Are you noticing that your attic is very humid during the majority of the year? Is there too much moisture up there? Is your electric bill higher than it should be? If so, it could be that you have a roof ventilation problem.
One of the most important aspects of how your roof is designed and built is the ventilation. You simply cannot overestimate its importance. What happens when a Lancaster County roof doesn’t have proper ventilation?
Trapped humidity with no air circulating in the attic area can cause several problems. Improper ventilation allows the formation of condensation, moisture accumulation, and damage to the roof deck and, eventually, to the stability of the roof. You may have drywall inside the home warping from the dampness. The insulation may be getting damp enough to start a mildew or mold problem. Improper roof ventilation can also affect the health of your family.
Also, keep in mind that most shingle manufacturers require proper roof ventilation to keep the terms of the warranty valid. And the trapped moisture will raise your electric bill.
Industry Standards For Roof Ventilation
U.S. building codes regulate how much ventilation you should have in the attic. There should be at least one square foot of intake ventilation with 1 square foot of exhaust ventilation for every 150 square feet of space. However, if the area is insulated with a vapor barrier, you will only need one square foot of ventilation per 300 square feet of space.
Now, remember that there are different types of attic ventilation, not all of which fit nicely into a one square foot space. This is why it’s best for you to have your attic inspected by a professional roof inspector. A general house inspector is fine, but a roof inspector is a specialist who can inspect your roofing system thoroughly. The attic, insulation, and the ventilation is a part of your roofing system.
We investigate a lot of roof problems here in Lancaster County, PA. Mold growth on the underside of roof sheathing is a very common problem. This mold growth is often caused by air leaking from the interior space of the home. But there are also mold problems when the attics do not have an obvious moisture source. You have to realize that the ventilation requirements set forth by code authorities are not climate specific. In our climate, what is sufficient for southern homes is not for us.
Benefits Of Good Roof Ventilation
Proper ventilation of the roof and attic of a home achieves several important functions:
- It makes the attic space less humid.
- It makes the home more energy efficient because it vents air through. Humidity makes your HVAC system work harder to regulate the temperature inside your home.
- It prevents condensation and accumulation of moisture on the inside of the roof deck. Moisture causes rotting of the roof deck.
- It reduces the risk of roof ice dams.
Types Of Roof Ventilation
Several types of roof vents can be used to properly ventilate the attic and roof of your home. Roof ridge vents are placed along the ridge line of the roof. Ridge vents are used for exhaust or outflow of moisture, heat, and stale air. Soffit vents and Eaves are placed at the lower extremes of the roof and provide the intake ventilation.
However, if you install insulation between the rafters, the building codes require that the attic is unvented. Instead, you install a ventilation channel between the top of the insulation installed and the roof sheathing. The attic should be sealed so that there are no vent openings which allow outdoor air to mix with attic air.
If you live in an older home, your roof might not be constructed with a roof ridge or soffit vents. Older homes were not built as tight as today’s homes are. There were cracks and openings around windows and doors, chimneys, and other openings. These cracks and openings allowed fresh air to flow into the house. On the principle that hot air rises, the accumulated heat and moisture would rise to the attic and out the roof vents.
Ventilation baffles are located near the eaves to create an air gap between the roof sheathing and the top of the attic insulation layer. This allows air to freely flow from the soffit vents of the attic. According to code, there should be a minimum of 1-inch between them. However, most experts recommend a two-inch space.
It is wise to check the ventilation of your roof. There are times when proper ventilation was constructed but has since been blocked by house paint, insulation, or some other obstruction. It’s important to be sure that the areas are free and clear of obstacles and that the vents are not bent shut.
What Happens If There’s Inadequate Ventilation
Without adequate ventilation, moisture rises from the inside of your house with the hot air. This forms condensation on the inside of the roof deck. This moisture was released into the air inside the house from bathing, cooking, plants, laundry and similar functions.
When the condensation forms on the roof deck, it begins to rot the wood. This introduces mold spores into the air, as well as damaging the wood. If the problem is not noticed and repaired, then you face the destruction of all or part of the roof deck as well as unhealthy air inside the house.
In our increasingly airtight Lancaster County homes, the importance of proper ventilation in roof construction cannot be over-emphasized. It is important to take the time and do the research to understand the ventilation needs for your home in your region and how best to meet those needs.
Where To Get Roof Ventilation Help In Lancaster County
If you would like to have the roof ventilation inspected by our Lancaster County roofing experts, we would be glad to help. EZ General Construction, Inc. is made up of a crew of construction specialists of all types. We have been serving local communities since 1996 and are a family owned company. Throughout that time, we’ve worked on everything from small exterior home improvement projects to large commercial construction projects and multi-home development projects.
As general contractors, we manage every project from start to finish. We have all the contractors we need to handle your roofing inspections, roof repairs, roof replacement, siding installation, patio construction, custom deck, home addition, garage addition, windows & doors, or gutters. Whether it’s roof ventilation, an inspection, or anything else, all you need to do is call to schedule a consultation.
If you have questions about Attic Ventilation or are looking for a general contractor in the Lancaster area, then give us a call at(717) 354-0332 or complete our online request form.