How To Tell If You Need More Roof Vents

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Vents are an underrated, too-often-ignored component of your roof system. Their purpose is to allow air to escape from your attic space. In doing so, they help keep your attic from overheating. That's important because a too-hot attic can be really hard on your roof, especially if it is a shingle roof. Most roofs do have vents, but some roofs are under-ventilated and could benefit from having more vents added. How do you know whether your roof is under-ventilated? Look out for these signs.

Ice Dams

In the winter, go outside a day or two after a snowstorm. Look up at the edges of your roof. Do you see ice dams? In other words, do you see bit sheets or formations of ice on the edges of the roof and perhaps extending into your gutters? Ice dams are a sign of poor ventilation. When your roof gets too warm due to an overly warm attic, the snow melts at the peak, runs down the roof, and freezes into ice. Since ice dams can cause peeling shingles, you'll want to address this problem by having your roofer add some more vents.

Peeling Shingles

If it's not winter, you won't see ice dams, but you can certainly look for the damage they may have left behind in past winters. Examine the edge of your roof and look for peeling shingles. If there are any shingles that are lifted along one edge, missing corners, or curling, that points to a lack of ventilation. Damaged shingles can cause leaks, so have them replaced — and have your roofer add vents so your new shingles don't suffer the same fate.

Granule Loss

Shingles often lose granules as they age, but this should not start happening until your roof is approaching the end of its lifespan. If your roof is relatively new and you're seeing a lot of granules in your gutters or on the ground, that points to a ventilation problem. Poor ventilation leads to a hot roof, and the heat can make the shingles brittle, leading to granule loss. If you address the ventilation issue soon, you can help keep the shingles from losing additional granules, which will help extend their lifespan.

If your roof lacks vents, your roofer can typically add some more vents without having to replace the entire roof. Usually, they'll place some soffit vents under the eaves, or they'll install a few box vents in the roof deck itself. 

For more info, contact a local roofing contractor

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