Most people know the importance of ventilation in any type of roofing structure. Essentially, it functions as an air control mechanism that balances the flow of air inside a building to prevent moisture build-up, save energy, increase the interior comfort level, and increase the life span of a roof. In warmer climates, it reduces cooling costs, while in colder climates it helps raise the attic air temperature to avoid the formation of ice dams. Whatever the location or climatic conditions, this roof covering is very beneficial.
Despite this basic requirement when constructing a building, there are still structures that do not have proper or sufficient ventilation, such as lacking in overhangs or soffits. This is especially prevalent in certain areas of the United States with frequent snowfall. In reality, it is actually very simple to construct a building with no ventilation; however, it is very difficult to live in that structure without proper ventilation.
If there are no overhangs, the common question is where to install a soffit intake, which is a baffling problem that needs to have a correct resolution. It is imperative that there be overhangs when installing air intake vents. Any structure with merely an exhaust outlet has a greater likelihood of high heating expenses, moisture formation, and mold problems that could trigger a multitude of respiratory problems. For buildings with no overhang, the formation of ice dams, leaks, condensation, and other types of damage can be expected. Since such a structural element is critical in the construction of residential buildings, a way was eventually found to provide an alternative solution to solve the issue.
A Successful Solution
Although it is quite easy to construct a building without an overhang, it is difficult to control the unpleasant side effects to buildings constructed in this fashion. To resolve the issue, three solutions have been developed for roofing structures lacking overhangs; such solutions can help eradicate condensation and promote a more comfortable and healthy living environment with the building.
- Drip Edge Products – This is a tapered plastic product that is easy to install with high quality components. Examples of these types of products are the Smart or Hicks Starter Vent. It should be installed six inches above the lower edge of the roof and the opening should not be obstructed by any underside insulation or the attic.
- Concealed Intake Airflow Passage – This can be installed by putting a one-inch spacer block on the upper most part of the first piece of siding. This is done to create a spaced-out wall-top trim or overlapping fascia board. After the spacer block has been installed, a continuous mesh screen is installed to keep insects from getting inside. Although this technique is commonly used on buildings with simple overhangs without a soffit, it is quite effective in regulating the movement of air in an attic space.
- Eaves Overhang – Another solution is to install a simple overhang by removing the fascia board and taking off any trim that conceals the rafter tail. By exposing the rafter tail and the top siding board, a rafter extension can be constructed to make an air inflow passage underneath the decking. The decking should be extended to cover the overhang of the eaves.
Adequate attic ventilation is necessary to avoid various roofing problems. In fact, the lack of this structural element could lead to numerous problems. Although it is certainly possible to construct a roof without ventilation, problems will continue to arise if the roofing has no intake vents to facilitate the movement of air in the attic space to keep moisture, condensation, and precipitation out of the attic.
There are several solutions that can be used to combat such an issue, including: installation of a special intake drip edge; construction of concealed intake vents; and building a simple eaves overhang. The formation of moisture and the development of mold can be avoided; this will lead to a more healthy and comfortable environment. The installation of proper roofing ventilation enhances the performance of a roof and maximizes energy efficiency!