The space between the ceiling and the roof of your house has multiple functionalities. It could be used for keeping unnecessary things that are too dear to throw away, it could be turned into a cosy little bedroom, or…it could be the source of huge problems in your house.
You could take the word “source” in the literal sense, as the attic is prone to leakage problems and could let the flooding go down below if unnoticed for too long.
The reason that the loft of the house is so problematic is that it holds all the moisture coming from the steaming kitchens and bathrooms and from the atmosphere outside. The insulation, that is necessary in order to keep heat inside your home, prevents moisture from going out if the place is not well ventilated.
If you prefer to keep the place clean and cosy and avoid leakage problems that lead to more serious damage you should go above and beyond in proper attic ventilation.
A Guide to Sufficient Attic Ventilation
To solve the problems that naturally go with the space between the roof and the ceiling, you should make sure it is both well insulated and ventilated, in order to keep heat in and moisture out.
If you notice leakage problems in your home, dampness or frost in the attic and rotting wooden elements, that’s the sign that you need to improve you loft ventilation.
Intake and Exhaust Vents
The ventilation system of the loft works through the balance of intake and exhaust vents. Intake vents take fresh air inside, while exhaust vents let hot and humid air out of the place. For efficient ventilation you have to combine both types.
Ridge vents are the most common exhaust types that run along the entire ridge of the roof. They have enough surface area to let large amounts of the hottest air go out.
They are covered with shingles to prevent moisture and debris from going inside. Usually they are installed during the roofing, but they can also be added or expanded later on.
Roof turbines, or whirlybirds, are rotating metal exhaust vents that are boosted by the outside wind. They expel air even while being still, but while rotating the amount of expelled air is significantly larger.
Whirlybirds are an eco-friendly way to drastically improve your ventilation without using electrically-powered fans.
Soffit ventilation is the most well-known intake ventilation for the attic. Soffit vents are installed on the eaves that are located directly under the roof line.
They pull large amounts of fresh air in and when installed together with ridge vents they can help expelling the hot air. They are preferred for their high effectiveness compared to the low costs.
Gable vents are simple slots or holes that let the humid air escape. They are installed on the upper triangular section of gable roofs.
They are not as effective as other means of ventilation, but you should consider getting them if your house has a gable type roof.
All these types of ventilation are passive – they don’t need electricity to operate. There are also mechanical fans you could install into the roof or gable that move air more effectively and can be controlled from a distance. They provide a consistent airflow, but require maintenance and professional installation.