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Well, yes, of course it does. Every home, cottage, and business should have sufficient, and correctly installed roof ventilation. But why? And how can you tell if your roofing system is under ventilated? Knowing the signs will help to ensure that you can get the roof ventilation help that you need, before significant roofing system repairs are needed.

Why does your roofing system need proper ventilation?

For starters, keeping your attic space sufficiently insulated will definitely help to reduce your energy bills, however there will always be some residual heat loss. If your attic space does not have the proper amount of ventilation, this hot air will become trapped, leading to moisture buildup and dangerous black mold growth. Improper, or insufficient roof ventilation can also lead to ice damming in the winter time. Ice damming occurs when the temperature of your attic space becomes significantly warmer then the air outside, causing snow to melt and refreeze along your trough, and on your roof itself. This is a serious issue that can cause a tremendous amount of damage to your roofing system inside and out, and a ton of headaches for you, too.

How can you tell if your home is in need of added roof ventilation?

As a general rule, your attic space should be able to consistently stay within a few degrees of the temperature outside. The signs that this is not the case will be noticable, even to the untrained eye. During the colder months, set aside some time to take a peek in your attic space, if your rafters are damp, or frost covered, you likely have roof ventilation issues. The serious problem of black mold growth in your attic space will be exacerbated by a lack of proper ventilation, as well. As mold growth tends to flourish in warmer temperatures, you’ll want to check on this in the summertime. Be sure to throw on a mask, and some gloves and slightly separate your insulation, if you do have a problem with mold, it should be fairly obvious. If your attic insulation appears flat or clumpy, this is also a very good sign that you have moisture issues within your attic space. Looking from the outside, if you’ve noticed that your home suffers from constant, thick ice buildup, and/or icicles along the roofs edge and trough, you will want to contact a qualified roofing company as soon as possible.

What types of issues can under ventilation cause?

Many of the issues that can be caused by insufficient attic ventilation are listed above, but you may not realize the amount of damage this can cause to your shingles, as well. The damage that can be caused to your eavestrough system by heavy ice damming, is significant, and of course having to deal with the removal of unhealthy mold growth isn’t a walk in the park either, but both of these issues will pale in comparison to needing a complete roof replacement. And this is exactly the outcome that you will experience if you do not rectify your attic ventilation issues in a timely manner. Not only can ice build up destroy your trough, it can also find its way under your roofing material, damaging the shingles themselves, causing curling, lifting and a number of other equally significant issues. Believe it or not, the issues that ice damming can cause can extend far beyond your shingles, trough, and attic space. If left for an extended period of time, this melting ice can also severely damage your ceiling, and drywall, leaving you with costly interior repairs.

How much attic ventilation should you have?

Generally speaking, for every 150 square feet of attic space, there should be 1 square foot of attic ventilation. There should also be an equal amount of intake/exhaust vents. Your intake vents should be placed near the lowest edge of your roof, like the soffit, and the exhaust vents should be installed as close to the roofs peak, as possible. If an equal amount of venting is not possible, there should always be a higher volume of intake vents. The amount of attic ventilation that you need can occasionally vary depending on the slope of your roof, and the size of your attic space, so it is best to discuss your options with an experienced professional.

Attic Ventilation and attic insulation go hand in hand. Having sufficient attic ventilation, but insufficient attic insulation will exacerbate your heat loss, and overwhelm your roof ventilation, rendering it relatively useless. The opposite, sufficient attic insulation, with insufficient attic ventilation, of course causes the severe issues mentioned above. So, when faced with the possibility of needing added roof ventilation, it would be wise to also have a comprehensive attic inspection done, to determine whether, or not additional attic insulation is needed.