When a roof is designed with proper ventilation, air has the ability to circulate through the attic during every type of climate condition, even the hot and humid conditions we live with here in south Louisiana. Homes that are poorly ventilated will have an increased level of moisture trapped underneath the roof system, and without the ability to properly ventilate the moisture, significant problems can arise.
For the home to remain healthy, and the roof system to be long lasting, there needs to be proper roof ventilation installed on the house. The benefits of proper roof ventilation include:
- The Elimination of Trapped Moisture – Proper ventilation allows trapped moisture to escape throughout the year. Without it, the moisture that remains in the attic can make the roof system fail quickly by harming the plywood substrate, and destroying the shingles and underlying sheathing. Trapped moisture can cause wood rot, mildew, drywall damage, mold, warped siding and peeling paint.
- The Reduction of Heat Buildup – During the hot summer months, the attic can get significantly hotter than the outside air. Without proper ventilation, the roof system can buckle and fail. Proper venting eliminates heat buildup.
- Extended Roof Shingle Life – Through proper ventilation, the lifespan of the roof and the shingles can be extended, which will save the homeowner the need for a full roof replacement prematurely.
- A Cooler and Drier Attic – The cooler and drier an attic remains the less potential of moisture buildup, or the possibility of mold, mildew, and wood rot.
- Lower Utility Costs – Lower utility costs can be realized when the roof is kept cool through proper ventilation. Cooler attics allow the air conditioner system to run more efficiently and less expensively.
Homeowners have various options when improving the roof ventilation of their home. This includes the installation of a ridge vent, static vent or gable vent. Additionally, some roofing contractors will install a wind turbine or a vent system that is power-assisted.
- Ridge Vents – A ridge vent is designed to be installed at the peak of the roof at the very top. It works as an external baffle by pulling air from the bottom of the roof system and allowing it to escape along the ridge. The baffle is designed to protect the attic against dust and rain. Most are fabricated out of a material that naturally blends with the existing roofing material.
- Static Vents – A static vent is designed without moving parts, and is often installed as a simple solution to provide air circulation. They are manufactured in a variety of designs that include an eyebrow vent, a roof louver, a dormer, and a roofline vent. Careful selection should be made when installing a static vent, as some are known to leak.
- Gable Vent – Often referred to as a wall louver, a gable vent is installed on the gable ends of the home, as a way to provide ventilation in the attic. They are often used in a combination with static vents, ridge vents and even power-assisted vents. When a gable vent is installed in a high position, they are very effective at maximizing airflow and minimizing hot spots that can form inside the attic.
- Wind Turbines – The different styles of wind turbines all share the same design of a mushroom-shaped top. The design will naturally catch wind currents and spin the fan located internally. The wind turbine will naturally propel all the heated air captured inside the attic to the outside.
Choosing the best method to enhance the ventilation of an existing roof is dependent on a variety of factors. The factors often include the size of the home, the length of the attic, and the cover provided by surrounding trees.