Natural circulation throughout your home occurs when hot air rises, and proper air circulation is a prime element affecting the longevity of your home and its roof. Most of the time, in the Charlotte area, we focus on the damage that wind, hail or ice storms can do to our home’s exterior – but it’s important to remember that baking hot temps and moisture can also be destructive. What better time to consider ways to reduce that damage, than during the cooler months before the high temps set in? As one of the Queen City’s leading home roof replacement contractor, please allow us, Belk Builders to explain the way a ridge vent and roof fan provide the roof ventilation you need to protect your home.
Heat can build up in the attic causing temperatures to rise. If your roof and attic do not have the capacity to ventilate against heat buildup, your roof materials will suffer heat damage from the inside, causing your shingles to blister and crack. Ridge vents pay special attention to attic ventilation drawing heat and moisture out of your roofing structure.
As a homeowner, your understanding of the problems that can result from excessive heat helps you to protect one of the most important parts of your home…the roof. We at Belk Builders offer the following tips on spotting overheat damage to your roof:
Roofing plywood damage: Excessive and extended heat will cause your roofing plywood to warp and soften. A look into your attic should provide some tell-tale signs, including crumbling or separation of plywood layers as the glue that holds it together is compromised by the heat.
Roof leaks: Roofing paper can lift, shift and crack due to heat beating down on a roof, thus exposing a path for water to enter. When the summer sun beats down on your roof, your shingles and flashing begin to expand. Sudden drops in temperature (such as those we are experiencing now, where it is 95 during the day and drops down to 65 in the evening) mean the shingles and flashing can contract very quickly (called thermal cracking). This in and out process means a higher potential for leaks. Because roof leaks can be attributed to a number of causes, be sure to look for signs of roof paper damage in the middle of the roof, the area that tends to get the hottest when an attic is inadequately ventilated.
Cooling costs increase: If you notice a hike in your cooling costs, an overheated roof could be to blame. When your roof and attic become hot enough, that heat travels down into your home’s living space, kicking your air conditioning system into overdrive and killing your cooling budget! Of course, a boost in cooling costs can be attributed to other causes as well but if combined with a leaky roof or plywood damage, an overheated roof is the likely culprit.
When properly installed, a ridge vent and a power roof fan can extend the life of your attic and roof structure–potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in repairs down the road! Air flow across the exterior roof ridge draws hot, moist attic air out through the ridge vent and pulls fresh air into the attic through the soffit vents. But passive ventilation alone may not be enough to reduce the attic temperature or moisture to levels where you begin to see benefits you need the help of a powered roof fan. The key is to in the proper location of the fan. Too often we see these fans placed too close to the ridge vent, interrupting the full airflow pattern and reducing their effectiveness. The proper placement of the fan should be halfway down the roof between the ridge vent and your gutter line.
Watch this video for a visual explanation of this:
To effectively lower the temperature in your attic you need to circulate air through it. Soffit and gable vents provide a way for this cooler air from outside the house to enter into the attic and through normal air circulation and the natural convection process, move hot air out. As the cool air enters at the lower part of the roof through the soffit vents or through the gable vents, the powered fan will pull that air up through the attic. As the air circulates it picks up the heat and the fan pushes it outside. During winter months, properly ventilated attics prevent the build-up up of damage-causing ice dams and lessens the potential for condensation that can lead to wood rot and wet, ineffective insulation.
Of all the reasons to ventilate an attic, however, the most important is to preserve the structural integrity of the roof. At all times during the year, heat and moisture accumulate in every attic, and when left uncontrolled, excessive heat and moisture often result in significant damage to the roof and structure–reducing their normal life expectancy.
If you think you’ve got damage to your roof, the single best thing you can do is call Belk Builders for a free roof inspection today. We’ll help you spot any potential problems and assist you in dealing with them before they become a bigger issue. Call us at (704) 400-4710 or visit our website today and let us help extend your home’s life, beauty, and the optimum performance of its structural elements all year long!
Siding, Windows, Roofing and Much More!