Last week, in our series Six Enemies of Your Roof, we discussed weather. The second enemy of your roof is an overheated attic, caused by a lack of ventilation. What difference does the attic ventilation and temperature have on the well being of your roof? I’m glad you asked!
In the landscaping mulch business they keep the mounds of mulch cool with water so that the heat building up inside the mounds will not spontaneously combust. And while your attic should not spontaneously combust, if the heat inside your attic gets overly hot, the shingles “cook” to a premature failure.
Tiny ceramic granules cover the visible face of asphalt shingles to protect it from the sun. If these granules were not present, the exposed asphalt would dry up, crack and fall apart in a relatively short amount of time. These granules basically shade the asphalt. They also provide color and design to create and aesthetic look as opposed to an ugly black sheet of asphalt. However, they are not made to withstand overheating from the back side. Every shingle manufacturer requires proper attic ventilation for their warranty to be valid. They know if a shingle is “cooked” from BOTH SIDES, their product will fail prematurely.
The solution to combat overheated attics is a BALANCED ATTIC VENTILATION SYSTEM.
In my opinion, attic ventilation is the most overlooked and incorrectly installed system in our homes today. Over the last 30 years I have seen attics with no ventilation, improper ventilation and incorrectly installed ventilation in approximately 8 out of 10 homes.
I see three distinct reasons for this problem.
- First, many older home were built with wood shingle roofs which breath naturally. Then someone comes along and installs asphalt shingles over the wood shingles and seals up the attic so that now it cannot breath.
- Second, it typically takes the coordination of two trades to install proper attic ventilation. The roofer installs the exhaust vents and the trim carpenter installs the soffit vents. If they do not coordinate their efforts the system will probably not be effective, much less efficient.
- Third, planning and inspecting the plan. I found most builders and architects give little thought if any to the attic ventilation system. I have also seen a lack of interest or training in the building inspection field to know what to check for when it come to attic ventilation.
The benefits of a balanced attic ventilation system are long roof life, comfortable inside temperatures and lower electric bills each month. You could say if you are living longer, staying more comfortable and it doesn’t cost as much, you can BREATHE EASIER.
So, allow your roof and your entire home to breathe easier by installing a balanced attic ventilation system soon.