Homeowner’s Guide: Roof Ventilation 101


When it comes to caring for, maintaining, and repairing our roofs, what comes to mind first for most of us is keeping the shingles in good order and the gutters and downspouts free of debris. But there’s another element that’s essential to roof health, and it’s one we don’t hear as much about: ventilation. In this article we’ll provide an overview of roof ventilation as an introduction to this critical part of every roofing system.

What is ventilation?
Ventilation is about one simple thing: air flow. Warm air rises, whether that warm air is coming from heating inside the home during winter or the high outside temperatures of southeastern Pennsylvania summers. Ventilation is the system that keeps air flowing so the temperature regulates. Because ventilation is about airflow, roofs need both intake and exhaust vents, and ideally the vents should be evenly divided with half of them being higher up on the roof and the other half being lower on the roof. Good roof ventilation carries a host of benefits that support the overall health and structural integrity of your home.

What are the benefits of good roof ventilation?
Good roof ventilation is essential to your home, most of all because it promotes temperature regulation. This is important for a number of reasons. First, a well-ventilated roof and attic area can help moderate and even out the temperature in the other rooms and even floors of the home.
Beyond that, however, mitigating the extreme highs and lows in temperature means that in the winter time, there is less of a chance that moisture and condensation can build up. Moisture and condensation are the number one threat to your insulation and roof system, causing damage and creating the conditions for mold and mildew to grow.
Likewise, regulated temperatures can lead to better energy efficiency and therefore lower utility bills, especially during the hotter months when heat can build up so quickly.

What can happen if roof ventilation is compromised?
Poor roof ventilation can lead to serious problems. As mentioned above, the buildup of moisture and condensation are a major threat to the integrity of roofing and insulation materials. In addition to creating an environment in which mold and mildew can grow, condensation and moisture can also lead to leaks and rot, both of which can result in expensive repair bills.

Additionally, when ventilation is compromised its ability to regulate temperature is impaired, which can lead to spots on the roof being warm enough to melt snow, and other places, like the eaves, cold enough to cause the melted snow to refreeze. This is particularly problematic because the refrozen water can cause a buildup of ice called an ice dam. Ice dams can clog gutters and downspouts, and form a barrier behind which more water can pool, increasing the likelihood of leaks.
Ventilation is a vital part of your roof’s health.

Now that we’ve explored some ventilation basics, in our next article we’ll go over the different kinds of ventilation most commonly used to ensure air flow in roofs. For more information on your roof’s ventilation system and how you can keep it in the best possible condition, consult JL Roofing today!

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