Lower Costs and Prevent Wear on Your Roof with These Attic Ventilation Ideas

Poor attic ventilation doesn’t just affect the temperature of your home, it can also skyrocket your energy bills, ruin your shingles and lead to winter ice dams and wear and tear on your roof. All these things can lead to expensive repairs and possibly cause permanent damage to your home. Ready to learn how to prevent wear on your roof? Check out these attic ventilation ideas!

Do You Need Better Attic Ventilation?

Good attic ventilation is important all year round. In the summer, a properly ventilated attic reduces heat build-up, lowering cooling costs and prolonging the life of your shingles. During the winter, warm, moist air trickles into the attic from the rooms below. Good ventilation allows heat and moisture to escape, keeping your attic dry and reducing ice dams. If you’re worried that your attic isn’t properly ventilated, keep an eye out for these 4 main issues.

1. If you’ve noticed that your energy bills are way higher than normal, there could be a problem with your attic venting. If you’re dealing with poor ventilation, in the summer, you’ll have to crank up your air conditioning and in the winter you’ll have to turn up the heat. These heightened costs are a telltale sign that something’s wrong with your ventilation. 

2. When it’s hot and sunny outside, reach up and touch your ceiling. If your ceiling is hot, it means your attic is acting like a solar oven, raising your cooling bills and heating your shingles. 

3. If you notice thick ridges of ice on your eaves during winter, this could be a sign of poor attic ventilation. If there’s poor ventilation, any warm air from the rooms below gets trapped in the attic. When snow melts, the water refreezes on cold eaves and creates ice dams, which can lead to moisture entering your house, causing mold and mildew.

4. Inspect your attic during the winter to see if there is any dampness or frost. If there is, it’s time for better roof ventilation and attic vents. 

Attic Ventilation Ideas 

Roof vents and soffit vents are easy to install and will protect your home from needing pricey repairs in the future. If you don’t want to put in vents yourself, leave it to the professionals and hire a roofer to help you take on these attic ventilation ideas. 

1. Roof Vents

Roof ventilation should be placed near the roof’s peak. Air flows in through soffit vents and out through roof vents, so one of the first things you’ll have to do is plan the locations of your attic vents. You should place all your roof vents on the same side of the roof, and since they can be an eyesore, place them on the backside of your house if possible. 

From the inside of your attic, the roofer will drive nails up through the sheathing and shingles to mark the locations of your vents. From the roof, they’ll remove shingles around the guide holes and one inch back of the upper side of the holes. They’ll saw through the underlayment and decking of each hole. To install the vent, the roofing professional will slip the flange under shingles at the upper part of the hole and rest the flange on top of the shingles at the down-slope part of the hole. They’ll use roofing nails to secure the vent, and then waterproof the vent using manufacturer recommended material.

2. Soffit Vents

Soffit vents are easy to install under the roof’s overhang and are most often hidden from sight. They’re typically made from aluminum or vinyl and are installed into your soffit. To install the soffit vents, your roofing professional will work under the soffit, marking the size of the vent and then cutting a hole slightly smaller than the unit between the rafters. They will install the vent using screws and according to manufacturer specifications. 

If you’ve noticed your roof has poor ventilation, install roof vents and soffit vents to lower costs and prevent wear on your roof!


Vented or Unvented: Answering the Attic Question

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When it comes to venting your attic, there’s a lot of contradicting information. Some will say it’s a waste of money and will do more harm than good, while others say venting is crucial no matter what climate you live in.

If you’re going to vent your attic, the key is executing it properly. Time and time again, poorly constructed attics lead to issues such as ice dams, mold, rot and extreme energy loss, sucking up time and money.

It’s important to understand exactly what the purpose of venting is, the pros and cons of venting your attic, and whether it’s the right decision for you.

Venting in Hot Climates

In hot climates, the primary purpose of ventilation is to rid hot air from the attic or roof to the reduce the building’s cooling load. It also helps alleviate strain on you air-conditioning unit.

Venting in Cold (Dry) Climates

The purpose of ventilation in cold climates is to avoid ice dams created by melting snow and to vent moisture that moves from the conditioned living space to the attic.

Venting takes on either role in mixed climates, depending on the season.

Pros of Venting the Attic

When constructed properly, vented attics serve a number of purposes and benefits. In the winter or colder climates, a natural flow of outdoor air keeps the attic cold, reducing the potential for ice damming, and in turn, roof damage. In the summer and places with hot, humid climates, vents move hot air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. If you have asphalt shingles left unvented, they are likely to heat up, reducing the service life of the shingle.

Cons of Venting the Attic

Sometimes when attic venting is not executed properly, in hot, humid climates, moisture is brought into the structure. If indoor humidity is high and the air leaks into the attic, moisture problems can develop this way as well. In cold climates, it may allow snow to blow in. Attic and roof assemblies are also becoming more complex, with designs such as skylights and multiple dormers. This makes it harder to construct vented assemblies.

If you do vent your attic, you can’t use it as a living or storage space. Venting will be most efficient if there isn’t anything in the attic except for insulation and air. The attic also has to be air-sealed in order for it to work properly. Vented attics should also be coupled to the exterior, isolated from the conditioned space.

To Vent or Not to Vent

Whether or not you vent your attic depends on a number of factors, including the design of your home, the climate you live in, whether your attic is air-sealed, and the type of shingles on your roof. When properly executed, vented attics have many benefits, but too many times, the process is screwed up over and over again.

Do you have a vented attic? What are the pros and cons you’ve come across?