Have you ever been in an attic space where the air was too hot, stale, or even moist? Or perhaps your roof is depreciating quicker than it should and you’re in dire need of roof repairs.
Chances are, poor ventilation was the culprit.
There are several reasons why you need good roof ventilation for your home:
- It allows moisture to escape your roof, lessening the chances that you’ll see mold and mildew growth.
- It prevents ice dams from developing throughout the winter.
- It moderates the temperature in your attic, keeping your cooling system from working too hard.
Check out this guide on all the ins and outs of roof vents, including the kinds you need and how to know whether your home is up to code.
Intake vs. Exhaust Vents
If the topic of roof ventilation is new to you, you might not know that there are two types of vents used to keep air moving through your roof: intake vents and exhaust vents. These vents allow the air to flow through your roof, maintaining interior conditions similar to those outside. This keeps your roof healthy and ultimately extends its lifespan.
As their name suggests, intake vents bring air into your roof. These types of vents are typically located at the lowest point on your roof to best facilitate the movement of cool air into the vents. Common types of intake vents include:
- Soffit vents: Named for their location, soffit vents can be found under the eaves of your roof, on the soffits that bridge the gap between the edge of your roof and the outer walls of your home. Depending on how much ventilation your roof needs, these vents can be continuous or sporadically placed along the soffits.
- Gable vents: On a gable roof, there may be vents located in the highest points of the walls adjacent to the sides of the house with the roof. These vents allow cool air to flow into your attic and around the roofing materials. Gable vents can also function as exhaust vents.
- Roof intake vents: For roofs without soffits or eaves, intake vents mounted on the roof may be the best option.
Once the cool air enters your roof via the intake vents, it starts to warm up. This warm air travels up your roofline until it reaches the top of your roof where—if your roof was constructed properly—exhaust vents await to release the air out into the world once more. Common types of exhaust vents include:
- Ridge vents: These vents lie along the ridgeline of your roof and are most commonly used with shingle roofs. Much like soffit vents, they might run along the entire ridge line or only be placed sporadically along the roof.
- Gable vents: On a gable roof, there may be vents located in the highest points of the walls adjacent to the sides of the house with the roof. These vents allow warm air to flow out of your attic and away from your roof. Gable vents can also function as intake vents.
- Box vents: If you’ve ever seen little boxes placed at intervals on top of a roof, you’ve seen box vents. These vents are economical, keep a low profile, and allow warm air to escape from your roof without letting precipitation or debris get inside. These are sometimes also called static vents.
- Turbine vents: Turbine vents spin in the wind, drawing hot air up out of your roof. They’re cheaper and easier to install than ridge vents, but they don’t work as well when the wind isn’t blowing.
- Power vents: Sometimes also called active roof vents, these are a great option when passive venting just isn’t cutting it for your situation. Power vent motors use electricity to work the vent, forcing air out of your attic and roof. You’ll need an electrician to run the wiring to the area before installing the vent.
How to Achieve Proper Roof Ventilation
The International Residential Code has very specific guidelines on how to properly ventilate your roof. It includes requirements such as:
- Requiring all enclosed attics and rafter spaces to have cross ventilation.
- Specific measurements for the amount of clearance required to achieve proper airflow.
- Stipulations on the minimum amount of net free ventilating area you must have for your space.
If you plan to do any work on your vents yourself, make sure that your roof stays in compliance with these regulations. Additionally, you’ll want to double-check that any insulation you add to your roof or attic over the years doesn’t get in the way of your vents.
How to Install Roof Vents
Installing roof ventilation yourself is a pretty advanced task, and it involves the following steps:
- Picking up all your equipment and supplies.
- Determining the appropriate location for the vent(s).
- Cutting back the outer layer and the underlayment of your roof to create room for airflow.
- Installing the ventilation systems and replacing or re-installing the moved materials of your roof.
As you can imagine, it’s an involved process. If you don’t have the specialized knowledge necessary to complete the task, you could jeopardize the integrity of your entire roof. Some manufacturers will even void your warranties if they know that someone other than a licensed and credentialed contractor tried to perform repairs on your roof.
As craftspeople ourselves, we completely understand the DIY spirit. However, installing vents is a task best left to the professionals.
Get the Roof Repairs You Need, Fast
A good roof vent system can mean the difference between comfortable, well-balanced air in your home, or air that feels sticky, humid, and far too hot. With proper ventilation, you’ll extend your roof life, save on energy bills, and keep mold from growing in your home.
When you have issues with your roof ventilation, you don’t need to go through them alone. For the best roofing solutions in Colorado Springs, look no further than Tectum Roofing. We have years of experience and specialize in working on challenging jobs; no matter your concern, we’re more than a match for the task at hand.
Fill out our contact form to get your project started!