When it comes to maintenance and repairs, most homeowners tend to prioritize the things they interact with every day — HVAC, plumbing, landscaping, windows, and doors. This can lead to a tendency to overlook areas that are structurally critical but harder to see.
The attic is a perfect example. Attics are essential features of the modern house, playing an important role in regulating temperature and moisture, and ensuring the integrity of the roof itself. But when an attic is not properly ventilated, the short and long-term costs can be significant.
What Does an Attic Do?
An attic is more than simply the space between the ceiling and the roof. In most houses built during the past seventy-five years, the attic functions as a chamber where moisture and heated air rising from inside the home can stabilize in temperature and humidity before leaving the building.
This process relies on two distinct components: insulation and ventilation.
- Insulation: In order to keep energy costs down and make sure your home stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, attics include a layer of insulation above the living space of the home. In conjunction with a moisture barrier, this insulation keeps your living environment separate from the outdoors.
- Ventilation: Even insulation with a high R-value will not provide a perfect barrier. This means that some warm air and moisture will inevitably rise past the insulation. If it has nowhere to go, the temperature and moisture differential can cause serious problems for your roof.
Most homeowners understand the importance of insulation for energy conservation, but the second part — ventilation — is less clearly understood.
Why Is Attic Ventilation So Important?
Attic ventilation is important for two main reasons, especially for people living in cities like Toronto that see a huge fluctuation in temperature over the course of a normal year.
The first problem occurs in the winter, and is known as ice damming. Warm air rises into the attic and meets the cold roof deck, causing condensation to form and the roof to heat up. Snow on top of the roof melts, and flows down to the colder eaves, where it freezes again. This creates a deposit of ice that makes drainage difficult, trapping water on your roof.
The second problem occurs in the summer. Shingles are meant to deflect the sun’s energy, but if you’ve ever been on an asphalt shingle roof in Toronto in July, you’ll know that shingles also absorb quite a bit of heat. If hot air is also rising from inside the house, the shingles will degrade more quickly, meaning you’ll need to replace them sooner.
If you’ve noticed either of these problems, the best thing to do is find roofing companies in Toronto that provide attic ventilation services. The good news is that vents are quick and easy to install, and modern ridge venting provides superior ventilation at a low cost.
Most homeowners don’t realize they have attic ventilation problems until the damage is well advanced. If you aren’t sure what kind of a state your attic is in, make sure to book a consultation with Toronto roofers today.