ventilated altogether, contact All Roofing Solutions. We are a reliable, honest and skilled roofing contractor with nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. Family owned and operated, we serve customers throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania, and are happy to solve all your roofing problems, large and small.

Call 302-725-ROOF (7663) in Delaware or 610-551-ROOF (7663) in Pennsylvania for your FREE ESTIMATE today!

3 Comments

  1. Posted April 8, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    You make a good point. I don’t think homeowners pay much attention to proper attic ventilation. That is, until they start noticing mold.

  2. Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    This is a concern here in Florida, especially with all the humididty and mold concerns. Ventilation in the roof is key. Great article!

  3. Posted April 13, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Agreed with the above poster – this is a huge deal here in Florida and not something that should be skimped on or taken lightly – if you live in a humid region of this country then attic insulation and ventilation is a must!

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