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Roof Talk & More - Attics & Ventilation

Ventilation & Building Science, from Fine Homebuilding (Summer2012)

City of Palo Alto Roofing Guidelines

Insulation & Ventilation

Critters In Your Roofing System


All About Attics & Ventilation

What’s In Your Attic? Take A Look To Avoid Future Problems!

Have you looked in your attic lately? Any idea what’s up there? It surprising, but most homeowners never inspect their attics.
An attic could be hiding any number of serious problems such as inadequate insulation and ventilation, bad wiring and vermin intrusion. All of those are visible to the naked eye, and if left unchecked they can lead to mold, structural damage and fire hazards.

Checking your attic at least once a year is an important part of home maintenance. Just because the attic is out of sight, it shouldn’t be out of mind.
Once you find you have problems, it’s time to call a roofer, one that is licensed and insured.

Why Ventilate Your Attic?
A well-ventilated attic prevents the sheathing and shingles from rotting and reduces the need to replace the roof more often.
An attic with proper insulation is more comfortable: cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

An attic with proper insulation saves energy costs.
Your attic should be ventilated so there’s plenty of air movement. It should be the same temperature and humidity as the exterior air. Too much humidity encourages mold. Also, if the wood sheathing on your roof (under your shingles) doesn’t get enough ventilation, it will rot. The shingles won’t last as long as they should, and you’ll be re-roofing often.

Your attic needs to have enough vents — whether they are soffit, gable or ridge vents. And they have to be open, not covered over by insulation. Adding extra insulation to your attic is great, but make sure your roofing/insulation specialist uses Styrofoam baffles to direct airflow from the soffit to the top of the attic and that the vents are able to do their job.

Be sure old wooden soffits that have been covered with aluminum during an update or renovation have room to breathe. If no holes were made in the original wood soffit under the new layer of aluminum, then there is no possible venting. It might look good, but it will lead to trouble over time. Poorly vented bathroom and kitchen fans contribute to humidity in the attic. It’s essential to have extraction fans in these rooms, since they’re the source of the most moisture in the home. The fans should be vented directly to the exterior to prevent warm, moist air discharging into the attic.

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