Roof Ventilation and Summer Attic Heat

If you’re wondering about roof ventilation because your attic heat is approaching a million degrees, you’re not alone. Oklahoma summers are hot. It’s something all of us Okies never can quite get used to despite our experience of living through it each year. Walking into an Oklahoma attic during the summer is like walking into a giant oven. 

It should be no surprise that Turner Roof and Sheet Metal gets a bunch of phone calls from people in Broken Arrow and the Greater Tulsa area wanting to know what they can do about the excessive heat in their attic. Usually their primary concern is that their air conditioning can’t keep the house cool. They want to know if Turner Roofing can help and the answer is, yes, we can. 

Transitioning from Wood Shingles to Asphalt Shingles

Most older homes have a roof with wood shakes (shingles). Wood naturally does a better job at buffering heat than asphalt shingles. However, asphalt shingles are the more efficient roofing that we use in the roofing industry today. Most people with wood shingles end up transitioning to asphalt shingle roofs at some point. What tends to happen is that the first summer after they’ve made the transition they notice that they have trouble keeping their house cool.

The Different Types of Roof Ventilation

The first thing we do when we go out on a call about concern over too much heat in the attic is to look at the type of roof ventilation someone has on their home. This can vary with age, style and expense of a home. 

Think of a roof like a car engine. There needs to be an intake and an exhaust (in our case, a vent) to allow heat to escape. In general we’re looking for one of the following. 

Soffit Vents: 

Soffit Vents are actual vents in the eves of your home. Going back to our car analogy, this would be the intake of our engine. 

Photo Credit: www.checkthishouse.com

Exhaust Roof Vents

There are different types of exhaust roof or attic vents but essentially they all work by allowing the heat to escape. If you don’t have an exhaust vent hot air builds up throughout the day and in turn makes your attic and roof really hot. This makes it more difficult for your air condition to keep up with keeping your house cool as some of that hot air leaks back into the home.

Photo credit: http://www.finehomebuilding.com/2013/09/03/does-a-roof-need-a-ridge-vent

Turner Roofing professionals will come out and physically assess whether or not your roof has proper ventilation and offer a free estimate.

Solutions to Improve Roof Ventilation

The solution is dependent on the home.  We may determine that your home needs more soffit vents or we may determine you need more attic exhaust vents. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Some popular and efficient roof ventilation options are:

Adding Ridge Vents:

When we add a Ridge Vent we will remove the shingles off the top of your roof ridge and cut your plywood back. We then place a plastic covering that allows air to flow through the peak of the ridge. The final step is to put shingles back over the plastic covering so you can’t see it but still allows air to flow out through the peak of the ridge.

Consult with Insulation Specialist:

We also suggest to homeowners to consult with an insulation specialist. The insulation keeps heat from seeping into the home from the attic or keeps cold air inside their home and prevents cold air leaking into attic. Most of the time the insulation specialists (similar to roofing specialists) will come out and give you a free estimate. 

Electrical and Solar Attic Fans:

Electrical and solar attic fans are yet another way you may be able to improve roof ventilation. Physically moving the stagnant hot air in the attic via a fan will help dissipate heat. There are pros and cons to using electrical and solar attic fans. Primarily you save electricity (and cost) if you use a solar attic fan. The downside is that most solar attic fans don’t run at night. 

If you’re having trouble keeping your house cool this summer and are wondering if your roof ventilation could be improved, please give us a call.

We’re happy to come out and assess your particular roof ventilation scenario and offer a free estimate if needed.