If you have found that you are dealing with moisture problems on your roof or your attic seems musty and hotter than usual, it might be due to lack of ventilation. Ventilation is important at any time of the year, since it helps to protect your home and your roof. Here are some ways to find out if you have adequate ventilation.

How much ventilation do you need?

Before you can find out if your attic has enough ventilation, you need to know exactly how much is needed. This will vary based on the size of your home and attic, and what type of roofing materials you have. The best way to find out is by asking your local building code office. They can look at your home's details and provide you with a rough estimate of the amount of ventilation you should have. It will be based on attic floor space, requiring a certain ratio of ventilation for that floor space.

How do you know you have poor ventilation?

Not only will the ventilation recommendation give you some insight into how much ventilation you have, but there are some other things to look out for. If any of these things are occurring, you probably need to improve your attic and roofing ventilation:

  • Ice dams – Ice dams occur when snow is frozen on your roof, melts, and re-freezes at the edge of your roof or in the gutter. This is more likely when you don't have the right roofing ventilation since the heat inside your attic is melting the snow.
  • Mold and mildew – You may also notice that you have mold or mildew in the attic. This is a very common sign of not having enough ventilation, which can cause extra moisture.
  • Rust – Do you have metal components in your attic that are starting to rust? Believe it or not, this can happen when you don't have good ventilation, which is also due to the extra moisture in the attic.
  • Damaged roofing materials – Roofing materials don't just get damaged from outdoor elements, but it can start from the inside. If you don't have good roofing ventilation, they could start deteriorating.

What are the ventilation options?

If you have determined that you need to improve the ventilation of your attic and roof, the following options are available:

  • Ridge vent – This is a simple ventilating option that includes a ventilation strip installed at the ridge line of your roof. You will first cut out some of the roof decking, then install the vent. This can greatly improve air movement through your attic.
  • Soffit vents – Soffit vents are very common among people who need to improve their ventilation. Soffit vents work in conjunction with ridge vents, as they provide air movement from the soffits to the ridge vent. Ventilation only works when there is an entrance and exit for the air movement.
  • Attic fans – You can also improve air flow and ventilation in your attic by installing attic fans. These can also be used in combination with additional vents you install.

Contact a roofing contractor to discuss these and other roof and attic ventilation options available.