Most homeowners do not give much thought to how their roof system operates. While your roof’s main function is to protect your home from the elements, it must also maintain a balanced intake and exhaust. Proper ventilation offers year-round benefits for all types of roofing systems. It keeps your attic cooler in the summer and drier in the winter. It also protects against damage to the structure and materials of the home. Learn more about how improper ventilation can decrease the lifespan of your roof and why you should speak with Northern Virginia roof replacement contractors.
Effects of Improper Ventilation on Your Roof
When most people think of roofing problems, they visualize water leaks, missing shingles, and overfilled gutters. While these are fairly common issues, poor ventilation can be even more problematic. An improperly installed ventilation system can result in a number of issues, including low indoor comfort and excess moisture. One of the biggest consequences that come with poor ventilation is a shortened roof life. Excess moisture and heat can cause the roof decking to rot, damaging the underlayment and shingles in the process.
Water is a major hazard to your home and can be escalated by improper ventilation. The difference in temperature between the attic and outdoors can result in condensation on the exposed areas of the attic roof. Over time, this condensation can build and gradually rot away the wood. Condensation can also create enough moisture to maintain the growth of toxic mold and mildew. As the fungi spreads, it can reduce air quality in the home and impact the respiratory health of any inhabitants. Mold and mildew can also cause damage to any furniture or other belongings stored in the attic, causing the need for a potential Northern Virginia roof replacement.
When the weather gets chilly, improper ventilation can also cause problems in the form of ice dams. In the winter months, heat can escape from roofing that is poorly insulated and ventilated, causing the snow on the surface to melt. The water then travels to the roof’s edge and refreezes. Over time, ice can build on the edge on the roof creating a dam. The dam causes water to back up under the shingles and decking which leads to moisture damage. Ice dams can damage shingles, underlayment, drywall, insulation, paint, and any nearby belongings.
Thermal shock is another possible consequence of improper ventilation. During the warmer months of the year, your shingles are exposed to excessive heat. Even when the temperature is mild, exposure to direct sunlight can cause the shingles to heat up fairly quickly. Vents in your roof are designed to circulate air and prevent the shingles from becoming too hot. However, if your roof is lacking proper ventilation, the shingles are forced to absorb this heat which causes the shingles to expand and contract with the changing temperatures. These expansions and contractions can cause your shingles to crack, break, and deteriorate rapidly.
Rust is a common roofing problem that can occur when the attic is not properly ventilated. The roof is made up of numerous metal components, such as the fasteners that connect the shingles to the roof decking, the nails that hold the underlayment in place, and the flashing that protects the inserts and seams from moisture. However, when the attic is not well ventilated and moisture builds on the roof, these metal components are at risk of rusting. Rust is visually unappealing and can cause your curb appeal to suffer. In addition, rust can weaken the roof materials, causing them to eventually fail and therefore leading to the need for Northern Virginia roof replacement.
If a ventilation problem is neglected for an extended period of time, problems with pests may also become a concern. As poor ventilation in the attic can lead to moisture issues on the roof’s surface, rot can occur that produces small holes or gaps. Destructive pests like mice, termites, raccoons, squirrels, and birds may find refuge in your home and can quickly reproduce making the issue worse. Mice and raccoons may build nests in your attic and termites will actually eat the wood, weakening its structure. The acidity of the pests’ excrement on your roofing can also cause materials like shingles to deteriorate.
Importance of Proper Ventilation for Your Roof
Proper attic ventilation plays a crucial role in the function of your roofing system. When properly installed, a ventilation system allows cool, fresh air to enter into the attic at the soffit or eave areas of the roof. The ventilation system also exhausts hot, moist air from the attic through exhaust vents or the ridge. This intake and exhaust of air is highly advantageous for preventing moisture issues and associated problems such as mold and mildew growth, condensation problems, and wood rot.
Proper ventilation in the attic can also be beneficial in other ways, such as for energy savings. During the warmer months of the year, your attic can quickly heat up. Your air conditioner is then forced to work harder to keep up with the rising temperatures. By keeping your attic well ventilated, you can maintain a comfortable temperature that does not cause your energy bill to skyrocket. Ventilation is designed to achieve a balance of intake and exhaust as the natural forces of air pressure create a push and pull effect. If circulation is restricted, air can only circulate across the top of the attic and stagnant air is left at the bottom.
Contact Northern Virginia Roof Replacement Contractors
Homes with proper roof ventilation systems are more likely to be comfortable all year long and often suffer less damage from moisture and heat issues. Effective ventilation increases the efficiency of your roof insulation, prevents mold buildup, and keeps the attic cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Of course, every roof is different and may require a unique ventilation system based on its size and design. To learn more about how the benefits of proper roof ventilation, to acquire about Northern Virginia roof replacement, or to schedule a free roof evaluation, contact the Northern Virginia roof replacement contractors at Beyond Exteriors.