The Benefits of Roof Vents
You probably don’t give much thought to breathing unless you can’t take in or release a breath of air. Go without breathing for just a small amount of time and you’ll soon feel and see the effects….light headed, red faced, and maybe some anxiety. Just as your body is designed to ventilate, the ventilation of air is necessary for a healthy life; your roof may also need to take advantage of ventilation.
Breathing is an automatic process for our bodies, but our roofs will require a conscious effort by its designer to incorporate ventilation. Ventilation for a roofing system can render many benefits.
For steep slope roofs that have shingles or metal panels, the ventilation may be designed with the attic space being the conduit for air movement. Air is encouraged to enter the attic space thru lower inlets along the roof perimeter such as the soffit (overhang of the roof).
From there the air can travel thru the attic space and out the top of the roof thru ridge vents, gable vents, or other higher placed vents. Many steep slope roof also incorporate mechanical (both electrical and solar powered) ventilation exhaust fans….of course for air to move there has to be an air inlet.
Low slope roofs are somewhat different than steep slope roofs, and can be dependent on the method of roof material attachment. If a fully adhered roof system is used then most likely the roof will be a closed system (air cannot enter or leave the system since it’s fully adhered). Mechanically attached systems allow for air movement and roof system vents can be incorporated.
The benefits of a roof system designed with ventilation are very positive! First of all, ventilation keeps air moving and doesn’t contribute to stagnant air that can lead to biological growth that can be dangerous and smelly.
Second, since the roof system can “breathe”, roof components last longer and perform better when hot air can exhaust and not create a heat load in the roof system. For example, roof system components such as insulation quickly become less efficient once heat loading surpasses optimal performance temperatures.