Grand Rapids Roofing: Article About All About Roof Ventilation

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Attic ventilation is crucial to the effectiveness and maintenance of a roof. Although shingles receive most of the attention, ventilation is just as important as the roofing materials, underlayment and sheathing. If the ventilation isn't optimal, the roof can remain too hot, suffer from moisture buildup or be prone to ice dams during the winter months. These events will cause unnecessary wear and tear on the roof, which may lead to leaks or roofing materials underperforming their life expectancy.

Ventilation in an attic is measured using a metric called Net Free Air. NFA is the unobstructed area through which air may flow. A one foot by one foot hole provides one square foot of NFA, but if that hole had a metal screen, then the NFA would be reduced by the pattern and gauge of that screen. The International Residential Building Code recommends one square foot of NFA for every 150 square feet of attic space. If homeowners are unsure if they have adequate ventilation, then they can hire a Grand Rapids roofing professional to measure it for them. Keep in mind that the local building code may increase the IRBC recommendation due to the height, pitch and slope of the roof.

Achieving ideal ventilation is all about achieving airflow balance.

One of our roofing contractors from Summit Point Roofing of Grand Rapids MI would be happy to answer any question you have about gutters or general leak repair.

It may seem counter intuitive, but the best way to ventilate a roof is not to install the largest possible fan. An attic should have an equal amount of intake and exhaust, and that balance will allow it to remain at the optimal temperature at the moment, which will be determined by the ambient temperature. Balance will also ensure that moist air vents and dry air enters the attic space.

Balanced ventilation is an ideal but not always possible because of the design of the house or other factors. In these cases, the roofer will try to balance it as much as possible, and there are industry tricks that can be employed to get close. If an unbalance must exist, then it's generally better to have more intake than exhaust.

Although not as common, unventilated attics are an option as well, and these are achieved through proper insulation. A common myth is that the temperature of the attic is relevant to the temperature of the living the area, but this is rarely the case. Living areas are insulated for their own purposes, and a cooler attic does not make a home more efficient.

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