Proper roof ventilation can make a tremendous difference in the overall performance and life expectancy of your roofing shingles as well as the wood structure of your home. It will also do a lot more for you and your home and your homes energy efficiency. Depending on your homes structure and design, properly venting the roof can be easy or it may require extra effort. Making sure to properly ventilate the roof makes a tremendous difference in the overall performance of the roof as well as energy consumption, and every measure should be taken to insure that the structure always has clean, dry air and the proper ambient temp.
In the summertime when the temperature soars sometimes in excess of 100 degrees, properly ventilating the attic and/or crawl spaces allows for a much greater rate of heat & humidity (moisture) transfer to the outside of the home. The moisture in the air combined with excessive heat lends itself to the overall deterioration of the structure of the roof on your home. The same moisture will over time, accumulate in the insulation in your attic or crawl space and greatly decrease its efficiency. By removing the stagnant, moist, and oppressing hot air you are insuring that the roof doesn’t overheat causing premature shingle failure.
When your roof is overheated it will prematurely lose the surface and deteriorate the sealant that keeps the shingles sealed and waterproof. By keeping the attic space as close to the temp outside as possible, you will prevent the roof from overheating. Proper venting helps to insure that the wood structure stays clean and dry, and you keep your insulation clean and dry, which in turn will help lower the general energy consumption of the home, and insure you get the full life span of the roofing shingles by not overheating them.
Properly vented attic space will also help in the winter. When snow accumulates on a roof that is not properly ventilated, the heat from the attic space will cause the snow to melt creating an “Unnatural Thaw”. When this occurs, the water runs down the roof towards the gutters, which are completely removed from the heat source in the house, and the snow melt off will re-freeze at the gutter and create an “Ice Damming” condition. When this occurs the water in the gutters are frozen, and will not handle the melt off. The water will in turn go back up and under the roof and into the structure of the home. By keeping the attic space as close to the temp outside as possible, you will greatly decrease the thaw rate of the snow and your chances of Ice Damming, as well as the subsequent problems that water infiltration can cause.
Today, all roofing manufacturers require proper roof ventilation for warranty qualification. They know that not even the best shingle will last very long if the structure is not properly vented. Improper ventilation can turn a 50 year roofing shingle into a 35 year roofing shingle. Not to mention the effects to your home’s structure and energy efficiency mentioned above. There are many different ways to ventilate a roof, and every home is different. So what worked for your neighbor might not necessarily be right for you and your home. Ask your roofing contractor about the ventilation of your roof, and if it needs to be adjusted. Is proper roof ventilation important? I would say yes, it’s very important.