Understanding Why Roof Ventilation Actually Matters

If you’re a homeowner, there are dozens of things you’ve probably had to learn as you go — owning a home is, after all, a journey, not a destination — but one thing you may not have ever given much thought to before is the ventilation system on your roof. Until something goes horribly wrong with your vents, you’re unlikely to give them a second thought. 


However, it is important to understand why roof ventilation matters, and why you need to actually be aware of how your system functions so you can have it fixed if something goes wrong. 


What’s the point of roof ventilation?


The main purpose of any roof ventilation system is to prevent moisture damage. Excess moisture can lead to numerous problems with asphalt shingles, including mold growth and warping. 


Furthermore, without proper ventilation, moisture from within a home — such as from cooking or showering — can condense in attic spaces, then cause structural damage to wood studs, insulation, and other materials. This is something to avoid at all costs because it can take a long time to realize the damage even exists, and, then, in turn, can be quite expensive to repair. 


How should roofing ventilation function?

Properly installed roofing ventilation systems work by moving cold and warm air up in something called the “stack effect”. This means that when warm air rises, as it naturally does, it increases pressure toward the top of the attic, ultimately forcing air out of the vents that have been installed in the roof. Then, air from outdoors enters the lower events, working in perfect tandem. 


In some cases, wind can also impact attic airflow. As wind blows over the roof outside, it causes a high/low pressure system to develop — like how weather works, but in a smaller setting. Low pressure causes air to enter the attic, while high pressure forces it back outdoors.


What are the biggest myths about roof ventilation?


Unfortunately, there are quite a few myths about roof ventilation you might have heard over the course of your time as a homeowner. Some people, for example, have been told that you only need a roof ventilation system if you live in a climate that is warm year-round. While this applies to many South Carolina homeowners, North Carolina has some cold regions, particularly in the mountains.


In reality, roof ventilation systems are necessary in almost all climates, except, perhaps, those that are very arid. This is because, even during the cold winter months, the attic is the warmest part of your home — due to the sun’s rays directly hitting your roof — and condensation can build inside as snow melts. 


If you have questions about your home’s current roof ventilation process — or if you are thinking about having vents installed for the first time — the Hatch Homes crew is here to answer any questions you may have. Remember, our team has experience with a wide variety of roofing materials, and it is our goal to make your experience as stress-free as possible.

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