06 Jul PROPER ATTIC VENTILATION
WHAT IS THE PROPER ATTIC VENTILATION?
In a nutshell, there isn’t “1”. Properly ventilating an attic space in the southern regions of the U.S. can be a real challenge. No where more challenging then Texas. It was recently believed that attic radiant barrier was the way to go. Either sprayed directly to the underside of the decking inside the attic or applied directly to decking before being installed on the home. Once applied, there was an immediate and noticeable change in the attic temperature. Much cooler.
However, studies have shown that this type of attic ventilation works by reflecting the suns heat and UV rays back out onto the roof as apposed to allowing the heat to enter the attic space and then be sucked back out through an exhaust vent location. This led to a lot of issues and arguments over product failure.
DEFECTIVE SHINGLES OR RADIANT BARRIER ISSUE?
This constant reflection of heat and U.V. rays back out onto the roof has shown to have had a negative affect on the actual shingles themselves. Cooking the shingles from the bottom side out, the reflection process aged the shingle matting prematurely causing the shingles to crack, curl and even lose it’s protective granule coating, essentially rendering it useless and unable to shed water properly.
This in turn led many homeowners to believe that they had a defective shingle. A claim would be filed with the shingle manufacture and was ultimately denied because of the radiant barrier. Leaving the homeowner to pay for repairs/replacement out of their own pocket or pursue legal action against the shingle manufacture. This meant a waste of time and money. Because of this, many homeowners are now electing to look else where for other ventilation alternatives.
Wind turbines are the oldest and most cost friendly of all the attic ventilation options. Simply powered by wind they require no electricity and virtually no maintenance to operate. However, wind turbines have a tendency to become easily damaged by falling limbs, high-winds, hail storms, excessive noise and squeaking as they age. Even facing those possibilities, some ventilation is better then no ventilation. Without something up there, you are for sure risking needing a new roof, sooner then necessary, by over cooking the shingles.
Again, no “one” form of attic ventilation can be considered enough or the adequate amount. Determining the proper attic ventilation for your home takes years of experience by an actual hands on roof installer. Keep reading, you’re almost there.
Power-vents are really considered to be the best, most powerful, form of attic ventilation that you can get. They run off an electric motor that powers a fan blade that comes on and runs at a desired temperature setting.
I would also agree that power fans are the best form of attic ventilation….,unless something goes wrong…and something always goes wrong.
Case and point, burnt out motors. The electric motors on power fans have a tendency to burn out within 1 to 5 years leaving homeowners spending money on unnecessary and avoidable fan motor repairs. Or, have no idea that it is no longer working, which causes and even bigger issue with over heating inside the attic. Most power fans only have a one or two year warranty. Excessive heat within the attic, dust, insulation, lightning surges, and critters are all contributors of motor failure.
On the other hand, some go on to work for years with no issues at all. At the end of the day, they are simply to expensive and require to much maintenance to roll the dice. Their higher cost, risky behavior and added electric work to power them, turns most customers against them.
According to an HonestRoof.com 10 year ventilation experiment, solar fans knocked it out of the park. Similar to power-fans in costs off the shelf, but cheaper by requiring no electricity to run them. However, no form of attic ventilation is enough all on its own. Combinations of ventilation based on 67 years of experience is the secret sauce behind the perfect ventilation. Even Solar fans will require a partner to keep up with the intense Texas heat. Keep reading. You’re getting closer.
Then came the ridge vents. If you research the manufactures specifications online, you are told that ridge vents alone are all that you need. That you can do away with all other forms of ventilation and just have the ridge vents. However, after personally being involved in multiple warranty claims against defective shingles, I quickly learned that ridge vents alone did not work as promised. Improper attic ventilation gives all shingle manufactures a way out of their warranty coverage. After multiple experiments using just ridge-vents and eliminating all other ventilation forms, we quickly confirmed that ridge-vents were struggling to keep up with the intense heat that we experience in Texas.
THE HONESTROOF.COM KILLER COMBINATION
After 26 years of installing and trying all forms of attic ventilation, we began to combine ridge vents with either wind turbines or solar fans approximately 10 years ago and then watched all the roof systems as they aged. We noticed an immediate difference inside the attic space, but more importantly the shingles themselves were lasting longer then roof systems with only one form of attic ventilation.
It became clear that ridge-vents were indeed doing some of what it claimed but still needed some help to create a consistent pull of air within the attic.
As the heat builds up within the attic space, any heat that is not evacuated out of the turbines or solar fans, can now escape out of the ridge vents instead of building up within the attic space with no where to go.
NOTHING BEATS HANDS ON EXPERIENCE
Regardless of what many of you are being told by DFW contractors, unless they are actually installing these products with their own back and two hands and then watching their work for a minimum of 10 years, they cannot honestly recommend products to homeowners based on true knowledge. They are simply reading the very same online product information and manufacture recommendations that you are.
Only hands on installers who handle and install these products on a daily basis can really make honest and accurate product recommendations. After 64 years in business, we know exactly what works and what doesn’t because we learned it by being bent over on your roof or inside your attic, 6 days a week for 64 years.